White House Forces CDC To Edit Reopening Recs Down To Helpful Haiku, So We're All Good Now
It's never a good sign when not a single person at the agency rolling out a policy will put his or her name on it. If the poor slob pitching the product insists on anonymity with reporters, then he's probably flogging a pile of shit that he doesn't want to appear in a Google search next to his name. Case in point: the watered-down reopening guidelines the White House finally allowed the CDC to publish last night.
"This was an effort on our part to make some decision trees we thought might be helpful to those moving forward with opening their establishment," a "spokesperson" told the Washington Post.
Politico spoke directly to the agency itself: "The CDC said its newly released tools are meant to give state and local areas control over their reopening strategies."
And the New York Times reports, "A C.D.C. spokesman said that further decision charts may be issued, and that the ones that had been published had emphasized the need for employers to work closely with local health officials."
The CDC has a whole list of spokespeople with particular subject matter expertise. But not one of them wanted to put their name on this piece of crap official document. Which is kind of a "tell."
AP got a copy of the real, detailed guidelines last week after White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows shitcanned them for being "too prescriptive." Probably a coincidence that Indiana Senator Mike Braun used that same language on the floor of the Senate, right?
Press Secretary Kayleigh "I Will Never Lie to You" McEnany was duly dispatched to tell the White House press corp that the document published by the AP was a preliminary version, awaiting final approval from CDC head Dr. Robert Redfield, which prompted the immediate leak of emails showing that he'd actually approved them weeks earlier and had been trying to get the White House to sign off since April 10. And then, for good measure, someone inside the CDC passed the AP a 63-page unpublished draft of guidelines specifying in granular detail exactly what steps institutions needed to take to safely reopen. Whoops!
Which put the White House in an awkward position, since Trumpland had told the CDC its detailed decision-making rubric for reopening schools, restaurants, day care facilities, religious institutions, and public transit would "never see the light of day," according to the AP, and now everyone in DC had a copy of it. Meanwhile in the absence of federal guidance, states like Georgia, Florida, and Texas are already opening up using plans based as much on the demands of businesses as on public health best practices. So the White House went back to the CDC and told them to revive the guidelines, but this time replace all that annoying detail with graphics and pablum.
So this ...
... became this.
And if you are a parent waiting to see if your child's summer camp is going to open (IT ME!), you're probably still shit outta luck. Because that little flow chart means nothing. No more phases, or mention of closing back up if someone in the facility is sick; no guidance on whether kids can swim in the pool, or play sports.
As Politico notes, the detailed internal draft suggests that camps should keep kids off playgrounds and out of the cafeteria. That little one-page flow chart would have 'em climbing all over the jungle gym and swapping gummy bears at lunch. Did you get an email this week from your kid's camp saying they'll make a decision by June 1? Is that helpful? (Again, IT ME.)
And can you guess what else is missing from the new and "improved" CDC guidance?
Well, the old rubric for religious institutions looked like this.
And here's the new one.
That's right, they do not exist. Because according to Bill Barr, it's unlegal to restrict religious assembly during a viral pandemic. It says so in the First Amendment. Or maybe it's the Geneva Convention? Could be the Treaty of Versailles. But if you check Newton's Second Law of Thermodynamics, it's definitely in there.
Anyway, the point is, now the Democrats can shut up already about needing guidance from the CDC. Just look at this little flow chart, and everything will be totally fine. THE END.
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.