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Tags: CDC | travel ban | europe

CDC Officials Say Early Signals Warning of Coronavirus Were Sidelined

sign outside cdc headquarters in atlanta georgia near plants and the entrance
(Tami Chappell/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 20 May 2020 10:19 AM EDT

Warnings issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were not heeded by White House officials quickly enough, agency officials told CNN.

The CDC told Trump administration officials they were seeing a growing number of coronavirus cases coming from Europe and suggested issuing a warning to alert travelers of the potential dangers of flying.

But their suggestion wasn’t implemented for about a week and more than 66,000 European travelers entered American airports daily. 

Six CDC officials told CNN that the delay in issuing a travel warning is just one example of pushback the agency received from White House officials. 

"We've been muzzled," a current CDC official told CNN. "What's tough is that if we would have acted earlier on what we knew and recommended, we would have saved lives and money.”

Another CDC employee said the agency’s scientific work is coming second to politics. 

"The message we received in previous administrations was, you guys are the scientists," the employee said. "That's not the case this time. If the science that we are offering up contradicts a specific policy goal, then we are the problem."

A March 2 internal daily report by the CDC noted that the virus was spreading throughout Italy and 29 other countries. Two days later, a memo obtained by CNN, said the virus was reported in 85 international locations. 

CDC officials said they were expecting a global travel alert to be posted on March 5. The warning wasn’t made public until March 11. 

A senior CDC official told CNN that White House officials focused heavily on China because they didn’t want to “anger Europe … even though that's where most of our cases were originally coming from."

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US
Warnings issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were not heeded by White House officials quickly enough, agency officials told CNN. The CDC told Trump administration officials they were seeing a growing number of coronavirus cases coming from...
CDC, travel ban, europe
283
2020-19-20
Wednesday, 20 May 2020 10:19 AM
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