The Claim: President Trump Fired The ‘entire’ Pandemic Response Team In 2018
From nearly the start of the coronavirus pandemic, critics, in particular, have pointed out that President Donald Trump dismantled the very team that should’ve been preparing for an outbreak.
“In 2018 Trump fired the ENTIRE pandemic response team,” one recent social media post reads. “Keep re-posting this until the election.”
The user behind the post did not respond to a request for comment from USA TODAY.
Dismantling The Affordable Care Act
More than 27 million Americans, about 9 percent of the U.S. population, have no health insurance coverage. Despite a yearslong decline in the number of uninsured Americans following the passage of the Affordable Care Act , the Trump administrations effective elimination of the laws individual mandate, as well as other efforts to undermine comprehensive coverage, led to an increase in the uninsured rate for the first time in 10 years. At the same time, the administration has pushed to allow insurance companies to offer short-term plans with limited coverage, also known as junk plans. While these plans offer cheaper premiums, they provide limited benefits and few consumer protections enrollees could potentially have massive bills for COVID-19 treatment.
From Cruise Ships To Asymptomatic Spread: Expert Advice Ignored
Hand-in-hand with the silencing of agency scientists is a pattern of political appointees overriding advice from those scientists. Nowhere has this been more apparent than at the CDC. Axios reported in late September that Robert Redfield, the CDCs director, had attempted to extend a ban on passenger cruise ships into 2021. Cruise ships were the sites of some of the first major outbreaks of COVID-19 during the pandemic, and public-health experts have warned about their vulnerability to the spread of the virus. But the Trump administration ultimately overruled Redfield as of 31 October, cruise ships are allowed to sail from the United States once again.
In August, now-removed guidance appeared on the CDCs website that stated that asymptomatic people no longer needed to be tested for the virus, counter to the recommendations of public-health experts. A senior CDC official told CNN that this guidance was issued from the top down it was eventually reversed after public outcry. Officials outside the CDC have allegedly inserted their own documents on the CDC website in a move that Samuel Groseclose, a retired epidemiologist who spent 27 years at the agency, calls bizarre.
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Did Donald Trump Fire Pandemic Officials Defund Cdc
If Your Time is short
- Fired may be a little strong, but in 2018, top national security officials handling pandemics left abruptly and were not replaced by the Trump administration.
- As for funding, theres no question that the Trump administration sought to cut key CDC budget categories. But thanks to Congress, that funding was restored and even increased in bills that Trump ultimately signed.
During a CNN town hall before the South Carolina primary, Mike Bloomberg a former New York City mayor and Democratic presidential candidate was asked whether he had confidence in President Donald Trump to handle a potential coronavirus pandemic, officially known as the COVID-19 virus.
After jokingly saying, “I feel so much better,” Bloomberg told the audience, “No. 1, he fired the pandemic team two years ago. No. 2, he’s been defunding the Centers for Disease Control. So, we don’t have the experts in place that we need. I hope he’s right that the virus doesn’t come here, that nobody gets sick. That would be a wonderful outcome. But the bottom line is, we are not ready for this kind of thing.”
Bloomberg had a point that the Trump administration ousted some of its officials dealing with global pandemics, but “defunding” the CDC is more complicated than he let on.
Instead, Trump has looked within his administration to fill roles for the coronavirus response.
The Defunding Of The Us Embed To Chinas Cdc Briefly Explained
As Redfield mentioned, the US and China have long collaborated on matters of public health. As part of that collaboration, China has allowed the US to embed a public health official in its CDC.
Until July 2019, that embed was Dr. Linda Quick, an epidemiologist. Quick led a program that trained Chinese epidemiologists in methods for discovering, tracking, researching, and containing diseases like Covid-19.
She reportedly came back to the US after being told her position would be discontinued in September 2019 in part due to the ongoing trade war between the US and China, and chose to return early, in July.
Once she came back to the US, she was not replaced by the US or any other foreign government, leading to a series of events that Bao-Ping Zhu, who held Quicks position during the Obama administration, told Reuters was heartbreaking to watch.
