Day-Long Email Crash Crippled Federal Health Offices As Coronavirus Was First Gaining Grounds In U.S.
A test of CMS's email crashed the system on Feb. 23, frustrating health officials just as they were trying to negotiate the first bloom of the coronavirus in the United States. Meanwhile, CDC Director Robert Redfield counters claims that closing the borders would help prevent the spread of the virus.
Exclusive: Email Crash Impeded HHS Response To Coronavirus
As health department officials worked quickly to negotiate an emergency funding package to fight the spreading coronavirus outbreak on Feb. 23, they came to a frustrating realization: Their email system had crashed. The outage in the Health and Human Services secretary’s office stretched on much of the day, with some messages delayed up to 11 hours, creating frustration and slowing the Trump administration’s coronavirus response. (Diamond, 3/10)
CDC Director Breaks With Trump On Claim That Border Wall Will Help Stop Coronavirus
Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Tuesday he was unaware of any indication from his agency that physical barriers along America’s borders would help halt the spread of the coronavirus in the U.S. — contradicting an assertion President Donald Trump made earlier in the day. Appearing before House lawmakers to testify about the public health crisis and the White House’s budget request for his agency, Redfield was asked by Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) whether the CDC’s recommendations for combating the coronavirus addressed whether “structural barriers” at the borders “would be of any use in mitigating” the growing outbreak. (Forgey, 3/10)
And in other news about the government —
The Washington Post:
Federal Government Telework Could Become More Widespread To Limit Coronavirus Outbreak
The Trump administration is racing to develop contingency plans that would allow hundreds of thousands of employees to work remotely full time, an extreme scenario to limit the coronavirus that would test whether the government can carry out its mission from home offices and kitchen tables. The Office of Personnel Management, which oversees policy for the workforce of 2.1 million, has urged agency heads in recent days to “immediately review” their telework policies, sign paperwork with employees laying out their duties, issue laptops and grant access to computer networks. (Rein, 3/10)
The Wall Street Journal:
Coronavirus Cancels Vote At Federal Regulator
A federal regulator canceled a planned public vote this week in which officials were expected to give some companies relief from audit requirements after an employee was referred for novel coronavirus testing. The Securities and Exchange Commission’s move highlights a new front in the growing spectrum of potential impacts from the coronavirus: the possibility that its spread in the nation’s capital could slow down routine government policy-making. (Kiernan, 3/10)