Four former directors of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have written that they have never seen science be so influenced by politics, in an op-ed published Wednesday in The Washington Post.
“We cannot recall over our collective tenure a single time when political pressure led to a change in the interpretation of science,” wrote Drs. Tom Frieden, Jeffrey Koplan, David Satcher and Richard Besser, who collectively ran the CDC for more than 15 years.
One of the roles of the CDC is to provide sound public health guidance, which is essential during a pandemic.
Speaking about the school reopening guidelines from the CDC, the former directors said that while it is not unusual for guidelines to be altered or changed after going through a clearance process, it is “extraordinary for guidelines to be undermined after their release.”
Guidelines should only be changed for new information and science, not because of politics, they said.
Writing about reopening schools and businesses amid a worsening pandemic, they said that public health experts face two opponents, “Covid-19, but also political leaders and others attempting to undermine the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”
Remember: The President, against the advice of some of the nation's top health officials, has repeatedly called for schools to reopen as coronavirus cases surge across the country.
On Wednesday, while Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, warned that the country has to maintain control over the pandemic to get children back to school in the fall, Trump slammed the CDC's existing guidelines.
He tweeted they were "very tough" and "expensive," while in another tweet threatened to cut off school funding if they resisted opening, though the federal government's ability to do so is limited.