Never has the American public needed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention more than right now. But during this pandemic, it’s clear the CDC’s role has been minimized. Today, more evidence of this as we learn a document created by the agency with information on how to re-open the country with step-by-step advice, has been shelved. The Associated Press, who broke the news, writes:
The 17-page report by a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention team, titled “Guidance for Implementing the Opening Up America Again Framework,” was researched and written to help faith leaders, business owners, educators and state and local officials as they begin to reopen.
It was supposed to be published last Friday, but agency scientists were told the guidance “would never see the light of day,” according to a CDC official. The official was not authorized to talk to reporters and spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity.
The AP goes on to say, “The Trump administration has been closely controlling the release of guidance and information.”
Traditionally, it’s been the CDC’s role to give the public and local officials guidance and science-based information during public health crises. During this one, however, the CDC has not had a regular, pandemic-related news briefing in nearly two months.
CNN, who confirmed the report, says Dr. Deborah Birx is the one who requested the guidelines on behalf of the White House Task Force. A senior CDC official told them:
“We are used to dealing with a White House that asks for things and then chaos ensues. A team of people at the CDC spent innumerable hours in response to an ask from Debbie Birx. The 17-page report represents an ask from the White House Task Force to come up with these recommendations. That’s our role. To put together this guidance.”
CNN adds the following statement from a task force official:
“On April 16, President Trump released guidelines for opening America up again. Those guidelines made clear that each State should open up in a safe and responsible way based on the data and response efforts in those individual states.
But the AP points out the guidance could have helped provide states with suggestions on how to safely implement news procedures as it “contained detailed advice for making site-specific decisions related to reopening schools, restaurants, summer camps, churches, day care centers and other institutions.”