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Thu Oct 15, 2020, 01:50 PM

Inside the Fall of the CDC

How the world’s greatest public health organization was brought to its knees by a virus, the president and the capitulation of its own leaders, causing damage that could last much longer than the coronavirus.

Butler, then the head of the agency’s coronavirus response, and his team had been trying to craft guidance to help Americans return safely to worship amid worries that two of its greatest comforts — the chanting of prayers and singing of hymns — could launch a deadly virus into the air with each breath.

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On Friday, Trump’s aides called the CDC repeatedly about the guidance, according to emails. “Why is it not up?” they demanded until it was posted on the CDC website that afternoon.

The next day, a furious call came from the office of the vice president: The White House suggestions were not optional. The CDC’s failure to use them was insubordinate, according to emails at the time.

Fifteen minutes later, one of Butler’s deputies had the agency’s text replaced with the White House version, the emails show. The danger of singing wasn’t mentioned.

https://www.propublica.org/article/inside-the-fall-of-the-cdc?utm_source=sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=majorinvestigations&utm_content=feature

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