Recommendations to several federal agencies for undoing damage to scientific integrity are in the new resource “Restoring Science, Protecting the Public: Recommendations for Federal Agencies in the Next Presidential Term.”
The Trump administration’s attacks on the science and scientists we need to control COVID-19’s toll have been so frequent that it’s easy to become numb to them. But news of Trump administration interference with CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports is still a horrible shock.
Recently, public health experts and supporters have issued several letters to the Trump administration urging it to do a better job using evidence, data, and scientific experts to control coronavirus spread.
HHS now requires hospitals to report their COVID-19 data to a new database managed by a private company, instead of to CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network. Public health leaders are alarmed at the shift, which has implications for access to data, transparency, and public trust.
Instead of addressing very reasonable concerns, President Trump and Vice President Pence doubled down on denial of just how severe the situation is, and pushed for schools to reopen regardless of conditions.
Restoring Science, Protecting the Public: 43 Steps for the Next Presidential Term is a resource for presidential campaigns and transition teams, endorsed by a wide range of public health, environmental, good-government, consumer, and human and civil rights organizations.
After issuing a supplemental proposal that dramatically expands the scope of its science-restriction rule, EPA limited public opportunities to comment. The Union of Concerned Scientists held a virtual public hearing, which featured a long list of comments on the rule’s problems.
As we face this global threat, the U.S. is fortunate to have many skilled and dedicated healthcare, emergency response, scientific, and public health workers addressing it. However, our ability to respond appropriately is severely hampered by an administration that disregards science and scientists and appears to put political considerations above public health.