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New emails procured by a watchdog organization suggest that the Biden administration’s top health officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) acted without proper data when setting COVID guidance, including on the reopening of schools.
The documents, which were obtained by Americans for Public Trust through the Freedom of Information Act revealed “the CDC’s withholding of large portions of COVID data to the public along with the blatant lack of data dictating the CDC and Biden Administration’s COVID mandates,” according to a news release from the non-profit, non-partisan organization.
“The CDC was even warned by senior public health officials including Dr. Anthony Fauci, that the COVID measures were being formed on ‘decades-old research.’ This reckless behavior poses the question of how much the CDC and the Biden Administration allowed politics to influence COVID policy,” the watchdog wrote.
Americans for Public Trust executive director Caitlin Sutherland told Fox News, “These emails show the CDC forged ahead and crafted pandemic policy based on poor data – even after they’ve been warned old and out-of-date research was being used to support their guidelines.”
“First, the CDC allowed teachers’ unions to write the guidance on school reopenings, and now we just learned the CDC isn’t publishing large portions of the COVID data it collects,” she said.
This is not the first time that @CDCgov has been caught in disarray. From teachers union influence to withholding data from the public, it begs the question: how much are they allowing politics to influence policy?https://t.co/NnsXTZNwnq pic.twitter.com/Hvy8mtisPJ
— Americans for Public Trust (@apublictrust) March 25, 2022
According to Fox News:
The government didn’t have data concerning learning loss in various communities, emails show just one day before the CDC issued school reopening guidance.
“We don’t have federally collected data on what is happening inside schools,” Donna Harris-Aikens, deputy chief of staff at the Department of Education, said during a Feb. 11, 2021, briefing between CDC and department officials and Rep. Bobby Scott, a Virginia Democrat.
An unnamed staffer had asked whether a study had been considered regarding learning loss, noting that “[l]earning loss in black and Latino communities is profound.
“There are private vendors examining issue but believe there is an important role for the federal govt. to robustly collect this data for the entire country,” she added, according to a transcript of the meeting contained within the emails provided to Fox News. “The CDC issued school reopening guidance the day after the meeting.”
In one email, from Dr. Fauci to Dr. Walensky, the longtime head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases alerted her to a STAT article that he said she should be aware of.
The article was entitled “New CDC school guidelines fail to ‘follow the science’ with the sentence, “two core pillars of the [CDC] guidelines — that schools should decide whether to open based on community transmission and that students should strive to be spaced 6 feet apart — aren’t supported by science,” highlighted by Fauci.
Another section highlighted by Fauci included schools that were already open for in-person instruction without any issue as well as the CDC’s reliance on dated research for social distancing recommendations.
“The CDC guidelines say that schools should try to keep kids 6 feet apart. This guidance, however, appears to be based on decades-old research on the travel distance of large respiratory droplets,” read the highlighted area.
Also highlighted by Fauci is the sentence, “Rather than moving the ball forward on Biden’s goal of getting elementary and middle schools reopened as soon as possible, the new CDC guidelines will work to provide political cover for interest groups and districts that want to delay in-person school,” an obvious reference to teacher’s unions.
The CDC appears to be aware of the shortcomings, according to a report by Politico detailing an agency email that was obtained by the outlet.
“In the March 16 email, Dan Jernigan, the CDC’s deputy director for Public Health Science and Surveillance, points his staff to a letter from Director Rochelle Walensky on the same day. Her note asked agency employees ‘to drive the success of the Data Modernization Initiative’’ — a CDC plan to strengthen the health surveillance infrastructure it relies upon,” Politico noted.
“Among the things Dr. Walensky shared in her letter, are five big commitments that will push us to work more collaboratively by moving from a mindset of ‘my data’ to ‘our data,’” reads the email, according to the outlet.
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