Tuesday, September 29, 2020

WH pressures CDC on school openings

Behind the White House Effort to Pressure the C.D.C. on School Openings reports the NY Times. Documents and interviews show how senior officials sought to play down the risks of sending children back to the classroom, alarming public health experts.

As part of their behind-the-scenes effort, White House officials also tried to circumvent the C.D.C. in a search for alternate data showing that the pandemic was weakening and posed little danger to children.

The documents and interviews show how the White House spent weeks trying to press public health professionals to fall in line with President Trump’s election-year agenda of pushing to reopen schools and the economy as quickly as possible. The president and his team have remained defiant in their demand for schools to get back to normal, even as coronavirus cases have once again ticked up, in some cases linked to school and college reopenings.

The effort included Dr. Deborah L. Birx, the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator, …

Oh, man! To paraphrase Rick Wilson, everything Trump touches is corrupted.

More recently, data compiled by the [American Academy of Pediatrics] from recent months shows that hospitalizations and deaths from the coronavirus have increased at a faster rate in children and teenagers than among the general public.

The[Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration] had helped prepare a five-page document supportive of reopening schools, the document that Dr. Birx sent to Dr. Redfield on July 19. It repeatedly described children as being at low risk for being infected by or transmitting the virus, even though the science on both aspects was far from settled.

A large study from South Korea published in July showed that children between the ages of 10 and 19 can spread the virus at least as much as adults do. More data from researchers called into question who was infecting whom.

On July 23, with hours to go before the new guidance was to be published, the White House staff secretary further stunned C.D.C. officials by emailing the guidance to a long list of top White House officials, asking for any “critical edits” by 1 p.m. The list included Mark Meadows, the chief of staff; Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser; Larry Kudlow, the director of the National Economic Council; and Stephen Miller, a White House policy adviser.

WTF?!?! What do these people have to contribute?

By the time it was published, it contained information that C.D.C. officials had objected to earlier in the week, suggesting in particular that the coronavirus was less deadly to children than the seasonal flu.

Thanks to our Editor-at-Large Sherry.

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