U.S. lawmakers say Trump appointees interfered with COVID-19 testing guidance

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Political appointees in former U.S. President Donald Trump's administration interfered with public health guidance on the coronavirus to justify reopening schools and businesses, congressional Democrats said on Monday

Reuters February 09, 2021 00:11:32 IST
U.S. lawmakers say Trump appointees interfered with COVID-19 testing guidance

US lawmakers say Trump appointees interfered with COVID19 testing guidance

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Political appointees in former U.S. President Donald Trump's administration interfered with public health guidance on the coronavirus to justify reopening schools and businesses, congressional Democrats said on Monday.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in August that people who were exposed to COVID-19 but were not symptomatic did not need to be tested for the virus. That was a reversal of previously issued guidance that all close contacts of people diagnosed with the highly contagious illness be tested.

A majority of states rejected that guidance, continuing to recommend testing for individuals without symptoms who had been exposed to COVID-19. The CDC has since changed the August advice, saying on its website that people can spread the virus without showing symptoms, something health experts had been saying long before the agency's controversial about-face.

The Trump administration weakened testing guidance in August "in order to hide evidence the virus was spreading rapidly among asymptomatic people," James Clyburn, chairman of the House of Representatives' Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis wrote in letters to the White House chief of staff and acting secretary of the Health and Human Services Department (HHS).

The letters cited emails from Trump administration officials. In one email, a science adviser for HHS wrote: "Testing asymptomatic people to seek asymptomatic cases is not the point of testing, for in the end, all this accomplishes is we end up quarantining asymptomatic, low risk people and preventing the workforce from working."

Clyburn is asking for a number of documents related to public health guidance, testing, data collection, treatments and vaccines and other matters.

Spokespeople for the White House and the HHS did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The coronavirus has infected more than 27 million people in the United States and claimed over 463,000 lives.

(Reporting by Makini Brice; Additional reporting by Jarrett Renshaw; Editing by Bill Berkrot)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.