May 15, 2020

An unusual editorial in The Lancet, the prestigious medical journal, calls for Americans to revive the CDC and replace Trump in the presidential election:

The Trump administration's further erosion of the CDC will harm global cooperation in science and public health, as it is trying to do by defunding WHO. A strong CDC is needed to respond to public health threats, both domestic and international, and to help prevent the next inevitable pandemic. Americans must put a president in the White House come January, 2021, who will understand that public health should not be guided by partisan politics.

New Day's John Berman talked about the "scathing" announcement with NYT reporter Maggie Haberman.

"The Lancet writes, 'The Trump administration further chipped away at the CDC's capacity to combat infectious diseases. CDC staff in China were cut back with the last remaining CDC officer recalled home from the China CDC in July, 2019, leaving an intelligence vacuum when COVID-19 began to emerge.' It's a scathing assessment of the administration's response, particularly how the CDC has been marginalized," he said to Haberman.

"This is something in your own reporting, this is something you've picked up and it's very real."

"That's right. Look, there is a lot of tension between the White House and the CDC. Not everybody who's on the task force, but a number of folks. They made complaints about how the CDC is run. The CDC result, whether these complaints were fair or not, the CDC has not been an empowered partner in this effort for some time," Haberman said.

"Some of this goes back to the failed effort to develop an early test to detect the coronavirus in the U.S., but I don't think I have ever heard of such a thing from the medical journal. it's stunning. But I do think that there is a concern among folks who are focused on public health, experts in the field, doctors and scientists, that the president is increasingly disregarding what he is hearing from his own public health folks in favor of the politics around his re-election, and I really think that that editorial speaks to that."

Berman talked about the call to elect a replacement for Trump, calling it "stunning."

"First of all, you're absolutely right. In medicine, we try to focus on the science and keep politics out of it, but I think a lot of us in infectious disease and epidemiology, virology are shocked what we've seen throughout the process how scientific data, research, et cetera, has been taken over by partisan politics," Dr. Suraj Saggar responded.

"So I think The Lancet, equivalent of the New England Journal, made an unprecedented statement politically about the shape and the way things are happening in the United States."

"If you want an example of the type of thing I imagine the writers at the Lancet saw, it was the president's comments overnight, or yesterday, I should say, about testing, and about the number of cases in the United States. Let's listen to that," Berman said.

It could be the testings, frankly -- overrated. Maybe it is overrated. We have more cases than anybody in the world. But why? Because we do more testing. When you test you have a case. When you test you find something is wrong. With people. If we didn't do any testing, we would have very few cases.

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