Trump Administration Sidelining CDC, USAID In COVID-19 Pandemic Response, Experts, Diplomats Say

The Hill: Health experts pushed to side at Trump briefings
“Top public health officials have been pushed to the background at President Trump’s daily coronavirus briefings this week. As the number of cases and deaths from the virus in the U.S. mounts, Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx have been less visible during what have increasingly become Trump-centric briefings in prime time…” (Samuels/Chalfont, 4/15).

POLITICO: The virus-fighting agency Trump gutted (it’s not the WHO)
“Donald Trump may be threatening to defund the World Health Organization, the United Nations agency he accuses of ‘severely mismanaging’ the coronavirus epidemic. But diplomats and public health experts at the WHO and elsewhere say the U.S. president has already gutted the agency that has traditionally taken the lead in battling global pandemics: the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention…” (Wheaton et al., 4/15).

POLITICO: Trump hobbles foreign aid as coronavirus rips around the world
“Earlier this week, a group of officials with USAID, an agency on the front lines of the rapidly escalating global battle against the coronavirus, found themselves in an increasingly bizarre conversation with some of their colleagues inside the Trump administration. The officials wanted to know if they could tell America’s longtime global health partners, like the World Health Organization, the international Red Cross, and UNICEF, that they were allowed to use U.S. funds to buy coronavirus test kits and certain chemicals. But they couldn’t get a clear answer to their question. According to interviews with more than half a dozen current and former USAID officials as well as other people familiar with the agency, the baffling exchange is indicative of how many USAID staffers say they feel frozen as the virus rips through poor countries such as Pakistan and Ecuador. Instead of clear guidance from the Trump administration’s upper echelons, they are getting mixed signals on whether to push or hold back, wasting critical time that could be used to fight the outbreak…” (Toosi, 4/15).