Conflict Rife Among Trump’s COVID Advisers
Dissension among the White House coronavirus advisers is hampering efforts to fight the pandemic. Much of the blame is placed on Scott Atlas, who advocates for a passive herd immunity response and no masks.
The Washington Post:
Trump’s Den Of Dissent: Inside The White House Task Force As Coronavirus Surges
As summer faded into autumn and the novel coronavirus continued to ravage the nation unabated, Scott Atlas, a neuroradiologist whose commentary on Fox News led President Trump to recruit him to the White House, consolidated his power over the government’s pandemic response. (Yasmeen Abutaleb, Philip Rucker, Josh Dawsey and Robert Costa, 10/19)
White House Puts ‘Politicals’ At CDC To Try To Control Info
The Trump White House has installed two political operatives at the nation’s top public health agency to try to control the information it releases about the coronavirus pandemic as the administration seeks to paint a positive outlook, sometimes at odds with the scientific evidence. The two appointees assigned to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Atlanta headquarters in June have no public health background. They have instead been tasked with keeping an eye on Dr. Robert Redfield, the agency director, as well as scientists, according to a half-dozen CDC and administration officials who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal government affairs. (Dearen, Stobbe and Lardner, 10/16)
Twitter Blocks Tweet From Trump Adviser Downplaying Masks
Twitter blocked a post Sunday from an adviser to President Donald Trump who suggested that masks do not work to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Scott Atlas, who joined the White House in August as a science adviser, had tweeted “Masks work? NO,” and said widespread use of masks is not supported. (Bussewitz, 10/18)
The New York Times:
As The Virus Surges, Stark Differences Over What Is Around The Corner
As the coronavirus continued to surge in many parts of the United States, officials and experts offered starkly different outlooks on Sunday about what was to come and when the situation might improve. Alex Azar, the secretary of Health and Human Services, noted that many people had grown tired of pandemic precautions, and tried to paint an optimistic picture of how much longer they would be needed. (Delkic, Kolata and Tompkins, 10/18)
In updates on Drs. Fauci and Birx —
Who Decides When Vaccine Studies Are Done? Internal Documents Show Fauci Plays A Key Role.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease official, will oversee most of the ongoing COVID-19 vaccine trials in the U.S., but not that of the current front-runner made by Pfizer, documents obtained by ProPublica show. According to a draft charter spelling out how most of the advanced COVID-19 vaccine trials will be monitored, Fauci is the “designated senior representative” of the U.S. government who will be part of the first look at the results. That puts Fauci in the room with the companies — including Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca — in deciding whether the vaccines are ready to seek approval from the Food and Drug Administration. (Arnsdorf, Chen and Gabrielson, 10/16)
Fauci Admits Administration Has Restricted His Media Appearances, Says He's Not Surprised Trump Got COVID
In a wide-ranging 60 Minutes interview, Dr. Anthony Fauci expresses his frustration with a Trump campaign ad; explains why, early in the pandemic, masks were largely recommended for health care workers; and says whether he plans to vote in person. (LaPook, 10/18)
Fauci: Trump ‘Equates Wearing A Mask With Weakness’
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, suggested in a new interview that President Donald Trump is reluctant to cover his face in public amid the coronavirus pandemic because he “equates wearing a mask with weakness.” In an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes” that aired Sunday, Fauci said the president’s frequent refusal to model the personal mitigation measure is “less an anti-science [position] than it’s more a statement.” (Forgey, 10/19)
As Cases Rise, Fauci Says Public Health Measures Are The Way To Slow Spread
As Covid-19 cases continue to soar across the country, the nation's top infectious disease doctor said following public health measures is the way out of the crisis that has hobbled the economy, claimed thousands of lives and sickened millions. Health experts say the predicted fall surge is here, and rising cases across the US appear to bear that out. The US is averaging more than 55,000 new cases a day, and 10 states reported their highest single-day case counts on Friday. (Holcombe, 10/19)
Whatever Happened To Deborah Birx?
Deborah Birx is nowhere to be found at the White House these days. Though she retains the title of coordinator of the White House coronavirus response, Birx has not attended any of President Trump's press briefings on the pandemic since he started them anew in late July, nor was she at a recent event to tout the administration's advances in testing. (Samuels, 10/18)