October 19, 2020

Birx played central role in pressuring CDC to advise school reopening

  • Documents obtained by The New York Times show officials in President Donald Trump’s administration pressured the Centers for Disease Control to relax guidelines for school reopenings earlier this summer. 
  • Dr. Deborah Birx, a physician on the White House Coronavirus Task Force directly took a role in asking the CDC to include documents that undermined the threat of coronavirus to school-aged children in mid-July. 
  • In early July, Trump criticized the CDC for advising schools to not reopen. The CDC later changed course in new guidelines released on July 24. 
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Dr. Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus task coordinator, played a key role in pressuring the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to release guidance for schools to reopen despite surging coronavirus cases earlier this summer, documents obtained by The New York Times showed.

According to a July 19 email obtained by the Times, Birx asked CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield to incorporate a document from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a small agency in the Department of Health and Human Services which suggested that the coronavirus was not a big issue for kids “as background in the introduction section” of CDC guidance on schools reopening.

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