April 16, 2020: President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, as Dr. Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus response coordinator, listens. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

The Trump Administration on Thursday waived CDC guidelines for reopening the economy. The 17-page document was to be published last Friday. Agency scientists claim they were told it “would never see the light of day,” according to the Associated Press. The announcement has caused concern that the administration is sidelining scientific experts in order to improve the economy.

Members of the White House coronavirus task force viewed the new guidelines as a possible hindrance to reopening the economy quickly, according to the New York Times. Some federal agencies, including the Department of Labor and the Office of Civil Rights within the Department of Health and Human Services, said the regulations would hurt businesses and the economy.

The CDC report goes into more detail than the White House’s “Opening Up America Again” plan, which calls for state and local governments to follow federal and local regulations when considering reopening. 

According to CNN, an administration official alleged CDC leadership had not seen the document prior to it being disclosed to the public. The document had initially been returned for revisions because it was too specific with its directives and did not follow the phases set out by the Trump administration task force. The revisions were not returned before the document was leaked.

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

Report: White House shelves detailed new CDC guidance for businesses on reopening – HotAir – 5/7/2020
Let’s lift the lockdowns, but let’s also make sure the public has accurate, up-to-date daily information from public health experts about the extent of the threat. People can make their own decisions about whether to start shopping again. We shouldn’t force workers into unemployment by shuttering their businesses and we shouldn’t deceive consumers into believing that conditions are safer than they really are.

Trump Admin Muzzles CDC’s Guidelines On Reopening State And Local Economies – Talking Points Memo – 5/7/2020
In it, the CDC reportedly lays out detailed recommendations on safely reopening churches, schools, restaurants and other establishments that hold many people at once. But according to the Associated Press, the administration told CDC scientists that the guide “would never see the light of day.” An unnamed source told the AP that White House officials see such guidance as a “slippery slope” given that COVID-19 does not impact every area of the U.S. equally.

EXCLUSIVE: ‘CDC Leadership Never Cleared’ — White House Task Force Rejects AP Report On Shelved Reopening Guidance – The Daily Caller – 5/7/2020
Officials on the White House coronavirus task force and senior Trump administration officials are pushing back on an Associated Press article published Thursday accusing the White House of shelving new reopening guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC). Officials told the Daily Caller that the guidelines in question, a 17-page document, were not cleared for public dissemination by CDC leadership, but are still being provided to states requesting assistance in reopening.

Read the CDC Coronavirus Document the White House Didn’t Want You to See – The Daily Beast – 5/7/2020
When the nation’s most-respected infectious-disease investigators take the time to write down some advice as the president rushes to reopen the country during a raging pandemic, it seems only sensible that you’d listen very carefully to what they have to say. But, according to a report from the Associated Press, the White House decided to block the publication of this 17-page document from a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention team. It lays out exactly what measures restaurants, schools, child-care facilities, and other public places should take if they decide to reopen their doors in the coming weeks.

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

Richard Stengel on Twitter, 5/7/2020: Reasons why CDC guidance was shelved:
1. Guidelines say states should not reopen while their Covid cases are increasing.
2. Trump admin wants states to reopen regardless.
3. White House does not want to be accountable, and guidelines would make them so.

Ben Pershing on Twitter, 5/7/2020: The WH asked the CDC to revise a draft plan for schools, churches and businesses to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic. The CDC presented its initial plan to the task force about two weeks ago, and hasn’t yet submitted a rewrite.

David Axelrod on Twitter, 5/7/2020: The WH is suppressing guidance to state and local leaders from the scientists and public health experts at the CDC about how to safely re-open their communities. The deaths that result will be on the hands of the @POTUS.

Yamiche Alcindor on Twitter, 5/7/2020: WH task force official pushing back tells me, “Issuing overly specific instructions—that CDC leadership never cleared—for how various types of businesses open up would be overly prescriptive and broad for the various circumstances states are experiencing throughout the country.”

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