Joe Biden is aiming to put scientists back in charge – and on stage – to restore trust in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with a revival of regular media briefings, Politico reported Monday.
According to the news outlet, one of the career officials to get a central role is Nancy Messonnier, the public health official who first warned of the severe impact of the COVID-19 in February.
Citing unnamed Biden advisers, Politico reported the goal of the strategy is to send a coordinated message, nearly a year into the coronavirus crisis, the federal government is prioritizing science in its pandemic response.
Messonnier, who is the respiratory disease chief at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Anne Schuchat, who is the CDC's principal deputy director, are among the government scientists whose warnings about the severity of the coronavirus ran afoul of President Donald Trump's initial efforts to downplay the virus, Politico reported.
"I think that if we lead with science and scientists, putting them front and center to talk to the public directly so people can hear scientific information from the source, if we get people the information they need through clear evidence-based guidance, we will ultimately get good results," Vivek Murthy, the co-chair of Biden's COVID-19 advisory board has said.
But Obama administration CDC director Tom Frieden warned: "It's not going to be easy to put the genie back in the bottle once there's been so much mistrust and misinformation. How do you rebuild trust in science when people are spouting unscientific nonsense on social media?"
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