Donald Trump’s White House interfered with Covid-19 response: US Congress report


A US Congressional panel released a new report detailing efforts by the Trump administration to politicize federal response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis accused the White House under former US President Donald Trump of undermining “public health to benefit the former president’s political goals”.

The President and his top aides repeatedly attacked scientists affiliated to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC), compromised the agency’s public health guidance, and suppressed scientific reports in an effort to downplay the seriousness of the coronavirus spread, Congressman James Clyburn, Chair of the panel, said in a statement.

“This prioritization of politics, contempt for science, and refusal to follow the advice of public health experts harmed the nation’s ability to respond effectively to the coronavirus crisis and put Americans at risk,” Clyburn alleged.

The investigation uncovered that Trump’s appointees sought to influence CDC’s scientific reports — attempting to change the publication process, manipulate the content, or block the dissemination of at least 19 different reports that they deemed to be politically harmful to the administration.

The subcommittee has been investigating the Trump administration’s “political interference” across the federal government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic since June 2020.

The US has reported nearly 97 million Covid-19 cases and more than 1 million deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The CDC said a new Covid variant dubbed BQ.1 and a descendant called BQ.1.1 have gained traction in the US, accounting for 11.4 per cent of new cases across the country in the week ending October 15.

On December 31, 2019, China announced the discovery of a cluster of pneumonia cases in Wuhan. The first American case was reported on January 20, and President Donald Trump declared the US outbreak a public health emergency on January 31.

Restrictions were placed on flights arriving from China, but the initial U.S. response to the pandemic was otherwise slow, in terms of preparing the healthcare system, stopping other travel, and testing.

The first known American deaths occurred in February. On March 6, 2020, Trump allocated $8.3 billion to fight the outbreak and declared a national emergency on March 13. The government also purchased large quantities of medical equipment, invoking the Defense Production Act of 1950 to assist.

By mid-April, disaster declarations were made by all states and territories as they all had increasing cases. A second wave of infections began in June, following relaxed restrictions in several states, leading to daily cases surpassing 60,000.

By mid-October, a third surge of cases began; there were over 200,000 new daily cases during parts of December 2020 and January 2021.

COVID-19 vaccines became available in December 2020, under emergency use, beginning the national vaccination program, with the first vaccine officially approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on August 23, 2021.

Studies have shown them to be highly protective against severe illness, hospitalization, and death. In comparison with fully vaccinated people, the CDC found that those who were unvaccinated were from 5 to nearly 30 times more likely to become either infected or hospitalized. There has nonetheless been some vaccine hesitancy for various reasons, although side effects are rare.

There have also been numerous reports that unvaccinated COVID-19 patients have strained the capacity of hospitals throughout the country, forcing many to turn away patients with life-threatening diseases.

The federal government initially responded to the COVID-19 pandemic in the country with various declarations of emergency, some of which led to travel and entry restrictions and the formation of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

As the pandemic progressed in the U.S. and globally, the US government began issuing recommendations regarding the response by state and local governments, as well as social distancing measures and workplace hazard controls. State governments play a primary role in adopting policies to address the pandemic.

Following the closure of most businesses throughout a number of US states, President Donald Trump announced the mobilization of the National Guard in the most affected areas.

Related posts