Thursday, December 1, 2022

Did Trump Get Rid Of Pandemic Team

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Some Personnel Remained In The Trump Administration

Trump Explained Why He Fired The White House Pandemic Team | NowThis

Though the unit was disbanded, not all members of the team left. Some moved to other units in the NSC, like those focused on weapons of mass destruction and international organizations, per The Washington Post.

At the time of the disbanding, National Security Council spokesman Robert Palladino told the Post the Trump administration “remains committed to global health, global health security and biodefense, and will continue to address these issues with the same resolve under the new structure.

After the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic in mid-March, the decision to disband the global health unit received fresh scrutiny. Bolton defended the restructuring on Twitter.

“Claims that streamlining NSC structures impaired our nation’s bio defense are false,” he wrote on March 13. “Global health remained a top NSC priority, and its expert team was critical to effectively handling the 2018-19 Africa Ebola crisis.”

Bolton attributed the attack to partisan politics.

“The angry Left just can’t stop attacking, even in a crisis,” he wrote.

More:Experts say Trump’s decision to disband pandemic team hindered coronavirus response

Even critics of the choice to disband the unit like Beth Cameron, its head under Obama noted that not all pandemic preparedness personnel left the administration.

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Flouting Expert Guidance Leading To White House Coronavirus Outbreak

Disregarding public health guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , the White House hosted what medical experts are calling a coronavirus super spreader event on September 26, 2020, to announce the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. Over 200 people attended the densely packed event, where guests mingled indoors as well as outside, with few wearing masks or physically distancing from one another. According to a White House official, this is where President Trump, along with Senators Mike Lee and Thom Tillis and members of the military, may have become infected with the coronavirus. At least 34 White House staffers and other contacts have been infected, including members of the White House housekeeping staff, as well as White House reporters.

As public health experts have explained throughout the pandemic, contact tracing is essential to stopping the spread of the virus. However, for nearly a week after the president announced that he had contracted the virus, the White House refused to allow the CDC to perform contact tracing , even though the CDC has the federal governments most extensive resources to do so. In the absence of a systematic effort to trace or advise attendees of the White House event, many dispersed across the country, engaging in activities that risked spreading the virus, including visiting public gyms and touring manufacturing facilities.

Other Trump Policies Could Impact The Pandemic

In the background of all of this, the Trump administration has continued to push for several policies that, while not obviously related to the coronavirus, experts caution could have a negative impact on the pandemic.

For one, Trump has continued pushing for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, as well as efforts to reel back Medicaid with work requirements. With the outbreak growing, the USs lack of universal health care has become an even more obvious problem: If people cant get testing, theyre less likely to find out they have Covid-19 and take precautions to avoid spreading the virus. If they cant get treatment in case of complications, theyre more likely to suffer, potentially spread the disease, and die.

The Trump administration seems aware of this problem, working with insurers to eliminate copayments for testing, stop surprise medical billing, and help expand coverage related to the coronavirus. But in many ways, the administration is working against problems that its also helping create by pushing to worsen access to health care.

The pandemic is bringing to the fore the underlying challenges that we have in our health and social support system in the United States, Kates said.

The Trump administration, for its part, appears to understand part of the problem here. He has signed a bill thats providing economic relief to affected workers and Covid-19 patients including paid leave, more food aid, and free testing with more to come.

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As it turns out, the administration cannot actually reassemble such a team “very quickly,” though Trump, still unfamiliar with how much of the executive branch works, may not have known that.

It set the stage for this new argument: Trump dissolved the White House’s pandemic team because he had no idea he might need a pandemic team.

Except, that’s not an especially satisfying answer. The whole point of having a team focused on epidemiological threats is viral outbreaks can happen one never knows when they’ll happen and countries want to be prepared when they do happen.

According to the president, “you can never really think is going to happen,” but the National Security Council’s team existed precisely because officials recognized the possible hazard. Indeed, as the New York Timesnoted overnight that President Barack Obama established the Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense at the National Security Council after the 2014 Ebola outbreak, making clear that some folks were acutely aware of possibilities like these.

It’s as if the president is unfamiliar with the idea of insurance on a conceptual level.

Rumor: If Im Vaccinated Should I Continue To Wear A Mask And Social Distance

Top 12 Things Trump Did to Speed the Pandemic

Fact: Even if youre vaccinated, it is possible that you might still get COVID-19 and pass it on to those who are unvaccinated.

Until experts understand more about how COVID-19 vaccines work in real-world conditions, you should continue to follow CDC recommendations on how to protect yourself and others from getting the virus.

