Political appointees from the U.S. Department of Human and Health Services (HHS) have been granted the right to review the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) weekly COVID-19 reports.

These efforts can be seen as attempts to intimidate CDC officials into watering down their communication with health professionals. According to Politico, CDC Director Robert Redfield and others received emails from HHS officials, complaining that the center’s updates would undermine President Donald Trump‘s “optimistic” messages to the public.

The CDC’s reports are drafted by scientists and then distributed, so professionals and the public know how the virus spreads and who is at risk. However, despite CDC’s previous efforts in resisting political pressure, the center has been more willing to compromise and change its language in scientific reports.

New HHS spokesman Michael Caputo, someone with no public health or scientific background, has increasingly tailored reports to Trump’s messages or blatantly stopped the reporting as a whole. Caputo’s team reasoned that the CDC reports need alterations because it “wrongly inflated” the risks of COVID-19.

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Caputo’s scientific advisor Paul Alexander claimed, “CDC to me appears to be writing hit pieces on the administration. CDC tried to report as if once kids get together, there will be spread and this will impact school re-opening…Very misleading by CDC and shame on them. Their aim is clear.”

Alexander has asked for a halt of the COVID-19 reports. “The reports must be read by someone outside of CDC like myself, and we cannot allow the reporting to go on as it has been, for it is outrageous.” Alexander said. “Its lunacy. Nothing to go out unless I read and agree with the findings how they CDC, wrote it and I tweak it to ensure it is fair and balanced and complete.”.

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