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Trump administration hit with subpoenas after threatening CDC staff

The administration worked overtime to block scientific reports about the coronavirus that could have helped stop the spread of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.

By Emily Singer - December 21, 2020
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Alex Azar, secretary of Health and Human Services

A House committee investigating Donald Trump’s coronavirus response subpoenaed two high-level administration officials on Monday, saying that “efforts to interfere with scientific work at CDC were far more extensive and dangerous than previously known.”

“Documents recently obtained by the Subcommittee show that over a period of four months, as coronavirus cases and deaths rose around the country, Trump Administration appointees attempted to alter or block at least 13 scientific reports related to the virus,” reads a letter from the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, which was obtained by Politico.

According to the letter, the administration exhibited a “pattern of hostile and threatening behavior” to staff at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as it sought to make reports about the spread of the virus rosier.

The subpoenas — which request documents from Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and CDC Director Robert Redfield — are looking into whether doing so was an effort to “cripple the nation’s coronavirus response in a misguided effort to achieve herd immunity.”

The subpoenas come after the same committee obtained emails showing that Trump administration officials were pushing for a “herd immunity” strategy, wanting to intentionally infect large swaths of the public to try and stop the pandemic.

Experts called that strategy dangerous.

It’s just the latest in a string of events lasting months that showed the Trump administration’s failure to stop the spread of the virus and mitigate the number of deaths and economic damage the pandemic would inflict on the country.

In the early days of the pandemic, Trump purposely downplayed the virus, even though he knew how deadly and contagious it was.

Trump also failed to quickly ramp up the country’s testing capabilities to identify where cases were coming from to stop the virus from spreading out of control.

As vaccines were being developed, Trump passed on an opportunity to obtain more doses of the Pfizer vaccine/

And throughout all of this, Trump was regularly disregarding pleas from infectious diseases experts to social distance and wear masks. Trump’s behavior helped poison the minds of his supporters, who have been protesting mask use — one of the most effective ways to stop the spread of the virus before a vaccine is widely available.

Trump’s failed response has led to nearly 318,000 deaths in the United States, the most of any country on earth.

Currently, the virus is spreading out of control across the entire country and hospitals are filled to capacity, leaving health care professionals fearing they will not be able to care for patients.

While the Trump administration appears to have tried to downplay the virus for political benefit, the administration’s failure to actually contain the virus could have been what ultimately did Trump in.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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