Saturday, July 18, 2020

White House blocking CDC from testifying before Congress on reopening schools

I wrote "Dr. Sanjay Gupta is right; this has become a political story instead of a health story" in Coronavirus data to bypass CDC and go to HHS plus more pandemic news. I also wrote "the directive for data to bypass the CDC and go directly to HHS (Health and Human Services)...strikes me as a political decision designed to reduce tranparency and accountability. It's also bad science and public health policy." I have the same opinion of a related story that CNN reported yesterday, White House blocks CDC from testifying on reopening schools.

The White House is blocking US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield and other officials from the agency from testifying before a House Education and Labor Committee hearing on reopening schools next week, just as the debate over sending children back to classrooms has flared up across the US.
That disturbs me and should disturb my readers. The Trump Administration is letting politics get in the way of the science, which would actually help to get schools open sooner more safely than what they want to do.

As for what that testimony would look and sound like, CNN provided an example in Ex-CDC chief sounds warning on quickly reopening schools.

Former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Thomas Frieden warns against rushing into reopening schools before it is safe to do so, and outlines things we all can do to ensure children can return to their schools safely.
I'm with Dr. Frieden; opening schools too soon will not help in getting the country back to normal. Instead, it will spread the disease more and delay a return to the status quo ante, making the situation worse.

Instead of allowing Congress to hear testimony like that, Bloomberg reports White House: 'Science Should Not Stand in the Way' of Reopening Schools.

"When he says 'open,' he means open in full; kids being able to attend each and every day at their school. The science should not stand in the way of this."

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany defends Trump's push to re-open American schools in the fall.
I'm a scientist and an educator, so I find this appalling, if not particularly surprising. Nonnie9999 at Hysterical Raisins sums up my opinion of McEnany's remarks, as well as the policy behind them in Science Fiction.

Looking at that poster, I realized that I've never mentioned Betsy DeVos here before. Considering that she's an education activist from Michigan, that's quite an oversight. It's about time I did.

Stay tuned for the Sunday entertainment feature, which might be a double feature tomorrow.


  1. So, what would happen if Dr Redfield decided to testify anyway? I mean, besides possibly losing his job at the CDC.

    1. Welcome to Crazy Eddie's Motie News! Congress would probably get the facts, more school districts might decide to continue teaching remotely, and Trump will be upset that the real world isn't obeying his ideas of how it should act. It might make the House more adamant about the HEROES Act as well, but whether that moves the Senate at all would be doubtful.