Home / Health / Trump officials attempted to modify CDC reports on COVID-19, per leaked email

Trump officials attempted to modify CDC reports on COVID-19, per leaked email

  • An email obtained by Politico shows a Trump political appointee accusing career scientists at the CDC of undermining the president’s messages on COVID-19.
  • “The CDC seems to me to be writing hit pieces on administration,” wrote Dr. Paul Alexander, a science advisor to agency spokesman Michael Caputo, in the August 8 email.
  • Caputo and Alexander appear to have successfully delayed the publication of a CDC report recommending against using hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug falsely touted by President Trump as a potential cure for COVID-19, Politico reported.
  • “Nothing to do if I don̵
    7;t read and agree with the results … and edit it to make sure it’s fair, balanced and ‘complete’,” Alexander said in the email.
  • Visit the Business Insider home page for more stories.

Trump administration officials have tried to water down reports from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Politico reported Friday evening, with a political appointee accusing career scientists of attempting to undermine the president’s campaign to reopen. the schools.

“It seems to me that the CDC is writing hit pieces on administration,” wrote Dr. Paul Alexander, scientific advisor to agency spokesman Michael Caputo, in an August 8 email to CDC director Robert. Redfield. Alexander, who was named this spring by Caputo, a former Trump campaign official, accused scientists of trying to “hurt the president,” according to the email obtained by Politico.

Caputo and his communications staff have worked to delay CDC reports that contradict President Donald Trump’s rhetoric. A publication was held for about a month, according to Politico, for recommending against the use of hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug advertised by the White House as a potential cure for COVID-19.

The reports, written by career scientists, are known as the weekly morbidity and mortality reports and, according to Politico, are used to “inform doctors, researchers and the general public about how Covid-19 is spreading and who. is at risk “. Jennifer Kates, of the Kaiser Family Foundation’s global health work, who relied on past reports, told Political that they are “the go-to point for the public health community to obtain scientifically controlled information.”

The Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for the drug in late March, but revoked it in June after it was found to be ineffective against COVID-19 with potentially fatal side effects. Several scientific studies have also shown that hydroxychloroquine is not effective for COVID-19.

In the August 8 email, Alexander specifically pointed to a scientific report that warned of the dangers of reopening schools.

“The CDC tried to report as if once the children got together, it would spread and that would impact the reopening of the school,” Alexander wrote. “Very misleading on the part of CDC and shame on them. Their goal is clear.”

Since mid-July, nearly 2,500 schools and campuses have reported confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to a database maintained by the National Education Association. Dozens of schools that have reopened have been forced to quarantine students and staff. There have been at least 34 deaths.

Alexander, in this missive, said that any future coronavirus-related report “must be read by someone outside the CDC like me”, calling the previous work “outrageous” and “madness”.

“Nothing to talk about unless I read and share the findings on how the CDC wrote it and edit it to make sure it’s fair, balanced and ‘complete,'” Alexander told Redfield and other officials.

In a statement to Politico, Caputo defended Alexander, “an Oxford educated epidemiologist.”

Caputo was nominated for his role at the health department in April and is a loyal to Trump. He has worked in republican campaigns since the 1980s and in the 1990s he also worked as a public relations consultant for a Russian state-owned energy company.

Caputo also claimed conspiracy theories, including the claim that the investigation into Russia and the investigation into Ukraine, which led to Trump’s impeachment in 2019, were part of a plot to “enrich global insiders. like Hunter Biden, George Soros and others “.

“Dr. Alexander advises me on pandemic policy and has been encouraged to share his views with other scientists. Like all scientists, his advice is listened to and accepted or rejected by his colleagues,” Caputo said in a statement.

Norman Ornstein, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, suggested that the disclosure of political interference with the CDC’s work should require legal action.

“The level of corruption involving public health – which means more people die from it – by Trump and his minions is so, so high, and so, so despicable,” wrote on Twitter. “All these people should be prosecuted for reckless danger.”

Trump has repeatedly made claims about the coronavirus that contradicted information presented by public health experts. The president also admitted to veteran journalist Bob Woodward that he downplayed the severity of the coronavirus pandemic early on.

“I always wanted to belittle. I still like to belittle because I don’t want to panic,” Trump told Woodward on March 19.

The CDC did not respond to Business Insider’s request for comment at the time of publication.

Got a news tip? Email this reporter: cdavis@insider.com

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