The White House has repeatedly undermined leading US authorities on infectious diseases, the journal states

A respected medical journal that has published trusted scientific research since the 1800s has taken the unprecedented step of telling Americans not to vote for Donald Trump in the upcoming election.

The Lancet offered a scathing assessment of the president’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak in the US, saying his politicisation had put the country at greater risk.

In an editorial, the journal said that Mr Trump had marginalised the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which was dangerous for both the US and the world.

“There is no doubt that the CDC has made mistakes, especially on testing in the early stages of the pandemic,” the unsigned editorial said. “But punishing the agency by marginalizing and hobbling it is not the solution.”

During the current coronavirus crisis, the Trump White House has repeatedly undermined the leading US authorities on infectious diseases, The Lancet states. It added: “The CDC needs a director who can provide leadership without the threat of being silenced.”

The White House guidelines, unveiled April 17 in a document titled “Opening up America Again,” provided recommended criteria for reopening but largely left governors and other state officials to decide how and when to lift lockdown measures.

The CDC plan would have given community leaders far more detailed instructions for how to reopen than were ultimately released.

The Lancet also said it feared Mr Trump’s decision to withdraw funding from the World Health Organization (WHO) would further erode the CDC and its ability to work with other countries in containing the pandemic.

“A strong CDC is needed to respond to public health threats, both domestic and international, and to help prevent the next inevitable pandemic,” it said. “Americans must put a president in the White House come January, 2021, who will understand that public health should not be guided by partisan politics.”

Read full article here.

Josie Ensor – The Telegraph – May 15, 2020.

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