White House officials pressured the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention over the summer to issue guidelines that said reopening schools would be safe for children and better for their overall health, a new report claims.
The New York Times spoke with a former member of Vice President Mike Pence's staff, Olivia Troye, who said the Trump administration pushed the CDC to loosen its restrictions and cite experts' opinions that children were less likely to contract and spread COVID-19 — even though studies suggested the opposite could be true.
Pence's chief of staff Mark Short, according to the report, asked Troye on multiple occasions to ask the CDC to put together reports that showed the number of COVID-19 cases among younger Americans was declining, for example. And Short also asked junior aides to find data that supported the claim.
Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House Coronavirus Task Force coordinator and an expert in public health, tried to convince the CDC to use a document from a mental health agency under the umbrella of the Department of Health and Human Services that said additional school closures would threaten children's mental health and that kids who had the virus but were asymptomatic could not spread it, according to the Times.
CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield has contradicted some of what the White House has said regarding the virus, its impact on American society, and the development of a vaccine. He was overheard on a plane last week saying that President Donald Trump's top coronavirus aide, Dr. Scott Atlas, is a liar.
"Everything he says is false," Redfield said.
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