CDC’s Latest Reversal On COVID-19 Health Information Alarms Experts — “Muzzling Of The CDC”

The CDC has again withdrawn some information they had previously presented on protecting against the spread of COVID-19, and one epidemiologist is speaking out, warning that he fears the Trump Administration is “muzzling” the Centers for Disease Control.

CDC muzzled by Trump administration
[Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images]

Experts have changed their guidance on how to best prevent the spread of COVID-19 multiple times. To a great degree, this is normal. Science, including medical science and epidemiology, change with new information. Accepting new information and making the best choices based on the best information — even if it’s different from what the best information was yesterday — is an important aspect of improving medicine.

However, sometimes there are indications that a change isn’t about medical science, but about politics. In the case of COVID-19, there have been specific concerns as the president has contradicted the experts. Last week, the New York Times reported that certain new guidelines published by the CDC, saying that people who had no symptoms but had been in contact with someone who tested positive for the virus should not be tested — in contradiction of previous recommendations — had not been approved by scientists. Officials said that the Health and Human Services Department had written the update, and published it without the CDC’s review.

Now another change has occurred on the CDC site, and some experts are calling foul. The page on how the virus spreads currently warns that language is being updated.

A draft version of proposed changes to these recommendations was posted in error to the agency’s official website. CDC is currently updating its recommendations regarding airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19). Once this process has been completed, the updated language will be posted.

According to the Washington Post, the withdrawn language was regarding the virus being airborne. The previously updated guidance warned that “droplets and airborne particles can remain suspended in the air and be breathed in by others, and travel distances beyond 6 feet,” and that poorly-ventilated indoor environments increased the risk.

The removal of this information caught the attention of Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding, an epidemiologist and public health scientist. He tweeted his concerns.

Feigl-Ding warned, “the coronavirus is MOST DEFINITELY aerosol and airborne.” He offered links, studies, and evidence supporting that, not only is the virus airborne and carried in aerosol droplets, this has been clear for months.

Recently released tapes show that Donald Trump was attempting to downplay the severity of the virus, and the need for protective efforts, as early as February. More recently, he has said that the scientists don’t know what they’re doing, and has insisted the virus will just disappear. He said last month that he’s not concerned about the spread of the virus at his rallies, because he stays far from the crowd.

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