July 6, 2020
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was denied permission by the White House to brief the public about the coronavirus crisis, a source at the agency told Yahoo News.
As a result, the CDC found itself unable to do public briefing for three months—from March 9 through June 12—starting not long after a senior official warned in late February that the virus was likely to hit hard nationwide, Business Insider reports.
As the coronavirus swept across America, it was the White House coronavirus task force led by Vice President Mike Pence, and fronted with increasing frequency by President Donald Trump, that took the lead in briefing the public about the crisis.
Earlier in the year the CDC had given frequent briefings on the pandemic. But then it fell abruptly silent.
A CDC spokesperson, speaking anonymously to Yahoo, confirmed that the agency “slowly but surely took a backseat” to the coronavirus task force.
In a briefing on February 25, Nancy Messonnier, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD), had issued a stark warning about the likely impact of the disease.
“It’s not so much a question of if this will happen anymore but rather more a question of exactly when this will happen,” she said.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report.
A task force member told Yahoo that the CDC was too concerned with its own stature, and an interagency response to the crisis was required. “The CDC feels like they should be in charge of this,” remarked
Research contact: @YahooNews