Trump administration officials once again removed the head of the country’s leading public health agency while drafting a public health policy. This time, officials torpedoed a plan to extend the ban on cruise ships until next year.
Cruise ships were the initial outbreaks of coronavirus transmission at the start of the global pandemic, which is still out of control in the United States. Massive outbreaks of crowded social vessels forced the cruise industry to stop in March, and the Centers for Disease Control issued an order banning navigation, which is due to expire today, Wednesday, September 30.
At a meeting in the White House Situation Hall on Tuesday, CDC Director Robert Redfield recommended extending the waiver order until February 2021, according to an Axios report. But Vice President Mike Pence, who chaired the meeting, told Redfield that the administration would set a different course.
Instead, the administration will extend the order banning navigation until October 31, which will correspond to the self-imposed ban by the cruise industry. Meanwhile, the administration expects the cruise industry to demonstrate its plans to allow cruises to “sail safely and responsibly and that companies bear the brunt of dealing with possible outbreaks,” according to meeting officials. , representatives of the cruise industry will meet with Trump this Friday to present their plans and discuss whether the waiver order should be extended further.
Just last week, the International Cruise Lines Association, a trade group that accounts for 95 percent of the industry, announced its own health protocols and said they would be mandatory for industry members. The protocols include testing all passengers and crew for the new coronavirus, wearing masks, physical removal measures and improved ventilation.
However, such protocols have not been successful in preventing large shipwrecks. In August, Norwegian cruise operator Hurtigruten, the world’s first cruise line to resume operations amid a global pandemic, immediately suspended all flights after a fire broke out on one of its ships. At the time, the Hurtigruten CEO said, “We weren’t good enough and we made mistakes.”
In addition, US health officials complained to a private individual to Axios that the administration had sunk Redfield’s recommendation for political reasons. The cruise industry has significant economic influence in Florida, which is a critical battleground in the upcoming presidential election.
White House Deputy Spokesman Brian Morgenstern denied these allegations of political fraud in an election year, saying: “The president, vice president and task force are following science and data to implement policies that protect public health and facilitate the safe opening of our country. This is not about politics. It is about saving lives. “
Trump administration officials spoke privately with Axios with contempt for Redfield and described the CDC as a moat for the “deep state” and efforts against Trump.
The violated cruise ban is just the latest example of the removal, undermining and intervention of the Trump administration by the Redfield administration during the coronavirus crisis. Other examples include intervening in CDC guidelines for testing COVID-19, using masks, vaccination schedules, school risks and resumption, collecting hospital data, and launching CDC COVID-19 studies.