Within hours, Vice President Mike Pence, head of the White House coronavirus task force, said the CDC would issue new guidelines.
“The president said today that we just don’t want the guidelines to be too strict and that’s why the CDC will release a new set of tools next week, five different documents that will give even more clarity to the guidelines going forward,” Pence told reporters.
The responses of the vice president and other senior officials to the relentlessly outplayed briefing of the White House working group, which brilliantly clashed with the reality of a new daily record of 60,000 new virus cases, underscored that the government was more focused on approving non-return takes steps that could beat her.
Dr. Robert Redfield, who runs the CDC and walks a steady rope, often unsuccessfully, under fierce pressure from Trump, stressed that the new guidelines should in no way slow Trump’s pressure to reopen all schools within a few weeks.
“I want to make it clear that what is not a CDC guideline serves as a basis for keeping schools closed,” Redfield said, vowing to work with schools and officials to propose optimal and safe opening plans.
“Personally, I would be very disappointed, and, I know, my agency, if we saw that individuals use these guidelines as a reason to reopen our schools.”
His comments came a day after Trump demanded that all schools reopen in the fall, and then the president waved when asked how this could be safely achieved given the deteriorating conditions.
And they asked this question: What is the point of the CDC guidelines if the conditions are so easy that they are largely meaningless or cannot be used as a reason to close schools in case the basic safety recommendations are not met?
The condition of American children
With the severe hardships of millions of Americans who have been fired for being stopped by the spread of the virus, the need for children to return to school is perhaps the most important task facing governments. The possibility of losing critical years of learning, along with the psychological and emotional effects of staying at home, has a painful effect on national children.
And parents cannot commit to returning to work, in many cases before their children return to school, further hampering hopes for economic recovery.
Yet no one in power has yet explained how regular schooling required by Trump is possible, given the need for social distancing in cramped school buildings and the danger to teachers, who are much more prone to Covid-19 complications than their students.
The president – who seems to have no obligation to lead other than delivering aggressive sonic strokes – also ignores the fact that children can carry the virus home to more vulnerable parents and grandparents, a factor that could cause new disease outbreaks to decline.
Dr. Ashish Jha, director of Harvard’s Global Health Institute, warned that the CDC guidelines are already the smallest requirement for opening schools, and warned of a long-term educational catastrophe if open spaces are not planned properly.
“I think the CDC’s recommendations are really basic and, in fact, I think we should go further. Look, you can open schools anywhere you want. It’s really not a debate,” Jha said on CNN’s “The Lead.” “The question is can you keep schools open? Can you prevent mass epidemics among teachers, staff and children? And if we don’t do what the CDC demands, and more, all schools will close Columbus Day and they will be closed for a long time. That.” is what we must avoid, and we are not. We cannot bluff through this, we must allow science to lead it. “
The debate over schools is reminiscent of Trump’s demands for state-opening
The debate over buildings over CDC school closure guidelines is beginning to resemble health agency guidelines compiled this spring to ensure the safe opening of state-owned economies – which many governors later ignored at the president’s urging to desperately revive his re-election of hopes.
It’s also a reminder of Trump’s stance on wearing masks, weeks after it published new CDC guidelines asking Americans to wear face covers in public places where they can’t socially distance themselves – and then immediately underestimate the advice by saying they won’t do it themselves so.
Pence’s swift acceptance of Trump’s appeals on Wednesday was noticeable because the president provided no logical or scientific arguments for his opposition to the CDC guidelines. He said only that the agency is asking schools to do “impractical things” – steps that would undoubtedly run counter to his demand to open upcoming schools.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, whom Trump resented this week for news that he was exacerbating the situation in interviews, was not at the briefing.
Another key member of the working group, Dr. Deborah Birx, attended. She said she had seen “encouraging” signs in states like Florida, Texas and Arizona, for example citing a drop in the rate of positivity in test results. But Birx added that states that have run into the problem should return to the phase of one of their openings, a statement that contrasts it with Trump’s warnings that America must continue to open up the economy.
CDC officials have told CNN in recent months that they feel “congested” as the White House has not ignored their advice more than for coordinated efforts to fight the virus.
In the early stages of the pandemic, the agency earned Trump’s rage by collapsing the initial coronavirus test plan. Senior official Nancy Messonnier warned Americans back in February that disruptions in everyday life could be “serious” – countering Trump’s first numerous inaccurate claims that he had nothing to worry about.
In May, the White House refused to implement the 17-page CDC plan for a safe reopening of the country, which contained detailed recommendations for churches and schools at a time when the president was demanding a quick reopening.
The White House denies severing ties with the CDC
Despite apparent clashes between the president and his health experts, White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany has denied that there is tension between Trump and the CDC.
“I would note that the CDC is on the same page as the president, which is why you heard the CDC director underline today, they are not prescribed, these are not requirements and there will be additional guidance. So they are on the same page,” she said.
But McEnany also pointed out that the president – who first denied the virus was a problem, then mismanaged it, then pushed states to open up in a way that caused a jump in infection and now wants to ignore it again – makes final decisions about how the pandemic disappears answer.
“It is up to him to decide what to do with this information, take what we hear from Dr. Fauci, Dr. Birx and others, take what he values in their opinion and come to a final consensus that is best for this country.” she said.
Asked specifically about Fauci, McEnany said Trump retains confidence “in the conclusions of our medical experts,” although the veteran official more rarely appears on the president’s side and makes unconvincing statements about a situation that refutes Trump’s misrepresentation of the virus in retreat.
“What we’re seeing is exponential growth. It’s been an average of about 20,000 to 40,000 and 50,000. It’s doubling,” Fauci told The Journal on Wednesday, a podcast produced for the Wall Street Journal. His comments followed the president’s claim that the U.S. was “in a good place” just before the U.S. coronavirus case reached a staggering $ 3 million.
Fauci also said that states that have serious problems need to “take the shutdown seriously” and that while the figure of 39 million tests Pence discovered earlier seems impressive, the real question is whether there is robust testing and monitoring.
Trump showed his misunderstanding or indifference to the difficulties faced by many Americans when he complained that in Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and many other countries, “SCHOOLS ARE OPEN WITHOUT PROBLEMS”.
His tweet ignored the fact that those countries suppressed their coronavirus curves by various methods, while the U.S. is on the strongly growing Covid-19 trajectory.
It was another reminder that Trump’s goal is to ensure a return to normal life, in schools, the economy, and even sports as soon as possible, but that he is willing to do little to create an environment where such a goal can be safely achieved.
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