In recent weeks, the coronavirus task force briefings have stopped altogether, and a key consequence of this is that public health officials no longer have a single, highly visible platform with which to correct the president’s misinformation about the pandemic in real time.
But according to Politico, they haven’t given up. They’ve just taken their efforts to contradict the president to alternate platforms.
“Anthony Fauci on Thursday used a panel discussion on the future of health care to warn that ‘we’re still in a significant problem,’ an assessment at odds with the president’s assertion that things are getting better,” reported Adam Cancryn and Brianna Ehley. “At a coronavirus task force briefing on reopening schools, held off the White House grounds, coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Birx appeared to cast doubt on Trump’s claim that children are not affected by the virus, cautioning that there’s little hard data on the health effects on kids. And FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn — the only administration health official to make the rounds of last Sunday’s morning news shows — refused to defend Trump’s assertion that 99 percent of coronavirus cases are ‘totally harmless.'”
Meanwhile, according to the report, “Birx and Fauci this week have used media appearances to amplify calls for mask wearing while blaming the pandemic’s resurgence in GOP-led states like Arizona and Texas on reopening too quickly and recklessly” — even though Trump wanted states to reopen quickly.
The White House denies there is any mixed messaging. But the end result, said the report, is that the public is seeing a “jarring split screen” on coronavirus information — and health officials are “treading a delicate line” trying both to give the public medically useful information and support Trump’s policy requirements, like the push to reopen schools, which are contrary to that guidance.
You can read more here.