DANIEL VAUGHAN: Why is the Biden administration muzzling the CDC?

If those in the media were doing their jobs with regard to the Biden administration, they might be asking the same simple questions that any American would.

We’re in the middle of a pandemic, and I realize the Biden administration is still new. Still, lying is one of those things Democrats claimed they wanted to fix when taking the White House.

Does anyone remember the narrative the news media perpetuated that the Trump administration was “muzzling” Dr. Anthony Fauci? It was a continual note sounding in the media from last spring to the end of the Trump administration. Elite media insiders convinced themselves that the Trump White House was attempting to lie to the public and keep information from them.

Why aren’t journalists asking the same questions of the Biden administration?

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, put in place by the Biden administration, has been remarkably open about the need to reopen schools.

“There is increasing data to suggest that schools can safely reopen and that safe reopening does not suggest that teachers need to be vaccinated in order to reopen safely,” she said. “Vaccination of teachers is not a prerequisite for the safe reopening of schools.”

In response, what did the Biden administration do? They pushed back against their own CDC director, with White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, saying: “Dr. Walensky spoke to this in her personal capacity. Obviously, she’s the head of the CDC, but we’re going to wait for the final guidance to come out so we can use that as a guide for schools around the country.”

The problem is that Dr. Walensky is right. We’ve known the science on reopening schools since the start of winter for a fact. One CDC study focused on Wisconsin found that K-12 schools accounted for 5,703 coronavirus cases out of the nearly 240,000 total diagnoses in the state during the study period. That means schools accounted for 2% of the cases in the entire state.

A second CDC study in Wisconsin specifically tried to tease out the connection between schools and COVID-19 transmission. They found:

Among 17 rural Wisconsin schools, reported student mask-wearing was high, and the COVID-19 incidence among students and staff members was lower than in the county overall (3,453 versus 5,466 per 100,000). Among 191 cases identified in students and staff members, only seven (3.7%) cases, all among students, were linked to in-school spread.

Comparing the schools to the surrounding communities, the study said, “Despite widespread community transmission, COVID-19 incidence in schools conducting in-person instruction was 37% lower than that in the surrounding community.” In other words, schools were safer than other parts of the local community. Compare that scientific study to the typical hot-take found on social media.

It all led the study authors to conclude:

With masking requirements and student cohorting, transmission risk within schools appeared low, suggesting that schools might be able to safely open with appropriate mitigation efforts in place.

CDC Director Dr. Walensky isn’t alone, though. Former CDC Director Dr. Richard Besser agreed with her completely, telling Fox News “that social distancing, improved ventilation systems, and health screenings can help to limit the spread of COVID-19.”

“These things work,” he said. “I think teachers should be in the group of frontline workers who are given vaccines early, but you don’t need to have that to be able to open up schools very safely.”

To put this in words Democrats use: the science says reopen the schools right now. 

But that’s not what’s happening. And if the media were covering this instance like they had the Trump administration, journalists would be asking: Why is the Biden administration muzzling the CDC Director? Why is the Biden administration not relying on the science and evidence?

We know the answer. The “science” is getting sidelined so the Biden administration can placate teachers unions. There’s no reason to wait, and all the policies schools need are out in the open; masking, washing hands, distancing as much as possible, and keeping sick kids home are all things schools are doing already.

There’s no new guidance the Biden administration can offer. There’s no new science we’re waiting to hear back on. It’s all about appeasing special interests over opening a vital part of American infrastructure, and kids are suffering in the interim.

When Biden opines, “My predecessor, to be blunt about it, did not do his job in getting ready for the massive challenge of vaccinating hundreds of millions Americans,” he’s lying. The United States has administered 48 million vaccine doses, better than any country in the world outside of small, dense countries like Israel.

The Trump administration pushed the FDA to approve vaccines and get them out to people. While the FDA has multiple vaccines in its approval process, the Biden administration dithers.

There’s tangible evidence we have miracle solutions still appearing due to Operation Warp Speed. While that happens, the Biden administration spends its time complaining about the previous administration instead of building on the mountain of success we have before us.

Why is the Biden administration muzzling the CDC? Why is the Biden administration not getting more vaccines out to the people? Why is the Biden administration allowing the FDA to be a roadblock to releasing vaccines? Why is the Biden administration not following the science on schools? These are all issues that the Biden White House has before it for which it is directly to blame.

We’re in a pandemic that requires immediate leadership. The Trump administration wasn’t perfect, by any stretch. But at least when it came to the pandemic, they chose immediate action over dithering. If journalists believed a word of what they uttered in the Trump era, they might have the stones to ask the Biden administration about these failings.