Health officials and scientists working on the Trump administration’s coronavirus response said on Tuesday they were personally offended by the White House’s announcement that it had successfully ended the COVID-19 pandemic – a pandemic which, in fact, is getting worse.
In a statement released Tuesday afternoon, the White House Office for Science and Technology Policy said it viewed “ending the COVID-19 pandemic” as one of President Donald Trump’s main achievements for the first term. The office released a corresponding report listing the Trump administration’s achievements in science and innovation.
“It’s mind-boggling,” an official said of the White House claim that it had ended the pandemic. “There is no world in which anyone can think that [statement] is right. Maybe the president. But I don’t see how even he can believe that. We have over 70,000 new cases every day. “
Four officials working with the White House Coronavirus Task Force told the Daily Beast that they viewed the White House statement as a personal rebuke and a public rebuke of their efforts to try to control the virus.
In the report released on Tuesday, the Office for Science and Technology Policy said: “From the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the administration took decisive steps to engage scientists and medical professionals from universities, industry and government to understand, treat and overcome disease. But officials who work with the task force said the president and his team have often refused to listen to their advice in support of efforts to reopen the country. For more than seven months, they said, they tried to convince the American public to take COVID-19 seriously, arguing that the virus would only start to decline – and death rates would slow – if people listened to their warnings to wear masks, continue social distancing and obey quarantine rules.
Officials described the report as the latest example of the president and his team of advisers refusing to acknowledge that the United States is experiencing a worrying resurgence of the virus. The document, they added, underscored how the White House believes there is nothing more than what can be done to contain the pandemic. As recently reported by The Daily Beast, the Trump team is now focused solely on reducing the death rate by protecting the most vulnerable, namely those in nursing homes.
“We have an explosive number of cases. Death rates will no doubt increase. They live in a parallel universe that has nothing to do with the reality that Americans live in, ”said Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the Obama administration’s Centers for Disease Control. “And this idea that we should let it spread and protect the most vulnerable is a really dangerous mistake. The idea that he [containing the virus] can not be done ignore reality.
More than 225,000 people have died from the virus to date, and the United States now has more cases of COVID-19 per day than during the peak of the virus in the spring. Hospitalizations are also on the rise in several states.
And it could get worse, officials say. Administration officials responsible for responding to the virus say they are working overtime to try to control the growing number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations across the country. An official said they are working 14 hours a day to ensure communities and local hotspot officials continue to implement strict mask and social distancing guidelines. Other officials said they are trying to make sure every state has what it needs to distribute a vaccine when the time comes. Another said they were “exasperated” at trying to manage the White House’s attitude towards the virus while making sure the rest of the administration shared the message that Americans must continue to take action. to prevent the spread of the community.
“The White House operates at a completely different speed than the rest of the health agencies,” a senior administration official said. “They have practically given up on the idea that there is more to do to deal with these new cases that arise. The rest of us still see the threat of these cases as the number one concern. “
The White House statement on Tuesday came after President Trump hosted a new ceremony for Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett. The latest ceremony was described by health experts including Dr Anthony Fauci, the country’s leading infectious disease specialist, as a “super spread event”. Despite the latest West Wing outbreak, the White House still proceeded with the ceremony. The White House declined to answer questions about whether the participants had been tested or whether they were required to wear masks.
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