Trump gag of coronavirus official follows history of muzzling science – Business Insider – Business Insider

  • The Trump administration reportedly barred Anthony Fauci, one of the US’ top experts on infectious disease, from speaking publicly about the coronavirus without approval.
  • Fauci has tackled the AIDS and Ebola epidemics. He’s been director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984.
  • Some of Fauci’s statements about the coronavirus have been at odds with claims from President Trump, who has said the illness will disappear.
  • It’s not first time the Trump administration has muzzled scientific experts.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Anthony Fauci has been the director of the US’ National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) for 36 years. He guided the US through the AIDS and Ebola epidemics, and is now helping to lead the response to the new coronavirus outbreak.

But the Trump administration has reportedly barred him from speaking about the virus without clearance from the White House, according to The New York Times.

The coronavirus has killed nearly 3,000 people and infected 83,800. It has spread from China to more than 55 other countries. 

Although Trump said the US is “rapidly developing a vaccine” for the coronavirus and “will essentially have a flu shot for this in a fairly quick manner,” Fauci has estimated that we’re between a year and a year-and-a-half away from a vaccine. Trump also expressed optimism that COVID-19 — the disease the virus causes — will disappear, but Fauci has suggested the world is on the brink of a pandemic. 

In an apparent bid to exert more control over the messaging around this public-health crisis, The Times reported, the administration instructed Fauci “not to say anything else without clearance.” A NIAID spokesperson told Business Insider that “this is not true,” however.

Still, the Trump administration has a history of muzzling scientific experts. In the last four years, the White House has prevented meteorologists from discussing hurricane forecasts, Health and Homeland Security staff from commenting on gun violence after mass shootings, and US Geological Survey scientists from mentioning climate change.

Here are some examples of the Trump administration’s attacks on science, which have often come in the midst of public crises.


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