The Trump administration continues politicizing medical science to the likely detriment of the public’s health. A reasoned, evidenced-based federal response to the COVID-19 emergency is precisely the opposite of what the White House has engaged in over the past few days:
- A renewed assault on the reputation of the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci.
- An administration order that cuts the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) out of the loop for data on hospitalized coronavirus patients.
Both developments signal a stepped-up campaign to ignore, discredit, or undermine scientific expertise, undertaken solely for political purposes, which threatens the right to health of all people who live in the United States.
“The White House’s public casting of doubt on Dr. Anthony Fauci is alarming and gravely detrimental to the American people as they fight this virus,” said Ranit Mishori, MD, MHS, senior medical advisor at Physicians for Human Rights.
Additionally, the order instructing hospitals to deliver coronavirus patient data directly to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), bypassing the CDC, “gives the administration an opportunity to distort and politicize scientific data to fit its own political agenda, rather than responding to science,” said Mishori.
“The politicization of science and the muzzling of scientists have contributed to an overall U.S. failure to respond quickly and adequately to the pandemic, leading to devastating cases of illness and death which may have been preventable. If there are deficiencies in the way the CDC collects and manages public health data, they should be addressed. But locking out the premier public health agency in the United States will only weaken health crisis planning and prevention.
“This administration has a dangerous track record of ignoring science-driven recommendations instead of championing and implementing them, leaving the United States without any semblance of a federal response plan to this pandemic. Trump and his advisers must stop marginalizing the CDC and medical experts in order to properly manage the resources necessary to track, test, treat, and control this lethal virus.”
COVID-19 has already claimed almost 140,000 lives in the United States – more than anywhere else in the world.
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is a New York-based advocacy organization that uses science and medicine to prevent mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. Learn more here.