The Dec. 16 news article "CDC gets a list of forbidden words, including 'diversity' and 'transgender' " was demoralizing in demonstrating the Orwellian tendencies of President Trump's administration.
What kind of insane world are we living in when a federal health-care agency is forbidden to use the terms "evidence-based" and "science-based"? As a rejoinder, I offer the following suggestions for some words and phrases to forthwith be prohibited for use by the White House: "alternative facts," "fake news," "Chinese hoax," "winner," "loser," "huge," "believe me," and any and all derogatory nicknames.
Judith Lisansky, Washington
The article on the seven "banned" words horrified many Americans, including me. As a public-health and science professional and advocate, I appreciate the concern by all those expressing alarm at the possibility of an effort to restrict language as it relates to critical public-health work. I was also grateful for the clarification issued by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Brenda Fitzgerald on Twitter.
What continues to alarm me is that the tax bill, which is likely to pass and be signed by President Trump, could eliminate 12 percent, or almost $1 billion, of the CDC's annual budget — among other efforts to reduce the agency's budget. That money allows the CDC to better detect, prevent and respond to emerging infectious diseases and other serious threats, and it aids all Americans, no matter where they live or how they vote. Yet there is zero discussion in Congress of how to replace those funds.
Losing language is one thing; losing almost $1 billion in public-health funding would be catastrophic for our country.
Scott Becker, Bethesda
The writer is executive director of the Association of Public Health Laboratories.
I was perplexed to read that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been issued a list of seven words that it is prohibited from using in official budget documents — a list that includes words such as "fetus" and "transgender" for which no accurate synonyms exist. I recommend that the authors of future CDC reports use the pig Latin spelling for said words: "etusfay," "ransgendertay," "ulnerablevay," "ciencesay-asedbay," etc. With this practice, the CDC reports will remain accurate and the Rumptay administration's edict will be satisfied.
Allison Cox, Gaithersburg
As a retired commissioned officer in the U.S. Public Health Service with 27 years of service, former deputy surgeon general (2010 to 2015) and acting surgeon general (2013 to 2014), I understand the important role that the federal government plays in public health. But the federal government is but part of the team that dedicates itself to the health and safety of our nation.
In my current role as dean and professor at the University of Maryland School of Public Health, I will continue to shout out and teach the next generation of public-health leaders the forbidden words as they add to further defining 21st-century public health: "Vulnerable, entitlement, diversity, transgender, fetus, evidence-based, science-based." There, I've said them!
Boris Lushniak, College Park
Regarding the Trump administration's fetal efforts to proscribe a list of seven words or phrases from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's budget documents:
It is evidence-based that this is a throwback to a Dark Ages mentality. All our diverse citizenry, whether cis- or transgender, should feel vulnerable, very vulnerable, as these troglodytes attempt to squelch our entitlement to sound science-based determinations for our common well-being. How Orwellian and how frightening.
Gordon B. Fields, Rockville
What kind of alerts can we expect from our nation's leading health-protection agency under the Trump administration? Loved ones with a suppressed immune system are vulner**** to the shingles virus. The Zika virus can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fet**. Changes in composition and diver**** of gut bacteria are generally accepted as a risk factor for developing Clostridium difficile infection.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention needs the right words — all of the words — to save lives and protect us from health, safety and security threats.
Lisa Borghesi, Pittsburgh