Current and former health officials say the Trump Administration interfered with attempts by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and others to warn Americans about the seriousness of the coronavirus pandemic, the Washington Post reports.
It adds that Nancy Messonnier, the former director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at CDC, and Deborah Birx, the former White House coronavirus coordinator, have described political interference to congressional investigators. According to the Post, Messonnier says that her attempt in February 2020 to warn that the virus was likely to spread in the US led to reprimands, including from the then-Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar .
Kate Galatas, a senior CDC communications official, also told the congressional panel, the Post says, that the White House repeatedly blocked requests for CDC briefings, telling her that they would be redundant, as the White House held its own. Birx, meanwhile, alleges that White House adviser Scott Atlas tried to minimize access to coronavirus testing, according to the Post, which adds that Atlas denies doing so.
It adds that the officials also confirmed reports that the Trump White House had pushed for changes to the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports.