Header Ads

Biden's CDC puts Trump's health agency under the microscope: Internal review claims former officials issued 'non-scientific' guidance that downplayed the pandemic - but fails to explain why old recommendations were wrong

 A new internal review of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found that guidance issued during the Trump administration downplayed the seventy of the pandemic.

First reported by The Washington Post, a memo found the guidance was not 'primarily authored' by CDC staff and not based on the most accurate scientific evidence.

Specifically, three 2020 reports were removed from the federal health's agency's website: recommendations for 'reopening America' issued in April, guidelines for reopening schools released in July and COVID-19 testing advice issued in August.


The review was conducted by the CDC's principal deputy director, Dr Anne Schuchat, at the request of director Dr Rochelle Walensky in an effort to restore public confidence in the agency. 

The document did not go into great detail about what was wrong with the guidance or why the outside authors were the wrong choice to write the reports. 

However, even during the Biden administration, the CDC has quietly updated guidance or published recommendations without clear language. 

An internal review ordered by CDC director Dr Rochelle Walensky (pictured) and was published on the website on March 10 

Three reports issued during the Trump administration have since been removed that included guidance on reopening the U.S., returning to schools and on testing for COVID-19. Pictured: President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference as Vice President Mike Pence and members from the CDC and HHS listen, February 2020

Three reports issued during the Trump administration have since been removed that included guidance on reopening the U.S., returning to schools and on testing for COVID-19. Pictured: President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference as Vice President Mike Pence and members from the CDC and HHS listen, February 2020

'I am focused on moving CDC forward with science, transparency and clarity leading the way,' Walensky said in a statement on Monday. 

'It is imperative for the American people to trust CDC. If they don't, preventable illness and injury can occur - and, tragically, lives can and will be lost. 

'This agency and its critical health information cannot be vulnerable to undue influence, and this report helps outline our path to rebuilding confidence and ensuring the information that CDC shares with the American people is based on sound science that will keep us, our loved ones, and our communities healthy and safe.'  

Previous reports have suggested that the Trump administration pressured the CDC to use more positive language in reports about COVID-19 so they would reflect well on the then-president.

Officials also attempted to review and change the CDC's weekly reports about the pandemic.

A memo summarizing the findings, dated March 10, was presented to Walensky by Schuchat and posted to the CDC's website on Monday.


In the memo, Schuchat wrote that the updates will 'ensure all of CDC's existing guidance related to COVID-19 is evidence based and free of politics.' 

All three of the documents that were removed resulted in criticism from public health experts at the time.  

One document 'The Importance of Reopening of America's Schools this Fall,' was posted on the CDC's website in July and was removed in October, before the review was conducted.

Experts criticized the guidelines for downplaying the risks of sending children  and teachers back to school for in-person learning. 

Another document suggested that people without COVID-19 symptoms 'don't necessarily need a test' if they have had come into contact with a person confirmed case was published in August and removed less than one month later.

The third document, which was released in April, was less detailed than the original guidance drafted by the CDC, and was removed in February 2020 during the CDC's review.


Schuchat did not reveal in the memo the people outside of the CDC who  drafted the guidance, nor does the memo ever use the name 'Trump.' 

Olivia Troey, who was one of then-Vice President Mike Pence's advisors for two years before resigning last summer, spoke of political pressure from the White House.

She told The New York Times that Pence's chief of staff, Marc Short, asked her to pressure the CDC on numerous occasions to publish reports showing coronavirus cases were declining among young people. 

'You're impacting people's lives for whatever political agenda. You're exchanging votes for lives, and I have a serious problem with that,' she said.

But the CDC under President Joe Biden has also struggled to also issue clear and consistent guidance.

On Tuesday, the agency recommended that U.S. employers with a large workforce consider setting up on-site coronavirus vaccine clinics, but declined to identify what classified a 'large' organization from one that is 'medium' or 'small.'

No comments