With pledge to be more “nimble”, CDC must report veterans suicides much sooner

On Thursday, The Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, made a pledge to be more “nimble”. This after the agency had been criticised during the Coronavirus pandemic for taking too much time in reporting their data (story HERE).

They should start with the way they report veterans suicides.

There is currently a three year delay or lag in the numbers we receive from the VA, on the number and circumstances of veterans that take their own lives.

The VA blames reporting from the CDC for that lag.

For example, we won’t be getting pandemic era veterans suicide numbers until next year. Sadly, the numbers are expected to increase as the world isolated itself from the virus and each other.

Then you add in the fact that our elected officials, especially in Florida, don’t like discussing veterans suicides because it makes them look bad, and we get a flawed and outdated response in a region that is among the leaders in the entire country.

This is why timely reporting is important. And it doesn’t stop with the CDC, we have to make sure that the VA isn’t dragging their feet with reporting this data either.

No one envies the work of the CDC. It can’t be easy tackling one of the scariest aspects of science on a daily basis. When I was in high school, they were heralded as heroes, especially during the AIDS epidemic. We made movies and television shows about them.

I’m hopeful that in their pledge we can get the answers we need to save the lives of veterans sooner.

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