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The Federal Government Is Moving Too Slowly Due To A Lack Of Leadership

When President Trump took office in 2017, the White Houses National Security Council Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense survived the transition intact. Its mission was the same as when I was asked to lead the office, established after the Ebola epidemic of 2014: to do everything possible within the vast powers and resources of the U.S. government to prepare for the next disease outbreak and prevent it from becoming an epidemic or pandemic.

One year later, I was mystified when the White House dissolved the office, leaving the country less prepared for pandemics like covid-19.

The U.S. governments slow and inadequate response to the new coronavirus underscores the need for organized, accountable leadership to prepare for and respond to pandemic threats.

Its impossible to assess the full impact of the 2018 decision to disband the White House office responsible for this work. Biological experts do remain in the White House and in our government. But it is clear that eliminating the office has contributed to the federal governments sluggish domestic response. Whats especially concerning about the absence of this office today is that it was originally set up because a previous epidemic made the need for it quite clear.

Rumor: Fema Is Diverting Covid Funds Towards Climate Change

Fact: FEMA is not diverting COVID-19 funds towards climate change. On January 26, 2020 FEMA announced nearly $1 billion in funds to support the ongoing fight against COVID-19. These funds will be used to support vaccination efforts at the state and local level. A news story on the same day conflated the use of the Disaster Relief Fund for COVID-19 response with the use of the fund for a grant program titled Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities . The BRIC program was announced in August 2020 and provides $500 million for mitigation efforts throughout the nation.

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Redirecting Funding For Personal Protective Equipment To Military Supplies

In March 2020, Congress passed the CARES Act, which allocated $1 billion to the Department of Defense for the purpose of building up the nations supplies of medical equipment to combat Covid-19. Department of Defense officials diverted most of that funding to defense contractors to produce military supplies unrelated to the treatment or prevention of Covid-19, including jet engine parts, body armor, and uniforms. This diversion of funding is part of a pattern of the administration misallocating pandemic relief money.

Rumor: Don’t The Vaccines Work Do They Fail To Prevent Covid

Coronavirus: Trump slams reporter for ‘nasty question’ over pandemic response team

Fact: Rigorous clinical trials have found that the vaccines currently available in the United States are more than 90% effective at preventing COVID-19 and are important tools to stop the pandemic.

Additionally, the COVID-19 vaccines may help protect you from getting severely sick even if you do get COVID-19. The more people who get vaccinated, the closer we get to having most people protected from COVID-19.

Get the vaccine when it is available to you.

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Implementing Extreme Immigration Restrictions Without A Clear Public Health Rationale

The Trump administration has used the pandemic to justify drastic changes to immigration policy. Administration officials have not provided credible explanations for why these measures are necessary to promote public health, suggesting they are more likely aimed at advancing President Trumps longstanding goal of restricting immigration.

In order to justify the suspension of several immigration laws for which immigration hardliners in the administration have long advocated, the president and the secretary of health and human services alleged without evidence that migrants were spreading the coronavirus. These controversial changes include blocking asylum-seekers from entering the United States and violating due process protections by immediately deporting immigrants who cross the southern border without documents. Although claiming to reduce the spread of infection, Customs and Border Protections immediate deportation procedures force migrants into close contact with each other, provide no exceptions to expulsion protocols for health concerns, and do not involve medical screening prior to removal.

Making False Statements About Covid

Throughout the pandemic, President Trump has made repeated false and unsupported statements about Covid-19, contradicting scientific research and the advice of government experts. His statements have caused confusion, sown distrust of government, and politicized commonsense public health measures, making it difficult to control the spread of the coronavirus and stabilize the economy.

As the first coronavirus cases were reported in the United States and top government health officials expressed concern that the virus would spread throughout the country for months, President Trump claimed that the number of infections would soon be down to close to zero and that the virus would disappear “like a miracle.” He has also falsely claimed that the mortality rate for Covid-19 is like that for the flu, that 99 percent of cases are totally harmless, and that the United States has one of the lowest mortality rates in the world. The Trump administration has encouraged state officials to disseminate false information. Vice President Mike Pence told governors to spread the presidents misleading claim that the uptick in coronavirus cases is due to an increase in testing.

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Trump Organization Seeking Benefits From Trump Administration And Foreign Governments

The presidents failure to divest from his business interests has created myriad ethical issues throughout his time in office, including in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic. As the hospitality industry struggles, the Trump Organization has sought relief from both the federal government and from the British and Irish governments the latter for employees wages at the companys golf courses overseas. In particular, the Trump Organization sought a break on rental payments for the Washington, DC Trump Hotel from the General Services Administration, the federal agency with which the Trump Organization has a lease for the hotel. This puts the federal agency in a bind: denying the request could invoke the ire of the president, who appoints its leader, while accommodating the request would raise concerns that the decision was motivated by the presidents financial interests.

