WH Overruled CDC Recommendation Advising Seniors Against Flying

WASHINGTON, D.C. - APRIL 20: The White House south facade, in Washington, D.C. on APRIL 20. (Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)
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March 8, 2020 3:17 p.m.

White House officials reportedly overruled a recommendation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that advised elderly and physically fragile Americans against flying commercial airlines amid coronavirus outbreak fears.

According to an Associated Press report Saturday evening, a federal official said that the CDC submitted the recommendation as an attempt to control the virus, but that White House officials ordered the removal of the recommendation. The AP noted that since then, Trump administration officials suggested that although certain people should consider not traveling, they have not gone as far as the CDC’s recommendation.

The AP also reported that on Friday, the CDC quietly updated its website by advising older adults and people with severe medical conditions to “stay home as much as possible” and avoid crowds. The CDC also urged those people to “take actions to reduce your risk of exposure” without directly recommending against flying.

The AP reported that the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, did not have direct knowledge regarding why White House officials decided to kill off the CDC’s recommendation or who made the call.

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Although the White House declined to provide comment to TPM on Sunday, administration officials have denied AP’s report.

Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary Katie Miller dismissed the AP report in Saturday evening tweets.

In a Sunday morning interview on “Fox News Sunday,” National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director and coronavirus task force member Anthony Fauci responded to the AP’s report by saying that “no one overruled anybody.”

Read the AP’s report here.

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