It was as if a toxic cloud of politics seeped across the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and trapped the science beneath it. The longer Donald Trump has been in office, the greater the split between facts and hype.
There are two federal governments operating in this administration. There is the solid redwood trunk that has supported the entire democracy. Then, there is the White House administration with Donald Trump climbing onto the thin branches, whipping around in the wind.
POTUS was not interested in the encroaching COVID-19 pandemic the scientsts warned was rolling into the country. He even called the news a “hoax.” The president’s delay, cost the CDC months of vital preparation time. Over 66,000 Europeans flew into the U.S. as Trump spent time talking about China and the cruise ship off the coast of California, a floating Petri dish full of sick people.
A CDC official told CNN:
‘We’ve been muzzled. What’s tough is that if we would have acted earlier on what we knew and recommended, we would have saved lives and money.’
The CDC released documents messaging the agency’s growing concern over the delay. CNN obtained copies of those documents. They showed the latest examples to emerge of a growing sense of disconnect between the CDC and the White House.
High-ranking CDC official Nancy Messonnier warned when the president was out of the country. The commander-in-chief had been minimizing the coronavirus pandemic threat:
‘Sources say the origin of the trust issues between the CDC and White House traces back to the CDC’s botched effort to distribute testing in early February, when contamination in the lab led to long delays. Relations between them soured further in late February. the disruption to everyday life might be severe.’
One senior CDC official said the organization explained the coming disaster headed toward America, but Trump’s people were not interested:
‘[T]he White House was extremely focused on China and not wanting to anger Europe … even though that’s where most of our cases were originally coming from.’
Dean of the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University James Curran said:
‘The CDC … were part of the mistakes with the early problems with testing, and it seemed like after that, they weren’t trusted as much. [T]here’s no place in the world that has more epidemiologists and scientists studying respiratory infections. … We need them now.’
Public Health and Medicine Historian at the Unversity of Michigan said:
‘I respect and admire Dr. Fauci immensely but he represents the scientific and research lane, and Dr. Birx represents the policy lane at the White House level. The CDC represents the public health lane, internationally as well as working with state and territorial health offices, so I would want a representative from that lane.’
Director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases Nancy Messonmier said:
“This is a serious situation. [I]t’s crucial to be proactive and prepared.’
Another CDC official said:
‘If you look at our guidance documents online, they have been watered down a lot. The ones that were written in March say, “Go home and stay there,’ and they are very clear. And the ones now say, ‘in consultation with state and local governors, do what they say.” We normally give guidance and then states take that guidance and turn it into policy.’
One CDC employee commented about the concern for scientific work. Politics had taken over:
‘The message we received in previous administrations was, you guys are the scientists. That’s not the case this time. If the science that we are offering up contradicts a specific policy goal, then we are the problem.;
The CDC’s concern continues.
Featured image is a screenshot via YouTube.
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