HHS sought to delay, change CDC morbidity and mortality reports, citing 'political content'

HHS has tried to delay and make changes to the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report since June, according to a report in The Washington Post.

Paul Alexander, an assistant professor at McMaster University in Canada and an adviser to HHS public affairs official Michael Caputo, asked the CDC to stop reports until he could make edits. Mr. Alexander also called the weekly reports "hit pieces on the [Trump] administration" in an email uncovered by Politico and reported on Sept. 11.

The CDC reports include information for public health specialists and scientists on health topics and undergo rigorous vetting, according to the Post.

One of the reports on hydroxychloroquine urged clinicians to practice accepted prescribing guidelines for the drug to prevent misuse as a COVID-19 treatment, which President Donald Trump has advocated for. The administration delayed that report, along with one that detailed the spread of COVID-19 at a children's camp that outlined how the virus can spread among young people, according to a former administration official who spoke to the Post.

"Most often the MMWRs are [issued] for purely scientific reasons. But in an election year, and in the time of COVID-19, it's no longer unanimously scientific. There's political content," Mr. Caputo told the Post.

The CDC did not comment in the article.

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