Trump officials have participated in "deliberate attempts" to undermine the US response to the coronavirus epidemic for political purposes, concluding a conference report released Friday.
The report, drafted by the House subcommittee investigating Covid's national response, states that the White House repeatedly violated public health guidelines and testing of national infectious disease specialists and silenced officials to advance President Donald Trump's political agenda.
Drs. Deborah Birx testified that Trump WH could reduce Covid's death by 30 percent to 40 percent
OCT. 27, 202105: 37
In August last year, for example, Trump held a White House meeting with people promoting a herd vaccination strategy run by White House special adviser Dr. Scott Atlas. The subcommittee received an email sent before that meeting when Drs. Deborah Birx, White House Covid response coordinator, told Deputy Presidential candidate Marc Short, "a party that has no foundation other than to support epidemics, public health or the common sense experience." Birx also said in an email "he can leave town anything that offers WH cover" on the day of the meeting.
A few months later in October, the Director of National Health Institutions Dr. Francis Collins called for a "rapid and harmful publication" of the herd vaccination strategy, according to emails received and released by the subcommittee.
In an interview with the subcommittee, Birx said that when he arrived at the White House in March 2020 - more than a month after the US declared a public health emergency - he found that government officials had not yet contacted any of America's largest companies. provide Covid testing.
Birx also told the panel that Atlas and other Trump officials "had weakened the CDC test guidelines in August 2020 to hide how quickly the virus was spreading across the country," the report said. The revised guideline recommends that people without asymptomatic symptoms do not need to be tested, advice "contradicting recommendations based on consistent science," he said, adding, "Dr. Birx said these changes were specifically designed to reduce the number of tests.
Altas did not immediately respond to NBC News' request for comment.
The subcommittee also found out that the Trump White House had blocked requests from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more than three months' public hearings. The move follows a forum in late February 2020 when a senior CDC official "accurately warned the public of the dangers posed by coronavirus," he said.
Another CDC official told the panel that the organization had asked to hold a forum in April 2020 on recommendations for wearing face masks and presenting evidence of child cases and Covid deaths, but Trump White House refused.
CDC officials also said media requests for interviews were rejected immediately, a subcommittee reported.
Documents obtained by the committee also show that Trump's political candidates have tried to pressure the Food and Drug Administration to authorize Covid prescription drugs that he was forcing, such as hydroxychloroquine and convalescent plasma, on the basis of opposition scientists, the report said.
In addition, Drs. Steven Hatfill, a former White House business adviser to Peter Navarro, "may have refused to pay for such items as the N95 mask in the spring of 2020 because the products were not manufactured in the United States," the subcommittee said. .
In a statement to NBC on Friday, Hatfill said management had begun acquiring defensive equipment in early 2020. "The logical and effective decision was to seek the help of US manufacturers," he said.
"At the time, profit-makers were selling dirty and fraudulent PPE at high prices directly to the public," he said. "Even states such as California and New Mexico were victims of these schemes, but we did not have time to spend at government level. Even a very short delay could cost thousands. That was a risk we did not intend to take. Our choice to buy American goods saved lives and U.S. taxpayers' lives."
Dr Jay Butler, the CDC's chief executive officer who helped oversee the organisation's response in the spring of 2020, told a subcommittee in the discussion that Trump's administration had published a guide for religious communities in May last year "which softened vital public health. recommendations, ”such as removing all references to the face mask, proposal to set up choirs, and language related to visual services. Butler told the panel that "concerns he has about the illness of Americans who are likely to die because they rely on this fluid guideline will 'bother me for a long time,'" the report said.
Revelations in the panel report come as Covid cases continue to spread across the country as the US struggles with the new omicron and delta diversity.