White House Pauses Testimony Of Infectious Disease Experts, Sidelines CDC In COVID-19 Response, Media Outlets Report; Researchers Say Trump Administration’s Ban On Fetal Tissue Research Hinders Progress

POLITICO: White House pauses testimony for officials handling coronavirus response
“The White House has issued a ‘temporary pause’ on congressional testimony for senior officials involved in the coronavirus response, according to correspondence obtained by POLITICO — a move that has some House Democrats complaining about stonewalling even as they acknowledge the need to give health officials space to manage the crisis. The halt in high-level officials appearing at hearings is slated to last through the end of the month and is intended, according to the March 16 letter, to ensure that the Trump administration is ‘directly focused on executing its day-to-day response to COVID-19’…” (Cheney/Ollstein, 3/18).

Washington Post: CDC, the top U.S. public health agency, is sidelined during coronavirus pandemic
“As the United States enters a critical phase in fighting the coronavirus pandemic, the country’s leading public health agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, appears to be on the sidelines, with its public messages increasingly disrupted or overtaken by the White House. Neither CDC Director Robert Redfield nor Anne Schuchat, the principal deputy director who has played key roles in CDC’s emergency responses stretching back two decades, including the 2009 influenza pandemic, have appeared behind the podium during White House coronavirus task force briefings for more than a week…” (Sun, 3/19).

Washington Post: Trump ban on fetal tissue research blocks coronavirus treatment effort
“A senior scientist at a government biomedical research laboratory has been thwarted in his efforts to conduct experiments on possible treatments for the new coronavirus because of the Trump administration’s restrictions on research with human fetal tissue. The scientist, Kim Hasenkrug, an immunologist at the National Institutes of Health’s Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Montana, has been appealing for nearly a month to top NIH officials, arguing that the pandemic warrants an exemption to a ban imposed last year prohibiting government researchers from using tissue from abortions in their work…” (Goldstein, 3/18).

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