Trump Counters Testimony Of His CDC Director On Vaccines, Masks
CDC Director Robert Redfield told senators Wednesday that a coronavirus vaccine would not be widely available until the next summer or fall and that masks are an effective tool to combat spread. At a press conference hours later, President Donald Trump contradicted both of those statements, calling Redfield "confused."
Trump Disputes Health Officials, Sees Mass Vaccinations Soon
Openly contradicting the government’s top health experts, President Donald Trump predicted Wednesday that a safe and effective vaccine against the coronavirus could be ready as early as next month and in mass distribution soon after, undermining the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and calling him “confused” in projecting a longer time frame. Trump also disagreed with Dr. Robert Redfield about the effectiveness of protective masks — which the president recommends but almost never wears — and said he’d telephoned Redfield to tell him so. (Perrone, Alonso-Zaldivar and Stobbe, 9/16)
Trump Says CDC Director Robert Redfield 'Confused' About Coronavirus Vaccine, Mask Efficacy. Redfield Responded.
Dr. Robert Redfield told a Senate panel on Wednesday that a limited supply of coronavirus vaccine may be available between November and December, but that it was unlikely to be available to the general public until the summer or fall of next year. His remarks contradicted Trump, who has said a vaccine could be available by the end of the year, perhaps by the Nov. 3 election. Redfield also testified that wearing a face mask might offer more protection against the spread of coronavirus than a vaccine. (Collins and Jackson, 9/16)
Contradicting The CDC, Trump Says COVID-19 Vaccine Could Be Ready By End Of Year
When asked why his message on a vaccine timeline and the efficacy of masks differed so profoundly from the CDC director's, Trump said that Redfield had "made a mistake" and "misunderstood" the questions. "He's contradicting himself," Trump said of Redfield. "I think he misunderstood the questions. ... But I'm telling you, here's the bottom line: Distribution is going to be very rapid. He may not know that. Maybe he's not aware of that. And maybe he's not dealing with the military, etc., like I do. Distribution is going to be very rapid, and the vaccine's going to be very powerful." (9/16)
Trump Refutes CDC's Redfield Vaccine Timeline: 'I Believe He Was Confused'
Trump also refuted Redfield’s statements that wearing a mask may be more important than a potential vaccine because there’s clear scientific evidence they work. "I might even go so far as to say that this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against Covid than when I take a Covid vaccine,” Redfield said, holding up his face mask before the Senate panel. Trump said he spoke to Redfield afterwards and thinks the CDC director could have confused the question and answered "incorrectly." "I think maybe he misunderstood it," Trump said, adding that "the mask is a mixed bag." (Schultz, 9/16)
The New York Times:
Trump Scorns His Own Scientists Over Virus Data
The sharply divergent messages further undercut any effort to forge a coherent response to the virus that the United Nations secretary general on Wednesday called the “No. 1 global security threat in our world today.” With Mr. Trump saying one thing and his health advisers saying another, many Americans have been left to figure out on their own whom to believe, with past polls showing that they have more faith in the experts than their president. The public scolding of Dr. Redfield was only the latest but perhaps the starkest instance when the president has rejected not just the policy advice of his public health officials but the facts and information that they provided. Public health officials are in strong agreement about the value of masks even as Mr. Trump generally refuses to wear one, mocks his opponent for doing so and twice in the past two days questioned their utility based on the advice of restaurant waiters. (Baker, 9/16)
Trump Contradicts CDC Director On Vaccine, Masks: 'He Was Confused'
On Twitter late on Wednesday, Redfield said he believed “100%” in the importance of a vaccine. “A COVID-19 vaccine is the thing that will get Americans back to normal everyday life,” he said. Despite quibbling with Redfield, Trump said he retained confidence in his performance at the CDC. (Mishra, O'Donnell and Alper, 9/16)
More from health officials' Senate testimony —
The Washington Post:
Top Health Official Says States Need About $6 Billion From Congress To Distribute Coronavirus Vaccine
Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told a Senate panel that his agency, which is playing a lead role in vaccine distribution, does not have the critical funds that states need for the distribution, which will take place in phases. ... The CDC has about $600 million in dwindling relief money, but states urgently need additional resources, Redfield said, responding to questions from Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), who chairs the Senate appropriations subcommittee on Labor, Health and Education. (Farzan and Noack, 9/17)
Top Health Officials Warn America Won’t Return To Normal Soon
The country's recent progress against Covid-19 could be short-lived if Americans do not continue to take precautions like mask wearing and social distancing, HHS testing czar Brett Giroir said Wednesday. The number of new infections has decreased nationwide by 48 percent following a spike beginning around Memorial Day, while the number of coronavirus patients in intensive care units has dropped by 62 percent and deaths have fallen 33 percent over the same period, Giroir said during a Senate hearing. (Lim, 9/16)
CDC Is Developing New Coronavirus Testing Guidance For Screening At Schools, Businesses
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is developing new guidance on how to deploy coronavirus tests for screening purposes that could help reopen schools, businesses and entertainment venues, Director Dr. Robert Redfield said Wednesday. Testing has so far been used in the United States mostly to diagnose people who are sick or have been exposed to someone with a confirmed Covid-19 case. Screening would test virtually everyone in a given community, looking for potentially infectious people. (Feuer, 9/16)