Trump Officials Interfered With CDC Reports on COVID-19 to Line Up With Trump’s Lies
President Donald Trump admitted this week to downplaying the the deadly COVID-19 pandemic to the public as far back as February, and now POLITICO reports that Trump political appointees have been reviewing and changing weekly Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports on the coronavirus in order to make the science line up with Trump’s many lies.
Michael Caputo, a former Trump campaign official with no medical experience, was appointed the new Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs for Health and Human Services (HHS) in April, reported POLITIÇO at the time.
Three sources told POLITICO that Caputo’s team tried to block a report on hydroxychloroquine that said “the potential benefits of these drugs do not outweigh their risks,” which was finally released this week.
Trump has falsely claimed the hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug, is a cure for coronavirus.
Paul Alexander, a senior adviser to Caputo at HHS, told government press officials on Aug. 27 via email that he didn’t want Dr. Fauci to talk about testing kids and college students for COVID-19, noted POLITICO on Sept. 9:
I continue to have an issue with kids getting tested and repeatedly and even university students in a widespread manner…and I disagree with Dr. Fauci on this. Vehemently.
Alexander told Dr. Fauci’s press team on Sept. 2 that Dr. Fauci should not promote mask-wearing by children during an MSNBC interview:
Can you ensure Dr. Fauci indicates masks are for the teachers in schools. Not for children. There is no data, none, zero, across the entire world, that shows children especially young children, spread this virus to other children, or to adults or to their teachers. None. And if it did occur, the risk is essentially zero.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that 85 children have died from COVID-19, and the CDC recommends safety masks for children over two years old because of the coronavirus spreading.
Alexander sent an email on Aug. 8 email to CDC Director Robert Redfield and other officials with the bizarre accusation that the “CDC to me appears to be writing hit pieces on the administration.”
Alexander made the absurd claim that the CDC was inflating the risk of COVID-19 for kids: “CDC tried to report as if once kids get together, there will be spread and this will impact school re-opening . . . Very misleading by CDC and shame on them. Their aim is clear.”
According to a recent analysis by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association, there has been a 90% increase in the number of COVID-19 cases among children, noted CNN.
Alexander also demanded in his email that Redfield put an “immediate stop” to the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports until Alexander was able to review them, reported POLITICO:
The reports must be read by someone outside of CDC like myself, and we cannot allow the reporting to go on as it has been, for it is outrageous. Its lunacy. Nothing to go out unless I read and agree with the findings how they CDC, wrote it and I tweak it to ensure it is fair and balanced and “complete.”
Three sources told POLITICO that CDC officials have fought efforts by Caputo and Alexander to retroactively change science-based CDC reports, but are allowing them to review science-based reports before publication.
Caputo defended Alexander as “an Oxford-educated epidemiologist” who specializes “in analyzing the work of other scientists,” but refused to allow Alexander be interviewed by POLITICO.