If someone had been there, public health officials and governments across the world could have moved much faster, Zhu said.
Essentially, governments around the world might have been able to begin responding in early December, when the first Chinese cases were reported, rather than in late December, when China informed the World Health Organization it had begun to notice cases of a novel illness.
The US CDC has been dismissive of this view, and told Reuters that Quicks absence had absolutely nothing to do with CDC not learning of cases in China earlier.
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International Disease Surveillance Teams
One early criticism of the administrations handling of the epidemic concerned the end of another program created in the wake of the Ebola outbreakthe Global Health Security Agenda, where the US supports efforts by countries with less-developed public health systems to spot outbreaks and take action quickly, before disease can spread. That criticism appears to stem from stories written in 2018 to warn about the potential end of the program. However, lawmakers didnt cut funding for the effort.
Instead, according to the CDC, work to develop effective disease surveillance continues in 19 partner countries, and the public health agency is collaborating with 60 nations around the world to address infectious disease threats. And China, where the novel coronavirus first emerged, has a relatively advanced disease-fighting agency and was never a target of the main surveillance-aid program.
Leaving Key Public Health Positions In The Administration Unfilled For Years
The Trump administration is notoriously understaffed, with roughly one-third of the 745 key executive branch positions remaining unfilled over the three years of his presidency. Among the hundreds of empty roles is the National Security Councils global pandemic director. Timothy Ziemer, who was in charge of the Presidents Malaria Initiative under both George W. Bush and Barack Obama before joining the NSC, was reported to have been basically pushed out of the agency. The position has now been vacant for nearly two years, and the pandemic office has remained closed. As it became clear that the coronavirus would become a pandemic, Trump made no effort to quickly fill the position instead, he downplayed the effects of the virus and insisted that it would go away. Experts have suggested that these moves seriously hindered the administrations response to the outbreak.
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No Trump Did Not Refuse Who Testing Kits
Another hot topic hoax Democrats and the media have been pushing is Joe Bidens claim during Sundays Democrat debate that President Trump refused an offer of Wuhan coronavirus test kits by the World Health Organization .
No, look, the World Health Organization offered offered the testing kits that they have available and to give it to us now. We refused them. We did not want to buy them. We did not want to get them from them. We wanted to make sure we had our own. I think he said something like we have the best scientists in America, or something to that effect.
Biden appears to have come to this incorrect conclusion from a Politico piece entitled, How testing failures allowed coronavirus to sweep the U.S. The subhead reads, The Trump administrations decision to forgo a World Health Organization test and create its own had fateful consequences, experts say.
The media ran with it. Of course.
Its not hidden but your administration rejected a test that wouldve helped find out where it was weeks ago for reasons you cant explain.
In other words, thats just the way it is done, the way it has long been done. Our CDCs coronavirus test formula has been distributed by WHO since January 28th.
Under Donald Trump Key Cdc Us Staff In China Fell To 0
If Your Time is short
The correct figures from the CDC show that overall staffing fell but remained higher than what Biden said.
The numbers also show the elimination of all U.S. staff to counter the threat posed by the new coronavirus.
Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, argues that President Donald Trump failed to protect the country from the coronavirus when he had the chance. In an interview on MSNBC, Biden said Trump “absolutely missed any opportunity to get ahead of this.”
Biden underscored the loss of American staff at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention office in Beijing.
“We had over 44, if Im not mistaken, people from the CDC in China, in China to observe what was going on,” Biden said May 14. “The president brought home the vast majority of them, I think left only four in place.”
This is an intriguing claim. Biden is off on the exact numbers. But his point about stripped-down oversight is supported. According to the CDC, the program in China specifically charged with spotting new infectious diseases went from having four American staff in 2017 to none by 2019.
Its impossible to say with 100% certainty that if those Americans had been there, they would have been able to alert Washington earlier to an emerging threat. But not having them there eliminated that possibility.
When he said the number fell to four, the actual number by December 2019 was three Americans, and 11 Chinese.
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Debate Corner: Trump Did Not Dismantle Cdc Pandemic Response Unit
Re: Vulnerable will be hurt by Trumps incompetence .
