The CDC wrote a 17-page recommendation on how the nation can re-open safely after the pandemic. Trump wants faster reopening, and his administration SHELVED the report. (It's out anyway, of course.)
May 7, 2020

Donald Trump doesn't understand things like "alarmed civil servants," and "media back-channels."

He does understand when his buddies from the US Chamber of Commerce want zero liability and no OSHA protection for workers during the pandemic.

But here's another thing.

Trump also doesn't understand the iron-clad rule of Monty Python and "The Life of Brian": indicate to people that they can't or shouldn't have something, and they'll fight like mad to get that very thing.

[When the Monty Python movie "Life of Brian" was banned as blasphemous, it's audience grew a hundredfold.]

And now the so-called Trump White House has tried to shelve a seventeen-page report on how the nation should re-open safely and with a minimum amount of DEATH as the COVID pandemic continues.

It's trending this morning on Twitter, the report has been leaked, and CNN International spent two segments on it so far.

The Associated Press has an exclusive on the report.

It was supposed to be published last Friday, but agency scientists were told the guidance “would never see the light of day,” according to a CDC official. The official was not authorized to talk to reporters and spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity.

And... the Associated Press has posted the entire report on that thing called the internet.

How's that working out for you, Donnie?

HALA GORANI, CNN: President Trump will not be adopting its draft guidelines to reopen the country. The 17-page document had been compiled at the request of a member of the president's own coronavirus task force. Nick Valencia is in Atlanta, the home of the CDC. In fact. Nick, this draft document has been under intense scrutiny over the last week or so at the White House. The White House appears not to be willing to follow these guidelines. What is this draft document suggest should be done in order to mitigate the negative effects of the pandemic on public health?

NICK VALENCIA: It has been the focus of intense debate over the course of the last week and according to a senior CDC official it has to do with the debate between the medical and economic advisers to the president. Specifically over recommendations on businesses. According to the senior CDC official, officials for the Department of Labor felt that the CDC recommendations that were drafted left the businesses here in America too vulnerable for -- to be sued by workers who may contract the virus at the workplace. Also, point of contention, the Civil Rights Office of the Health and Human -- HHS here, in the United States, felt that they -- the recommendations were unfairly targeting faith-based organizations, churches, you know, this 17-page draft document we reported it last we can on CNN and it gives recommendations, again, not specific mandatory guidelines, but public health, sound public health advice from medical professionals who spent endless hours gathering this data on the request of the White House task force.

And really quick, ticking through some of the stuff we have, myself and Kevin Liptak have been pouring over this document for the last week:

  • disposable menus, plates, utensils,
  • guidelines for schools, spacing desks six feet apart,
  • canceling nonessential assemblies and churches, asking them to limit large gatherings.

But really according to the CDC source, they feel in their opinion a lot of this has to do over business recommendations and the liability that American businesses may have with these draft documents.

There was a pivot late last night as the White House made it very clear to the CDC they were not going to implement these draft documents.

What the CDC is doing now because they feel as though this is very sound public health advice that should be used, they're trying to go towards state agencies to get these recommendations implemented at the state level, but the White House pushing back saying, really that they were too specific and they can't be applied across the nation.

GORANI: What do the centers -- what does the CDC believe the impact, the effect will be of not following these guidelines on the overall death toll, and the rate of infection in the US?

VALENCIA: Simply put, they're very frank, essentially saying their interpretation is that the White House is telling Americans not only do they have to be okay with workers getting sick, but with American workers dying just so they could have products like meat products. There has been a lot of meetings recently between CEOs from meat plants, what they're doing, there is an agency here under the Department of Labor called OSHA, which is essentially federal inspectors that go into workplaces to make sure worker safety guidelines are being implemented. OSHA for whatever reason has said they are not going to enforce or make these businesses in America enforce CDC recommendations. There is a lot of frustration, anger, this is not surprising, though, to the officials I've been talking to over the course of the last eight weeks. There has been a lot of friction between the CDC and the White House, we heard from White House officials saying they have problems with some of the work output at the CDC. And this official who is intimately involved in these matters saying that at this point, they're used to dealing with the White House that asks them to do things and then chaos ensues. They're giving a very stark and sort of ominous warning that people will die if these recommendations aren't adhered to.

GORANI: Thanks very much. Nick Valencia with the view from the CDC.

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