Trump Wears Mask In Public For First Time; FDA Rebuffs Chinese Claim Coronavirus Found In Food Shipments; Trump Administration Sidelines Fauci, CDC; GOP Lawmakers Question WHO Pandemic Timeline

AP: Trump wears mask in public for first time during pandemic
“President Donald Trump wore a mask during a visit to a military hospital on Saturday, the first time the president has been seen in public with the type of facial covering recommended by health officials as a precaution against spreading or becoming infected by the novel coronavirus. … Trump was wearing a mask in Walter Reed’s hallway as he began his visit. He was not wearing one when he stepped off the helicopter at the facility. … Trump … has declined to wear a mask at news conferences, coronavirus task force updates, rallies and other public events. People close to him have told the Associated Press that the president feared a mask would make him look weak and was concerned that it shifted focus to the public health crisis rather than the economic recovery. They spoke on condition of anonymity to describe private matters…” (Lemire, 7/12).

Bloomberg: U.S. Once Again Rebuffs China’s Attempt to Link Virus to Food
“China is making further moves to try to link the spread of coronavirus and food shipments. And yet again, U.S. officials are rebuffing the attempt, emphasizing what’s considered to be the established science on the matter — that no proof of that link exists. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a fresh statement on the matter after China said samples of imported shrimp tested positive for the virus. … China has been stirring the pot over whether the pathogen can spread through food or frozen products, drawing the connection against the advice of global health experts and authorities…” (Hirtzer/Dorning, 7/10).

The Hill: GOP lawmakers raise questions about WHO’s coronavirus timeline
“A group of House Republicans is raising questions about an apparent discrepancy between the World Health Organization’s (WHO) English- and Chinese-language websites, saying the global health body has been slow to provide updates for non-English speakers about early reports on the coronavirus. … The WHO updated the English version of its website with the information on June 29, but Voice of America first reported that the U.N. body’s official Chinese website did not reflect the changes…” (Brufke, 7/11).

STAT: The CDC has always been an apolitical island. That’s left it defenseless against Trump
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the country’s top public health agency, is being kicked around by the White House. And it doesn’t have much power to kick back. As President Trump spars with nearly all of the federal agencies that have a hand in his administration’s much-maligned response to the coronavirus pandemic, he’s been particularly successful at sidelining the CDC…” (Florko, 7/13).

Washington Post: Fauci is sidelined by the White House as he steps up blunt talk on pandemic
“For months, Anthony S. Fauci has played a lead role in America’s coronavirus pandemic, as a diminutive, Brooklyn-accented narrator who has assessed the risk and issued increasingly blunt warnings as the nation’s response has gone badly awry. But as the Trump administration has strayed from the advice of many of its scientists and public health experts, the White House has moved to sideline Fauci, scuttled some of his planned TV appearances and largely kept him out of the Oval Office for more than a month even as coronavirus infections surge in large swaths of the country. In recent days, the 79-year-old scientist and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has found himself directly in the president’s crosshairs…” (Abutaleb et al., 7/11).

Additional coverage of the U.S. government response to the COVID-19 pandemic is available from CNN, New York Times, and Washington Post (2).