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Asked about the criticism at a House budget hearing Wednesday, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said that, during the presidents tenure, every part of our preparedness and infectious disease program activity has been enhanced and expanded.
Azar went on the say the presidents budget proposals are just the jumping-off point for budget negotiations.
Cases Mount In Texas California Florida
Outbreaks in the Sunbelt continue to worsen, as Florida, California, and Texas reported a combined 30,000 cases yesterday, representing 18% of the global daily total.
California Governor Gavin Newsom said he will once again shutter restaurants, bars, gyms, churches, salons, malls, and other businesses in 30 counties, effective immediately, in an effort to stop the spike in virus transmission. According to the LA Times, California has averaged 8,211 new cases each day in the past week.
The order is in effect in the state’s biggest counties, including Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside, and Marin.
In Texas, hospitals are starting to turn away transfer patients to make space for an expected surge in COVID-19 patients. Last week, Governor Greg Abbott banned elective surgeries in an effort to free up hospital space as the state battles one of the largest COVID-19 outbreaks in the country.
According to the COVID-19 tracker maintained by Johns Hopkins University, the United States has 3,406,945 COVID-19 cases and 136,244 fatalities.
Trump Hosted Rallies With Large Unmasked Crowds 15 Times
Trump has held at least 15 rallies since Sept. 1. USA TODAY reviewed its coverage of the rallies and found that each violated guidance on face masks, social distancing or limits on the sizes of gatherings in the locality. Many violated all three categories. Most of the rallies were outside on tarmacs or in hangars, but at least one was indoors.
For example, at the Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport, about 4,000 people gathered despite Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s ban on gatherings of more than 250 people. At Duluth International Airport, an estimated 3,000 people largely maskless were in attendance. At Harrisburg International Airport, the campaign said 2,000 chairs were placed, and it appeared as though thousands more were there to support the president, including multiple elected officials.
“It is gravely concerning that the president would insist on holding this event with blatant disregard for social distancing and masking requirements,” Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said in the statement. “His decision to bring thousands of people together in a tight space in the midst of a global pandemic caused by an airborne virus is flat-out wrong.”
Here is a list of rallies held in September:
- Two Sept. 21 rallies in Ohio
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Trump Administration Strips Cdc Of Control Of Coronavirus Data
Hospitals have been ordered to bypass the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and send all patient information to a central database in Washington, raising questions about transparency.
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WASHINGTON The Trump administration has ordered hospitals to bypass the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and send all Covid-19 patient information to a central database in Washington beginning on Wednesday. The move has alarmed health experts who fear the data will be politicized or withheld from the public.
The new instructions were posted recently in a little-noticed document on the Department of Health and Human Services website. From now on, the department not the C.D.C. will collect daily reports about the patients that each hospital is treating, the number of available beds and ventilators, and other information vital to tracking the pandemic.
Historically, C.D.C. has been the place where public health data has been sent, and this raises questions about not just access for researchers but access for reporters, access for the public to try to better understand what is happening with the outbreak,” said Jen Kates, the director of global health and H.I.V. policy with the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation.
Hiding The Truth Wont Stop The Virus
At the core of Trump and his administrations complaints about the CDC seems to be a concerted effort to make it appear as though America is quickly returning to normal before the November election. That effort was on display at Augusts Republican convention, which was seemingly designed to downplay Americas Covid-19 epidemic.
Trump even admitted to this in an interview with journalist Bob Woodward: I wanted to always play down, Trump said on March 19. I still like playing it down, because I dont want to create a panic.
This is, of course, a terrible way to approach a pandemic. Viruses dont care about politics, and theyll spread as long as people and their governments dont take action to stop them.
Weve seen that time and time again as Trump has meddled with the CDC. Although he and his staff muzzled Messonnier, it turns out she was right Covid-19 has disrupted day-to-day life significantly. After Trump suggested states reopen faster than the CDC recommended, the US saw a resurgence of Covid-19 cases, from California to Arizona to Texas to Florida, as it turned out states had opened prematurely. After Trump pushed schools to reject the CDC guidelines and open quickly, there have been outbreaks in universities and K-12 settings.
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Trump Continues To Politicize The Covid
In fact, perhaps the most concerning aspect of the CDC conference was how it gave us a glimpse into Trumps view of the coronavirus as a political rather than health-based issue.
During his remarks, Trump said he would rather have the passengers of the Grand Princess, a cruise ship docked in San Francisco with 21 confirmed cases onboard, stay on the ship than move to land all because doing so would raise the number of total Covid-19 cases in the US.
I would rather because I like the numbers being where they are, Trump said. I dont need to have the numbers double because of one ship that wasnt our fault. And it wasnt the fault of the people on the ship either, okay? It wasnt their fault either and theyre mostly Americans. So, I can live either way with it. Id rather have them stay on, personally.
“I like the numbers being where they are. I don’t need to have the numbers double because of one ship” — Trump explains that he doesn’t want to let people off the Grand Princess cruise ship because he doesn’t want the number of coronavirus cases in the country to go up
Trumps comment suggests a grim reality: that keeping the number of Covid-19 cases low is more important to him than the actual people who have the disease all because he wants to avoid the political fallout of a growing case count.
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Earlier this month, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., sent a letter to the head of USAID asking him to reinstate the program in light of the spread of coronavirus.
The current deadly viral outbreak and its quick appearance in the United States make clear that PREDICTs contributions to zoonotic disease surveillance and forecasting must continue, she wrote. We simply cannot afford to go backwards and jeopardize the success weve seen over the last ten years.
