GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The Trump administration has shelved a set of detailed documents created by the nation's top disease investigators meant to give step-by-step advice to local leaders deciding when and how to reopen public places during the still-raging pandemic.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, which the AP reports is called "Guidance for Implementing the Opening Up America Again Framework," was supposed to be published last Friday.
The document included guidance for reopening public places, like mass transit, day care centers, restaurants and bars. The report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was supposed to be published last Friday.
A CDC employee tells The Associated Press that agency officials were told the report "would never see the light of day."
In addition to the CDC employee, the AP obtained a copy from a second federal official who is also not authorized to speak about it.
While the CDC typically takes the lead in disseminating information during health crises, the Trump administration has closely controlled the release of new information during the coronavirus pandemic. CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield is a member of the White House's coronavirus task force but has not often appeared at press briefings.
The Trump administration has been closely controlling the release of guidance and information during the pandemic spurred by a new coronavirus that scientists are still trying to understand , with the president himself leading freewheeling daily briefings until last week.
The administration has also put the onus on states to procure their own medical equipment and set their own requirments for reopening their economies.
The AP reports that some of the information in the document is already on the FDA's website — including a suggestion that bars and restaurants install sneeze guards at cash registers. However, other recommendations included in the document do not appear on government websites — including guidance that restaurants should place tables 6 feet apart and recommendations that restaurants rely on mobile technology instead of "buzzers" to notify diners about their reservations.
According to the AP, an unidentified White House official said the CDC document was never cleared for release and the administration doesn't want to go down a "slippery slope" of setting detailed guidance for different industries when the virus is affecting different parts of the country in different ways.