House committee releases new evidence from investigation into Trump administration meddling with CDC during Covid-19 pandemic – Community News
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House committee releases new evidence from investigation into Trump administration meddling with CDC during Covid-19 pandemic

In new excerpts of transcribed interviews, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the former director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said she had been informed that then-President Donald Trump was angry at a Feb. 25, 2020 briefing in which she warned the public of the dangers of the coronavirus. Messonnier says in the transcript that after the briefing, she had conversations with former CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield and former US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and that she was “upset” after her conversation with Azar.

In the transcripts, other CDC officials described how requests for mask counseling briefings and pediatric Covid-19 cases and deaths were turned down. When asked about a CNN report that CDC officials felt “muzzled,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, former CDC deputy director: “That’s the feeling we had, many of us had.”

Several interviews also described attempts by the administration to change or influence the agency’s guidelines and its weekly scientific reports, the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, which are typically not shared outside the agency before being published.

It took “great effort to protect that integrity,” Schuchat said in the transcribed excerpt, and “active effort” on the part of CDC officials “to ensure that attempts were unsuccessful” to modify the reports.

In another interview, Dr. Christine Casey, an editor of CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, an email from Trump-appointed and former US health and human services adviser Paul Alexander, which she saw as a request to stop a report . She called it “very unusual and quite worrying for someone to ask for an immediate end to MMWR reports. I don’t think that’s ever happened. And to be accused — because it’s accusatory language — that MMWR content is designed to harm our Commander in Chief, the President.”

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Casey said she was instructed to delete the email and was told the lead came from Redfield.

The transcripts also include a conversation with Dr. Deborah Birx, who served as the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator, described how the Trump administration pushed for guidance, saying that people who were not symptomatic should not be tested, despite disagreements from health officials. She said it was Dr. Scott Atlas, a Trump coronavirus adviser, “to change testing guidelines”.

“This paper resulted in less testing and less — less aggressive testing of people with no symptoms that I believed was the main reason for the early community spread,” she said.

The committee also reiterated its request that Redfield appear before the committee for a transcribed interview, requesting interviews with three additional senior officials: Dr. Martin Cetron, the director of CDC’s Division of Global Migration and Quarantine; dr. Daniel Jernigan, CDC’s deputy director for public health science and surveillance; and dr. Henry Walke, the director of the Preparedness and Emerging Infections Division at CDC’s National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases and former incident manager of CDC’s Covid-19 response.