More than 1,000 current and former CDC staff hit out at Trump coronavirus response

Open letter calls for greater role for CDC in fighting Covid-19

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Sunday 18 October 2020 09:06
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More than 1,000 current and former staff at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have hit out at Donald Trump’s coronavirus response.

tThe letter expressed dismay at the White House’s handling of the pandemic and called for the CDC to play a bigger role in fighting Covid-19.

“The absence of national leadership on Covid-19 is unprecedented and dangerous,” read the letter signed by current and former disease investigators for the agency’s Epidemic Intelligence Service.

“CDC should be at the forefront of a successful response to this global public health emergency.”

Among those signing the letter were two former CDC directors, Jeffrey Koplan, who led the CDC under Bill Clinton and George W Bush, and Tom Frieden, who served under Barack Obama.

The letter, published in the Epidemiology Monitor newsletter, also expressed concern “about the ominous politicisation and silencing of the nation’s health protection agency” during the virus.

The White House has been criticised for meddling in the CDC’s role, with the administration accused of editing official health guidance and changing language written by scientists.

“CDC has today, as it has every day during its 74-year history, provided the best available information and recommendations to the American public,” the agency said in response.

“Since January, more than 5,200 CDC personnel have dedicated themselves to protecting the health of the American people.”

More than 224,000 people in the US have died from the coronavirus during the pandemic with more than 8.3 million cases registered.

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