Donald Trump has been working at warp speed to blast apart the United States’ agencies, departments, traditions, and norms. The State Department has been hollowed out and most of the agencies have acting personnel aka temps running them. Trump has sliced open the red, white, and blood of our great nation, and it is pulsing from the wounded carotid artery of our Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) — where medical people generate coronavirus updates for the nation.
The CDC traditionally sends out scientific reports out to health professionals. They show the progress of the coronavirus pandemic and other concerns. The Health and Human Services department’s political appointees, some with no experience in health, want them to freeze these reports until they analyze changes they want to them.
In other words, they want them to reflect Donald Trump’s messaging. The CDC has stopped the worst changes, but they have been worn down. Now, they will let the political appointees review them, and in some instances, they “compromised on the wording,” according to The POLITICO:
These reports are called Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports (MMWR). Department officials call this a deep wound to the agency. The MMWRs have been the “cornerstone of the nation’s public health work for decades.”
Trump will not get away with this sneaky plan, because House Democrats have started an investigation into Trump’s miscreant deeds. Representative James Clyburn (D-SC) chairs the House Oversight and Reform Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis with special interest in the CDC’s scientific reports. Clyburn indicated that there were “steps that Congress may need to take to stop it before more Americans die needlessly.”
The Democrats penned a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar and the CDC Director Robert Redfield that addressed political appointee changes in the MMWRs.
Michael Caputo worked tangentially on the 2016 Trump campaign before the president appointed him as the HHS spokesman. However, he has had no scientific or medical experience, but he alleged “ulterior deep state motives in the bowels of CDC.”
Appointee Paul Alexander wrote that he wanted the CDC Director Robert Redfield to change two existing published reports. He said that they “inflated the risks of coronavirus to children, which sabotages the president’s desire to send kids back to in-person schools, according to POLITICO:
‘CDC to me appears to be writing hit pieces on the administration. CDC tried to report as if once kids get together, there will be spread and this will impact school re-opening . . . Very misleading by CDC and shame on them. Their aim is clear.’
Caputo found Alexander working as an assistant professor of health research at McMaster University in Canada, and hired him away to be his scientific adviser. Alexander told Redfield to stop all planned MMWR reports until the “agency modified its years-old publication process so he could personally review the entire report prior to publication, rather than a brief synopsis:”
‘The reports must be read by someone outside of CDC like myself, and we cannot allow the reporting to go on as it has been, for it is outrageous. Its lunacy. Nothing to go out unless I read and agree with the findings how they CDC, wrote it and I tweak it to ensure it is fair and balanced and ‘complete.’
Why did Alexander and his staff want to change the CDC reports? Caputo released a statement lauding him as “an n Oxford-educated epidemiologist [specializing] in analyzing the work of other scientists:”
‘Dr. Alexander advises me on pandemic policy and he has been encouraged to share his opinions with other scientists. Like all scientists, his advice is heard and taken or rejected by his peers.’
Jennifer Kates leads the Kaiser Family Foundation’s global health work. She said researchers use the MMWR reports to find out how the COVID-19 virus spreads, who has the highest risks, and how the virus was transmitted “in nursing homes, at churches, and among children:”
‘It’s the go-to place for the public health community to get information that’s scientifically vetted. They’re so important, and CDC has done so many.’
Alexander wrote that the report should better explain the differences by age groupings:
‘[D]esignating persons aged 18-20 as ‘pediatric’ by the CDC is misleading. These are legal adults, albeit young.’
Caputo said his team’s work was:
‘Buried in this good [CDC] work are sometimes stories which seem to purposefully mislead and undermine the President’s Covid response with what some scientists label as poor scholarship — and others call politics disguised in science.’
Kates explained that the CDC reports have been essential in dealing with epidemics in the past. The MMWR was first posted in 1981 on HIV:
‘Physicians recognized there was some kind of pattern and disseminated it around the country and the world. We can now see how important it was to have that publication, in that moment.’
Epidemiologist & Health Economist. Senior Fellow @FAScientists tweeted his alarm “Holy shit:”
The medical community was greatly alarmed after POLITICO broke this news. Take a look at some of those in the know below:
Featured image is a screenshot via YouTube.
The Mueller Report Adventures: In Bite-Sizes on this Facebook page. These quick, two-minute reads interpret the report in normal English for busy people. Mueller Bite-Sizes uncovers what is essentially a compelling spy mystery. Interestingly enough, Mueller Bite-Sizes can be read in any order.