Top U.S. Health Officials In Background As Trump’s COVID-19 Response Shifts; Coronavirus Task Force Announces 5 New Members; White House Adviser Publicly Criticizes CDC

The Guardian: Trump’s top health officials seen but not heard as coronavirus focus shifts
“After disappearing for more than a week, Donald Trump’s top health officials tasked with combatting the U.S.’s worsening coronavirus outbreak appeared with the president during a White House press conference on Friday. Drs. Deborah Birx and Anthony Fauci, two of the nation’s top infectious disease experts, stood behind Trump as he and members of the White House coronavirus taskforce, including the defense secretary, Mark Esper, and health and human services secretary, Alex Azar, provided updates on vaccine development. The doctors were two of only a few participants to wear masks. They did not speak…” (Evelyn, 5/16).

The Hill: White House adds new members to coronavirus task force
“The White House on Friday added five new members to the coronavirus task force, signaling a new focus on reopening the economy and developing vaccines. The additions, announced by Vice President Pence, include Labor Secretary Gene Scalia, National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. They also added Peter Marks, director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research at the Food and Drug Administration, and Thomas Engels, administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration…” (Chalfant, 5/15).

Washington Post: White House tensions with CDC spill into public view as top Trump adviser criticizes agency response
“Tensions between the White House and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spilled out into public view on Sunday as a top adviser to President Trump criticized the public health agency’s response to the novel coronavirus pandemic. The comments by White House trade adviser Peter Navarro are the latest signal of how the Trump administration has sought to sideline the CDC. The agency typically plays the lead role in public health crises, but in recent weeks it’s had its draft guidance for reopening held up by the White House, leaving states and localities to largely fend for themselves…” (Sonmez et al., 5/17).

Additional coverage of the Trump administration’s pandemic response is available from Axios, CNN, POLITICO, and Roll Call.

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