The people responsible for a weekly report released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been in “trench warfare” with Washington officials over the report’s scientific integrity, infectious disease specialist Dr. William Schaffner said Monday.
Schaffner said he was “very disturbed” by the news that Trump-appointed officials at the Department of Health and Human Services pushed the CDC to change its weekly science reports so they would not undermine President Donald Trump’s political messages.
“I’ve since learned that the people who run that program, who put out that bulletin, have been in trench warfare with the folks in Washington,” Schaffner told CNN. “They have struggled and succeeded, I think, in maintaining the scientific integrity of those reports, but that struggle continues.”
Schaffner, a professor of infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center who spent a brief time at CDC and who often works closely with the agency, added that it’s “totally inappropriate” for Washington to try to influence the report, but the American people can still trust the information they are getting from the CDC.
“We can trust what we’re getting. These are professional people,” said Schaffner. “They’re just working on behalf of the American people.”