The president has defended his administrations response and preparedness efforts as incredible. On Wednesday, he tapped Vice President Mike Pence to lead a coronavirus task force formed late last month that was being led by Azar. Other members of the task force include NSA OBrien, CDC Director Robert Redfield, and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci.
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Documents Reveal New Details Of Trump Political Interference In Covid
Top political officials in the Trump White House tried to block public health guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and to eliminate evidence of political interference into scientists reports on the coronavirus, according to newly released documents from congressional investigators.
The latest documents from a House committee investigating the former administrations response to the pandemic shed additional light on the efforts of some of former President Trumps political appointees to blunt or even block the messages of career officials because they did not align with Trumps rosy projections.
During a press briefing on Feb. 25, 2020, former senior CDC official Nancy Messonnier warned about the coming dangers of COVID-19. She told reporters that the spread of the coronavirus was essentially inevitable.
Its not so much a question of if this will happen anymore but rather more a question of exactly when, she said.
Her statement angered Trump, and the administration subsequently stopped granting CDC officials permission to brief the public. The agency held no briefings from early March until June, during some of the earliest and most confusing times of the pandemic.
In an interview with the House select subcommittee on the pandemic, Messonnier said her intention was to to tell the truth.
Casey said she understood the instruction came from former CDC Director Robert Redfield.
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But its abundantly clear too that no one knows exactly how to help the CDC at this moment.
How do you deal with that situation politically when the leader of the country isnt following your guidance and youre trying to stop an epidemic? ASTHOs Fraser said. I dont think anybody even thought that was a possibility. Maybe we should have, I dont know.
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Coronavirus: What You Need To Know
The latest: The CDC has loosened many of its recommendations for battling the coronavirus, a strategic shift that puts more of the onus on individuals, rather than on schools, businesses and other institutions, to limit viral spread.
Variants: BA.5 is the most recent omicron subvariant, and its quickly become the dominant strain in the U.S. Heres what to know about it, and why vaccines may only offer limited protection.
Did Trump Try To Cut The Cdc’s Budget As Democrats Claim: Analysis
The allegations come amid the emergency over the COVID-19 coronavirus.
President Donald Trump is taking heat from Democrats for proposing budget cuts to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention amid growing fears about a new coronavirus outbreak in the United States, but administration officials say CDC funding has steadily increased since Trump took office.
An ABC News analysis of the presidents budget proposals compared to the congressionally approved spending plans ultimately enacted show both claims are true.
The president introduced his fiscal year 2021 budget proposal on Feb. 10, just 11 days after the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency of international concerns. The spending plan included a 16 percent reduction in CDC funding from the 2020 spending levels.
In fact, all of Trumps budget proposals have called for cuts to CDC funding, but Congress has intervened each time by passing spending bills with year-over-year increases for the CDC that Trump then signed into law.
During the Democratic presidential debate in South Carolina Tuesday, former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg accused the president of defunding the CDC, claiming the result is that we dont have the organization that we need.
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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.
Clyburn: Documents Show Trump Officials Helped Suppress Coronavirus Cdc Reports
Top former Trump administration advisers helped suppress scientific information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention they felt was harmful to President Trump, and attacked the agencys credibility, according to documents obtained by House Democrats.
The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis sent letters to former Trump advisers Scott Atlas, Paul Alexander and Steven Hatfill, asking for documents and communications about the former administrations response to the pandemic.
Our investigation has shown that Trump Administration officials engaged in a persistent pattern of political interference in the nations public health response to the coronavirus pandemic, overruling and bullying scientists and making harmful decisions that allowed the virus to spread more rapidly, said Rep. James Clyburn , chairman of the subcommittee.
Specifically, the committee found former science adviser Alexander attempted to alter or block at least 13 CDC reports related to the coronavirus. He also forwarded official government records from HHS to his personal email account, as well as to another non-government email account that the committee said may be associated with a former colleague.
The Trump administration has denied that there was any political interference impacting CDC reports, and claimed Alexanders emails absolutely did not shape department policy or strategy.
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The lack of appointees at the CDC is so striking that one former HHS official described it as a failure, and added that an agency of that size should have at least twice as many.
The lack of political appointees at CDC has caused somewhat of a culture clash between CDC and HHS officials too, officials from both acknowledged.
Theres always the balance between wanting to be well-integrated into the department, which is stocked with political , said a second former CDC official. If you stand off and you dont engage then you dont know whats going on and you arent very effective, particularly in sending things back to Atlanta.
Some of the CDCs defenders insist that the agencys cultural clashes with Washington arent entirely its fault. Some of that friction comes from the fact that public health departments are often the bearers of bad political news, they insist.
Public health departments at all levels of government are often thought of as not team players, said Trust for Americas Healths Auerbach. They make people uncomfortable because they release information that is not always politically appealing. Thats true of CDC, its true of state health agencies and city health agencies we do make people uncomfortable.
Auerbach too, however, added that he was really struck by how people are not politically focused.
Trump Took Ride Outside Hospital
Days after testing positive for COVID-19, Trump was driven around outside Walter Reed Hospital Sunday night to wave at supporters.
Dr. James P. Phillips, an attending physician at Walter Reed, tweeted that everybody in the vehicle with Trump should be quarantined for 14 days. “They might get sick. They may die,” he tweeted. “For political theater. Commanded by Trump to put their lives at risk for theater. This is insanity.”
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No Masks Were Worn At Trumps Debate Prep
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said that during debate preparation for Trump from Saturday to Tuesday before the debate, none of the people present wore masks.
“No one was wearing masks in the room when we were prepping the president during that period of time,” Christie said. “And the group was about five or six people, in total.”
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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