The Trump White House’s coronavirus guidance was at times influenced too much by political appointees and not enough by federal scientists, determines a new CDC review conducted in an effort to restore faith in the beleaguered health agency.
The Hill: CDC Review Finds Trump-Era Guidance Was Not Based On Science
Federal health officials have identified and removed guidance documents released during the Trump administration that were not grounded in science and not “primarily authored” by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) staff, according to an agency internal review. The review specifically cited three reports issued by the Trump administration that had already been removed from the agency’s website: guidance on reopening schools issued in July, guidelines on “reopening America” issued in April, and guidance on COVID-19 testing issued in August. (Weixel, 3/15)
CNN: Agency Review Finds Some Trump Administration CDC Guidance Was Not Grounded In Science Or Free From Undue Influence
The review found that some guidance “used less direct language than available evidence supported,” “needed to be updated to reflect the latest scientific evidence” and “presented the underlying science base for guidance inconsistently,” according to the spokesperson. Additionally, the review identified three documents that were not primarily authored by the CDC and yet were presented as CDC documents, according to the spokesperson. The agency has removed two of the documents from its website, and updated and replaced the third. (Bonifield, Howard and Kelly, 3/15)
The Washington Post: CDC Identifies Public-Health Guidance From The Trump Administration That Downplayed Pandemic Severity
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky ordered the review as part of her pledge to restore public trust in the beleaguered agency, which had seen its recommendations watered down or ignored during the Trump administration to align with the former president’s efforts to downplay the severity of the pandemic. (Sun, 3/15)
Axios: CDC Review: Trump Administration’s COVID-19 Guidance Downplayed Certain Risks
The review found that political appointees often ordered revisions to guidance and that the language of some guidance was not as strong as it could have been. Some recommendations lacked transparency and scientific rationale, while others weren’t updated based on new evidence, according to the review. (Chen, 3/15)
ABC News: Birx On Trump’s Disinfectant ‘Injection’ Moment: ‘I Still Think About It Every Day’
The former coronavirus response coordinator in the Trump White House, Dr. Deborah Birx, says she still thinks about the moment last year when she sat silently while former President Donald Trump raised the possibility of injecting disinfectant into people to treat COVID-19. “Frankly, I didn’t know how to handle that episode,” Birx said Monday in an interview with ABC News’ Terry Moran for ABC News Live’s “The Breakdown.” “I still think about it every day.” (Gittleson, 3/15)
KHN: Analysis: The Trump Health Care Policies That Deserve To Stick Around
President Joe Biden’s goal of providing health care for more Americans advanced this week with his signing of an economic stimulus package that includes subsidies for health insurance premiums and new incentives for states to expand Medicaid, as well as the potential confirmation of Xavier Becerra as secretary of Health and Human Services. But as the current administration works to reverse the actions of its predecessor, it should recognize that former President Donald Trump introduced policies on medical care and drug price transparency that are worth preserving. Those measures could help struggling patient-consumers while the new administration pushes for the far more ambitious reforms Biden campaigned on, which include a public health insurance option and a system that would allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices. (Rosenthal, 3/16)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.