Coronavirus Update: Democrats Launch Investigation into Alleged Altered Coronavirus Reports by Trump Administration

Democratic lawmakers are launching an investigation into allegations that political appointees at the Department of Health and Human Services are attempting to alter weekly coronavirus pandemic scientific reports issued by the CDC.

The CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports (MMWRs) are written by career scientists. The data is read by medical workers, epidemiologists, scientists and researchers who rely on the reports to treat patients.

“Blatant political interference in CDC’s reports on the coronavirus outbreak appears to be just one element in the Trump administration’s all-out strategy to, in the president’s words, ‘play it down,’” wrote Democrats on the House Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis.

The subcommittee wants department documents and the testimony of seven HHS officials, including Michael Caputo, the agency’s spokesman, and Paul Alexander, his senior adviser.

This comes one day after infectious disease specialist Dr. William Schaffner told CNN reporters that those responsible for the creating the weekly reports are in conflict with the Trump administration and are struggling to maintain the scientific integrity of the reports.

MORE ON THE PANDEMIC

Over 7,000 people in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina received texts and emails saying they tested positive for coronavirus when they were not.

The error made last Friday by a data vendor was attributed to “routine maintenance”, said Mecklenburg County manager Dena Diorio. But according to Diorio, the Health Department never texts or emails positive or negative Covid results to those affected.

The county has notified those who received the erroneous information and told them to disregard the results.

Almost 550,000 children in the U.S. have been diagnosed with the coronavirus since the pandemic began, according to data from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association.

According to data from 24 states and New York City, over 72,000 new child cases were reported from Aug. 27 through Sept. 10, representing a 15% increase in child cases over two weeks.

The National Museum of African American History and Culture, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum and Renwick Gallery will open Friday as part of the Smithonian’s phased reopening.

The museums will adopt reduced days or hours of operation and implement new safety protocols due to the pandemic. Visitors must reserve free timed-entry passes to visit most locations.

The National School Lunch Program has extended its flexible summer waiver program through the end of the year to help keep kids who receive free or reduced school lunch fed during the pandemic.

The School Nutrition Association requires the daily meals include 3/4 cup of vegetables, 1 cup of 1% or fat-free milk, 1/2 cup serving of fruit, and an entree with whole grains and a lean protein.

Families with incomes at or below the poverty level, children in families receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and children in families who receive food stamps are eligible for free lunches.

Officials in Henderson, Nevada have fined Trump rally venue owners $3,000 in coronavirus mandate violations.

The venue held the event that drew thousands of Trump supporters to a warehouse in the Las Vegas suburb. Nevada prohibits gatherings larger than 50 people, require physical distancing of 6 feet, and requires masks or face coverings in public.

Meanwhile, health officials in the state are preparing for an increase in new coronavirus cases after the rally over the weekend.

Delta Air Lines announced it has avoided furloughing most employees when restrictions attached to pandemic bailout funds expire on October 1.

40,000 Delta employees took unpaid leaves of absence and one in five retired early or resigned.

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