23 October 2020 Vol 370, Issue 6515
How CDC foundered
By Charles Piller
Science23 Oct 2020 : 396 Restricted Access
The agency’s missteps were multiplied by political interference.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has created some of its own problems during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as issuing flawed tests in February and confusing guidance on aerosol transmission. But the agency’s compromised standing derives mostly from attacks by President Donald Trump and his surrogates, often including Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House Coronavirus Task Force. Trump and his appointees have prevented CDC leaders from speaking basic truths and replaced its widely praised guidelines for reopening schools and the economy with weaker ones. The result has been an agency that has lost its moorings during a public health crisis.