The recent letter on Trumps dismantling the Pandemic Response Unit is false. You can look it up on Factcheck.org.
Here is a brief quote from Factcheck, posted on March 12: As the COVID-19 disease caused by the new coronavirus has spread around the world, a number of politicians, news organizations and public figures have made the false claim that the Trump administration cut the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions anti-pandemic work in over 40 countries to just 10. The CDC told us thats not true.
It goes on further to say: CDC did not have to cut back its work from 49 to 10 countries, said Maureen Bartee, CDCs associate director for Global Health Security, in a statement to Factcheck.org.
In fact, in 2020, the CDC was awarded $183 million for global public health protection and in 2021 President Trump has requested that funding for global disease detection be increased further.
Why does the media not say anything about this? It seems that they simply parrot false remarks made by the likes of Chuck Schumer, and Joy Behar from ABCs The View. You simply cant always believe what you hear from media sources that have distinct agendas.
How The Trump Administrations Deregulation Agenda Has Worsened The Coronavirus Pandemic
The Trump administration spent its first three years in power dismantling critical safety net and worker protection programsworsening the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on working-class Americans.
- Ryan Zamarripa
- Galen Hendricks
In 2015, Donald Trump promised: Everybodys going to be taken care of much better than theyre taken care of now. Yet, long before news of the COVID-19 outbreak reached the United States, the Trump administration had been dismantling policies and proposing new ones that have vastly exacerbated the coronavirus pandemic.
As the United States braces to combat a public health crisis and a severe economic downturn, it is important to note that the Trump administrations policies have contributed to this crisis. Three years of deregulation under the Trump presidency and a botched response to the COVID-19 pandemic have in part spurred what may be one of the costliest public health crises in American historyboth financially and in terms of human life. This column breaks down four of the Trump administrations deregulatory actions that have worsened the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
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Despair At Cdc After Trump Influence: ‘i Have Never Seen Morale This Low’
The Trump administrations bungled response to the coronavirus pandemic and its subsequent efforts to meddle with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are taking a substantial toll on the nations foremost public health institution.
In interviews with half a dozen current and former CDC officials, they described a workforce that has seen its expertise questioned, its findings overturned for political purposes and its effectiveness in combating the pandemic undermined by partisan actors in Washington.
I have never seen morale this low. Its just, people are beaten down. People are beaten down partially by a public who not only distrusts us but who actually think we want to infringe on their civil liberties, said one current CDC employee. The other factor is the active undermining by senior members of our own administration.
Those who still work at the agency requested anonymity to describe conversations among their colleagues, for fear of retribution from an administration that has punished officials who speak out.
In the early months of the pandemic, senior CDC officials including Principal Deputy Director Anne Schuchat and Nancy Messonnier, the director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, were sidelined after sounding the alarms over the dangers posed by the novel coronavirus.
CDC spokespeople did not return calls and emails seeking comment.
Covid Treatments Prematurely Approved
Convalescent plasma, antibody-laden blood plasma from someone who survived COVID-19, was a promising treatment early in the pandemic. In August, the Trump administration leaned heavily on Food and Drug Administration commissioner Stephen Hahn to issue an Emergency Use Authorization for the treatment despite a lack of solid evidence that it helps people, as reported by The New York Times and The Washington Post. The FDA issued the EUA, making plasma available to a wide swath of the US population. But evidence from a clinical trial in India, posted in September, suggests that the treatment has no effect on patient outcomes. Earlier in the pandemic, the agency had to revoke its authorization of hydroxychloroquine, which Trump had touted as a game changer for COVID-19, because it, too, was subsequently shown to be ineffectual at treating the disease.
To many public-health experts, it is clear that the Trump administrations persistent meddling is responsible for the disastrous way in which the pandemic has unfolded in the United States. Some of it is probably real and some of it is probably supposition, Georges Benjamin, the executive director of the American Public Health Association in Washington DC, says of the media reports about interference. But at the end of the day, this has been one of the worst risk-communications processes that Ive ever seen. And I think thats tragic.
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