In a disturbing new move to control what the American people can learn about the coronavirus and its spread around the world, the White House is now directly controlling what government health experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci can say by requiring them to get messages approved by Vice-President Mike Pence.
President Donald Trump appointed Pence as his coronavirus czar during a news conference on Wednesday night, but all Pence has done is add economic adviser Larry Kudlow to his team even though Kudlow went on television to directly contradict leading health experts by claiming that the outbreak has been contained.
And so, despite promising to handle the outbreak and protect American health, Trump and Pence are more interesting in handling the message instead so they can mislead the public while preventing actual medical professionals from telling the truth that we all need to hear.
In fact, the New York Times reported on Thursday that Pence wasted no time instructing health officials that messaging runs through him.
The president said that the virus could get worse or better in the days and weeks ahead, but that nobody knows, contradicting Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, one of the country’s leading experts on viruses and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease.
At the meeting with Mr. Pence on Thursday, Dr. Fauci described the seriousness of the public health threat facing Americans, saying that “this virus has adapted extremely well to human species” and noting that it appeared to have a higher mortality rate than influenza.
“We are dealing with a serious virus,” Dr. Fauci said.
Dr. Fauci has told associates that the White House had instructed him not to say anything else without clearance.
This is the kind of thing that dictators do. Pretending that coronavirus is not a threat to our country is not going to stop it. We need our health experts to be transparent and tell us the truth, no matter how bad it may be.
Dr. Fauci may be most recognized as the face of the messaging during the 2014 Ebola outbreak. His appearances on various media outlets kept Americans informed and properly warned. In the end, America got past the outbreak, and it’s because the government was honest. But Trump is trying to hide the truth because he doesn’t want anyone to know how bad things are getting as the coronavirus spreads, especially as the stock market reacts to his incompetence just months before the next election.
But silencing the experts won’t stop the virus from spreading and it certainly won’t hide it. As more and more people contract it, the news will get out one way or another. People will almost certainly die because they lack proper warnings and information that they can only get from health experts. Trump and Pence need to let these experts do their jobs instead of worrying about how they can silence or spin what they have to say.
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