President Trump has also demanded that Congress include money for a new downtown FBI headquarters in a coronavirus relief bill. By ensuring the FBI does not move to a suburban campus instead, the measure would protect the Trump Hotel from possible competition from a proposed new hotel on the site of the FBI building a longstanding concern of the president.

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Im a business person, I dont like having thousands of people around when you dont need them, he added.

The US president has come under fire in recent days for his decision to disband the National Security Council directorate at the White House responsible for planning the USs preparedness for future pandemics.

The unit had been established by the previous White House administration in 2014 after the outbreak of Ebola.

A former director of the unit, Dr Beth Cameron, used an op-ed in The Washington Post to say that it is clear that eliminating the office has contributed to the federal governments sluggish domestic response”.

In a press conference on Friday, Mr Trump denied knowing anything about the cuts in 2018 when questioned by Yamiche Alcindor, a reporter for PBS.

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Keeping Meatpacking Plants Open Despite Unsafe Conditions For Workers

As of October 2, 2020, there have been at least 41,000 coronavirus cases linked to meatpacking facilities and at least 196 worker deaths. A July 2020 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that, among those cases for which race/ethnicity was reported, 87 percent of those affected were racial or ethnic minorities. But in the face of soaring infection rates among meatpacking industry workers, President Trump issued an executive order calling for plants to continue to operate at full capacity. The executive order directed the secretary of agriculture to ensure that meat and poultry processors continue operations, contained no provisions regarding worker safety, and characterized state and local government measures instituted to protect the health of workers as unnecessary closures.

The language of the presidents order closely tracks language that meatpacking industry provided to the U.S. Department of Agriculture in April 2020. There is no evidence that public health experts were consulted during the drafting process.

Apart from the presidents order, both the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the CDC appear to have softened their meatpacking safety guidance by adding qualifiers such as whenever possible and if feasible throughout. Several other federal public health guidelines issued throughout the pandemic were similarly watered down .

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In retrospect, not such a great move, he added.

A senior administration official rejected claims that the office was dissolved or disbanded, telling ABC News that its work was absorbed by another office within the NSC because the two directorates shared largely overlapping fields. The official added that no positions related to pandemic preparedness were eliminated in the re-shuffling.

But Trumps critics suggest his administrations decision to disband the office reflected a broader skepticism of scientific evidence and signaled that pandemic preparedness was not a priority.

Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., who chairs the House panel with oversight of the federal governments public health agencies, said the closure of the office amounted to an early warning sign that Trump would seek to ignore and downplay the scientists and downplay the experts.

It was compounded, Pallone added, by a purposeful effort on the part of the president to make it seem like the virus wasn’t going to be as serious as it ended up being.

Pallone pointed the finger at the presidents former national security advisor, John Bolton, whom he accused of rid of the NSC team that was that put the playbook together.

Bolton has also denied claims that he disbanded the pandemic team, insisting the offices dissolution amounted to nothing more than a streamlining of the NSC.

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Rumor: Is Dhs Deploying The National Guard

Fact: On March 22, 2020 President Trump directed the Secretary of Defense to permit full federal reimbursement, by FEMA, for some states use of their National Guard forces. The Presidents action provides Governors continued command of their National Guard forces, while being federally funded under Title 32. Each states National Guard is still under the authority of the Governor and is working in concert with the Department of Defense.

On January 21, 2021 President Biden directed FEMA to provide reimbursement to states, local, tribal and territorial governments and the District of Columbia for the use of their National Guard at a 100% cost share until September 30.

Additionally, on February 2, 2021 President Biden directed FEMA to retroactively reimburse states for 100% of their costs for eligible emergency protective measures including masks, gloves, emergency feeding actions, sheltering at risk populations and mobilization of the National Guard.

Lack Of Qualified Leaders In Key Government Positions Hampering Pandemic Response

Watch President Donald Trump’s address to the nation on coronavirus pandemic

The Trump administrations response to the coronavirus pandemic has exposed a crisis in government leadership, marked by numerous vacancies and the elevation of people lacking relevant experience to positions of power.

A wide range of key positions in the Department of Homeland Security , the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Food and Drug Administration, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, and other agencies tasked with planning or implementing the federal governments response to the Covid-19 pandemic have been either vacant or held by acting officials who lack the necessary authority and, in many cases, the relevant experience that Senate-confirmed leaders in these same roles have typically had. For instance, the roles of undersecretary of science and technology at DHS and deputy administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency key disaster management positions are staffed by acting personnel. Additionally, personnel performing critical functions in the federal pandemic response at FEMA and other agencies are leaving at a time when the nation desperately needs experts and leaders. And there is a growing list of administration officials lacking the expertise necessary to fulfill science-dependent roles. This has hampered the governments ability to address the crisis quickly and competently.

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