CDC, FDA Prestige Takes Hit After Missteps And Backpedaling
And the reputations of both public health agencies could be further impacted by impressions that they are bowing to political pressure from the White House.
Health Agencies' Credibility At Risk After Week Of Blunders
The credibility of two of the nation’s leading public health agencies was under fire this week after controversial decisions that outside experts said smacked of political pressure from President Donald Trump as he attempts to move past the devastating toll of the coronavirus ahead of the November election. The head of the Food and Drug Administration grossly misstated, then corrected, claims about the lifesaving power of a plasma therapy for COVID-19 authorized by his agency. Then the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention quietly updated its guidelines to suggest fewer Americans need to get tested for coronavirus, sparking outrage from scientists. (Perrone and Alonso-Zaldivar, 8/29)
Local Health Departments Say CDC Testing Change Undermines Their Work
Groups representing local health departments asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Friday to reverse a change to coronavirus testing guidance that they argue would hurt their ability to slow the spread of the disease. The CDC’s testing guidance was quietly updated Monday to say people without symptoms “do not necessarily” need to get tested, even if they’ve been in close contact with a COVID-19 case. (Hellmann, 8/28)
In other administration news —
Birx Says She's Hopeful About Coronavirus Vaccine But Urges People To 'Do The Right Thing Today'
White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said Sunday that she is optimistic about the prospect of a vaccine for COVID-19 being developed by the end of 2020, but cautioned Americans should "do the right thing" until it was released. CNN reports that Birx made the remarks Sunday at an event in Minneapolis, where she explained that it was important for Americans to "do the right thing today, [so that] we go into the fall with much fewer cases.” (Bowden, 8/30)
The New York Times:
Trump Program To Cover Uninsured Covid-19 Patients Falls Short Of Promise
Marilyn Cortez, a retired cafeteria worker in Houston with no health insurance, spent much of July in the hospital with Covid-19. When she finally returned home, she received a $36,000 bill that compounded the stress of her illness. Then someone from the hospital, Houston Methodist, called and told her not to worry — President Trump had paid it.But then another bill arrived, for twice as much. (Goodnough, 8/29)