White House pressures CDC to reopen schools, officials say

Washington – In the summer, top White House officials pressured the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to reduce the risk of coronovirus among young people and encouraged the reopening of schools, according to two former CDO officials, Who was in the agency at that time.

The New York Times first reported that White House officials, aides in the office of Vice President Mike Pence and coordinators of the White House Coronovirus Task Force, Dr. Deborah Birx was involved in an effort to promote data spreading to the CDC. The virus was slowing down. Former CDC officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told CBS News that the information in the Times report was accurate.

Olivia Troi, a former advisor to Pence who worked on the White House’s Coronovirus Task Force, told the Times that she was repeatedly asked by Pence’s chief of staff Mark Short to produce more data showing a decline in youth cases . Troy left the White House in August and has since become A. Outspoken critic Coronovirus response of the President and Administration.

The Times also reported that Beerks pushed the CDC to include data from the Drug Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, an agency inside the Department of Health and Human Services, stating that the extended school closures would prevent children May have affected mental health and argued that transmission family members had fewer viruses. The Times received an email from Birks to CDC Director Robert Redfield, asking them to include the document as “background” in the CDC guidance for reopening schools.

Over the summer President Trump repeatedly argued that schools should be reopened for individual learning. At an event in July, he said “we want to open them up in the fall, beautifully, quickly.”

A second former CDC official involved in writing the guidelines told CBS News that Birks was influential in shaping the message around the reopening schools, and the risks associated with having children return to the classroom rather than at home. But staying focused on risk factors. . This official said that the White House was “slicing and dissecting our data to fit our plot.”

This person said CDC scientists were most concerned with the “preamble” for the guidance posted on the website, emphasizing the potential negative impact on children if schools do not reopen quickly. While the CDC included some data about that in its guidelines, they were against making it the top focus.

White House deputy press secretary, Brian Morgenstern, said in a statement to CBS News that the president “relied on the advice of all his top health officials who agreed that it would be safe to re-school safely in the public health interest Is to open up, and that relative risk caused by the virus to young people is affected by the risk of keeping children out of school indefinitely. ”

A White House official told Birks’ close relationship with Redfield to CBS News that “Dr. Birx pressured Dr. Redfield to do something he did not agree with.”

“There is hardly any political allegation of interaction or comments between friends and colleagues,” the official said.

Redfield has been at odds with the White House in recent weeks. The president denied Redfield earlier this month after the CDC director said a vaccine would be widely available in the second or third quarter of next year, noting that Redfield was “confused” and “made a mistake.” NBC News also reported this week that Redfield announced new members of the Coronovirus Task Force, Drs. Scott has criticized Atlas.

“Everything he says is a lie,” RedBC said during a phone call to NBC News.

Finn Gomez, Weijia Jiang, Paula Reid and Kristin Brown contributed to this report.


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