The Biden White House is pledging to communicate more -- and more honestly -- about the coronavirus pandemic with the aim of restoring the trust of the American people. The first step will be a return to regular briefings.
CDC briefings have been notably absent since last March. In other disease emergencies, the CDC has provided regular briefings, often several a week, with top experts. The Trump White House stopped them after the CDC’s top respiratory specialist Dr. Nancy Messonnier warned of worsening spread and disruptions, angering then-president Trump. Her predictions came true, but CDC officials have held only a handful of briefings since then
The White House Coronavirus Task Force briefed regularly for a few months, but those briefings petered out by June and came only sporadically after that.
The federal government should be the source of truth for the public to get clear accessible, and scientifically accurate information about COVID-19. We will be honest, transparent and straightforward with the American people to rebuild that trust," White House coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients told reporters Wednesday.
To that end, Zients said the new administration would be taking a number of steps to provide clarity and insight into the pandemic, including regular expert-led science-based public briefings by HHS, CDC and the Covid-19 White House response team.
On Thursday, President Biden will also issue an executive order to enhance the collection, sharing and analysis of data. As part of that, the CDC will maintain a public dashboard tracking real-time data on Covid-19 cases, testing, vaccinations and hospital admissions at a national and state-level.
There have been misunderstandings about much of the data generated about the pandemic. For instance, CNN relies more heavily on data from Johns Hopkins University about diagnoses and deaths than it does on the CDC.