Health experts are quitting the NIH and CDC in droves because they’re embarrassed by ‘bad science’

America’s top health agencies are experiencing an exodus of doctors and scientists as frustration over the government’s “bad science” explodes.

“There’s been a large amount of turnover. Morale is low,” one high-level Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) official said.

“I used to be proud to tell people I work at the CDC. Now I’m embarrassed,” another member of the CDC, this time a scientist, added.

These and similar complaints were reported to Johns Hopkins professor Dr. Marty Makary and Florida Department of Health epidemiologist Dr. Beth Høeg.

Writing this week for Bari Weiss’ Substack, the pair revealed that they’ve spoken to countless doctors and scientists at the CDC, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Food and Drug Administration who are “frustrated, exasperated and alarmed about the direction of the agencies to which they have devoted their careers.”

Why? Because “the heads of their agencies are using weak or flawed data to make critically important public health decisions” that “are being driven by what’s politically palatable to people in Washington or to the Biden administration.”

Particularly regarding COVID.

“It’s like a horror movie I’m being forced to watch and I can’t close my eyes. People are getting bad advice and we can’t say anything,” a senior FDA official told them.

The official was referring to, one, “how, with no solid clinical data, the agency authorized Covid vaccines for infants and toddlers, including those who already had Covid,” and two, “the fact that just months before, the FDA bypassed their external experts to authorize booster shots for young children.”

It’s a pattern that’s been playing out now for two years and counting.

“First, they demanded that young children be masked in schools. On this score, the agencies were wrong. … Next came school closures. The agencies were wrong—and catastrophically so,” Makary and Høeg wrote.

“Then they ignored natural immunity. Wrong again. … And now, by mandating vaccines and boosters for young healthy people, with no strong supporting data, these agencies are only further eroding public trust.”

The agencies’ behavior has left doctors and scientists alike stewing in shame.

“CDC failed to balance the risks of Covid with other risks that come from closing schools. Learning loss, mental health exacerbations were obvious early on and those worsened as the guidance insisted on keeping schools virtual. CDC guidance worsened racial equity for generations to come. It failed this generation of children,” one CDC scientist who was full of shame and frustration told the pair.

“I can’t tell you how many people at the FDA have told me, ‘I don’t like any of this, but I just need to make it to my retirement,'” an unnamed FDA official added.

But why haven’t they spoken out, critics wonder.

The doctors and scientists say it’s because of fear.

“That was a theme we heard over and over again—people felt like they couldn’t speak freely, even internally within their agencies. … And so they remain quiet, speaking to each other in private or in text groups on Signal,” according to Makary and Høeg.

“There’s a silence, an unwillingness for agency scientists to say anything. Even though they know that some of what’s being said out of the agency is absurd,” one NIH scientist said.

“You get labeled based on what you say. If you talk about it you will suffer, I’m convinced,” an FDA staffer said.

“If you speak honestly, you get treated differently,” another staffer added.

In concluding their post, Makary and Høeg argued that it’s important that these dissenters do speak out and that there’s a vigorous debate because, without vigorous debate, science isn’t science — it’s dogma.

“It is an ancient, moral requirement of our profession to speak up when we believe questionable treatments are being proposed. It is also good for the public. Imagine, for example, a world in which those scientists who suggested that masking for children and school lockdowns were worse for public health were not smeared but instead debated?” they wrote.

“The leaders of the CDC, the FDA and the NIH should welcome internal discussion—even dissension—based on the evidence. Silencing physicians is not ‘following the science.’ Less absolutism and more humility by the men and women running our public health agencies would go a long way in rebuilding public trust.”

Vivek Saxena


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