This Canadian professor helped Donald Trump minimize the risk of coronavirus

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WASHINGTON – “A five month campaign of bullying and intimidation.”

This is how officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), speaking to the New York Times on Friday, characterized the actions of Canada’s Trump administration science adviser Paul Alexander and his boss, health and social services spokesman Michael Caputo, as they sought to reshape the agency’s medical reports and public interviews to conform to President Donald Trump’s upbeat political messages.

Alexander is an assistant professor at McMaster University who was hired to advise Trump-appointed Caputo this spring. A series of emails, uncovered by The Times, Politico and The Washington Post, show him accusing the CDC and National Institutes of Health (NIH) officials of wanting to “embarrass the president,” “undermine the president,” and play the Trump administration ”with their medical reports. Alexander sought to edit and endorse the CDC’s weekly reports and shape the messages Dr.Anthony Fauci and other officials should communicate to the public.

Much of the information Alexander wanted to include – like his claim that children do not spread the virus and his suggestion that people without symptoms should not be tested for COVID – went against opinion by researchers at the CDC and NIH, and by consensus of experts.

But Alexander told The Globe and Mail on Thursday that he didn’t think messages from government agencies should contradict the president’s policies, and called his criticisms an attempt to emphasize positivity to encourage stores to stay open. and stimulate the economy. “Don’t just put negative things. People also want to hear the good news, ”he told The Globe. McMaster University said this week that Alexander is currently neither a salary nor a teacher.

After Caputo hosted an online video chat in which he accused government scientists of “sedition” and encouraged people to arm themselves for post-election violence, the Department of Health and Human Services called announced Wednesday that Caputo was taking sick leave until election and that Alexandre was no longer working for the administration.

Their story is just the latest glimpse into what appears to be a widespread administrative effort to distort medical information and the U.S. government’s approach to COVID in order to comply with messages coming from Trump and his campaign.

On Thursday Olivia Troye, former assistant to Vice President Mike Pence who organized and attended the coronavirus task force meetings between February and July, said she was voting for Joe Biden in the upcoming election because of her experience . “His biggest concern was that we were in an election year and how that was going to affect what he considered his record for success,” Troye said in a video commercial for Republicans voting against Trump. In the video and in interviews with the press, Troye described Trump ignoring expert advice because he did not want to harm the economy and displaying “utter disregard for human life.”

Another former administrative assistant, Elizabeth Neumann, made an announcement for the same anti-Trump group in August, saying she had seen “a number of good officials trying to do their jobs and the president telling them to stop, because he didn’t want to. the economy changed and he didn’t want to be distracted from his campaign.

Several episodes occurred that raised significant concerns about the independence of the CDC. In July, after Trump publicly disapproved of the CDC’s guidelines for reopening schools, the published guidelines were changed. Then last month, after Trump said repeatedly that he wanted fewer tests for the virus because too many tests gave too many positive results, the CDC suddenly changed its mind on its website, telling people asymptomatic not to be tested.

The New York Times reported this week that the change was drafted by Trump officials and released over objections from CDC scientists, bypassing the normal review process.

Yet another Times report this week described how Trump personally rushed approval for a plasma treatment so that it could be announced on the eve of the Republican convention. And now he’s gravely concerned he’s trying to rush a circulating vaccine ahead of the election – fears that were only highlighted this week when CDC Director Robert Redfield told Congress he didn’t wasn’t expecting a vaccine to be available enough to support regular life. to resume until fall 2021, and the President immediately said Redfield had been “confused” and believed a vaccine would be available in October of this year, “at most a few months.”

“After a phone call from the president and the public rebuke from Trump, a CDC official told CNN that Redfield now realizes he misunderstood the vaccine questions,” wrote a CNN analyst. “His descent shattered his credibility.”

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It’s a problem created by the set of now public examples of the Trump administration interfering with what is supposed to be reliable medical information on the deadliest public health crisis in a century.

Alexander believed the CDC information “undermined” the president’s sunny message on the coronavirus. But the reality was doing this work on its own. Attempts by Alexander and others to get medical professionals to change their communication to be okay with Trump are the real “success story,” further shattering the credibility of the entire administration’s approach to dealing with the issue. to the pandemic and to the government.



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