5/16/2020 — 

WASHINGTON, DC -- After the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finally posted a vastly scaled down version of its guidance for safely reopening schools, businesses, and other community organizations, U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) is calling on the Trump Administration to release the CDC’s full, uncensored report that was submitted to the White House last month.

Senator Reed is alarmed by the Trump Administration’s attempt to bury the CDC’s detailed, expert recommendations that were designed to advise states, communities, organizations, and individuals about safely reopening.  Reed wants the American public to be able to see the full, unredacted recommendations for themselves.

“I am concerned that shelving this report could undermine efforts to contain COVID-19 and safely reopen.  This was supposed to be a detailed roadmap with flowcharts and tools to help employers, educators, and local leaders.  Businesses, schools, and local officials need to hear from experts.  The White House decision is just another example of this Administration trying to minimize and avoid the situation.  This cynical move is unhealthy, could put people at elevated risk, and could increase the likelihood of a second wave,” said Senator Reed.  “The American people paid for these reports so we should let them see both documents.  Then, they can reach their own conclusions and decide what is best for their safety and the well-being of their loved ones.

According to the Associated Press, top White House officials shelved the CDC report containing step-by-step advice to local authorities on how and when to reopen restaurants and other public places during the ongoing pandemic.  The AP obtained and published 17 pages of the report, titled “Guidance for Implementing the Opening Up America Again Framework,” but that would still leave over 40 pages missing from what has been reported to be a 63-page document.  Instead, the CDC posted six one-page “decision tool” documents for schools, workplaces, camps, child care centers, mass transit systems, and bars and restaurants. 

“All along the President has tried to avoid the reality that this is a national emergency that requires national action.  First, it would be gone in a day.  Then it was China’s fault.  Then it was we don’t need to help cities and states.  This pattern has to end and releasing the CDC recommendations is just common sense,” said Reed.

With a workforce of about 11,000 people, the CDC employs some of the world’s foremost disease experts and researchers, including microbiologists, pathologists, and other scientists responsible for developing vaccines and diagnostic tests.  The CDC advises doctors and public health professionals on issues such as treatment and transmission and helps educate the public on preventing infectious disease.

President Trump has repeatedly sought to cut the CDC’s budget.  Every one of President Trump’s annual budget proposals has called for significant cuts to CDC funding.  And in the President's 2021 budget proposal, which was submitted 11 days after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency, the Trump Administration proposed cutting Health and Human Services (HHS) funding by $9.5 billion, including a 15 percent cut of $1.2 billion to the CDC and a $35 million decrease to the Infectious Diseases Rapid Response Reserve Fund's annual contribution.

“COVID-19 is a biological infectious disease, but these repeated unforced errors by the Trump Administration to contain it are man-made.  There is no reason America should be lagging so far behind other nations in effective response.  We have the tools to combat and contain COVID-19.  What is acutely missing is a transparent, well-coordinated national response.  Instead of just telling states ‘you’re on your own,’ I urge President Trump to step up and outline a unified strategy and work with Congress and governors to execute it,” concluded Reed.