The White House Reportedly Suppressed CDC Guidance for Reopening Safely
Top White House officials suppressed guidelines from public health experts on reopening the economy for weeks, and only ordered the approval of parts of that guidance after media reports exposed the delay, according to a report from the Associated Press.
Public health experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) spent weeks preparing detailed guidance to help schools, child care centers, religious groups, bars and restaurants, public transit officials, and others plan for a return to normalcy. The CDC’s work featured phased reopening plans, steps for ensuring each phase was completed successfully, and flow charts to help local officials decide how and when to reopen.
But the Trump administration quashed the guidance on April 30, saying CDC Director Robert Redfield had not approved it. Redfield reiterated his reasoning this Saturday, saying in a statement, “The re-opening guidance shared prematurely was in draft form and had not been vetted through the interagency review process,” and arguing more work needed to be done on it to ensure “clear guidance is presented to the American people.” Internal emails reviewed by the AP reportedly appear to show the director signing off on the plan, however.
The document was meant to help nonessential businesses as states begin to relax coronavirus pandemic-related restrictions. At the moment, there is no national standard for reopening beyond general suggestions from the White House that recommend taking a phased approach. This has led to a patchwork of rules. And apparently, the Trump administration believes this to be the best way to reopen.