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New reports show White House politicking trumps science in telling coronavirus decisions

September 18, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

WASHINGTON, DC JANUARY 9: U.S. President Donald Trump looks on during an event to unveil significant changes to the National Environmental Policy Act, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on January 9, 2020 in Washington, DC. The changes to the nations landmark environmental law would make it easier for federal agencies to approve infrastructure projects without considering climate change. President Trump also took several questions from reporters, including questions of Iran and impeachment. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

A series of new revelations about the federal government's coronavirus response could reinforce concerns about whether the Trump administration's political motives were a higher priority than the health of Americans.

Washington (CNN)A series of new revelations about the federal government's coronavirus response could reinforce concerns about whether the Trump administration's political motives were a higher priority than the health of Americans.

The New York Times reported Thursday that a US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendation narrowing the scope of who should get tested for coronavirus was not written by CDC scientists, but "dropped" into the CDC's public-facing website by the Department of Health and Human Services.

And The Washington Post recently revealed that this past spring, the US Postal Service and HHS were working on a plan to send masks to heavily infected areas and eventually nationwide.

The new reports suggest President Donald Trump's comments to journalist Bob Woodward in the early stages of the pandemic in the US trickled down to the different agencies responsible to the federal government's coronavirus response -- that despite knowing the coronavirus was "deadly stuff," Trump "wanted to always play it down. "

But federal health officials have maintained that they have not been told to slow down coronavirus testing.

The USPS and HHS, according to the Post, had a plan this spring to begin distributing face masks nationwide by first targeting shipments to the hardest hit areas of the country.

But the White House scrapped the plan, instead opting for an HHS program, Project America Strong, to distribute "reusable cotton face masks to critical infrastructure sectors, companies, healthcare facilities, and faith-based and community organizations across the country. "

One administration official told the Post: "There was concern from some in the White House Domestic Policy Council and the office of the vice president that households receiving masks might create concern or panic. "

"If those masks had gone out, and you look at the calculations, you model this on other countries, you see what has happened, and it seems like maybe 80% of the people who died could have been saved," Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN's chief medical correspondent, told "New Day" in response to the Post's report.

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