CDC Employees Say Morale at All-Time Low Over Trump Admin Handling of COVID-19

Morale at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is at an all-time low over the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, according to more than half a dozen current and former employees who spoke with The Hill.

“I have never seen morale this low. It’s just, people are beaten down,” one current employee told the news outlet. “People are beaten down partially by a public who not only distrusts us but who actually think we want to infringe on their civil liberties. The other factor is the active undermining by senior members of our own administration.”

Politico last week reported that communication aides in the Department of Health and Human Services requested and received the ability to review and seek changes to studies published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports, news criticized by public health specialists and the medical community considering those reports are authored by career scientists.

Rich Besser, a former CDC director who now runs the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, told the Hill current employees at the nation’s health protection agency are worn out.

“As I talk to former colleagues at CDC, the feeling I get is just an overwhelming sense of despair,” he said. “People are working incredibly hard to reduce the impact of the pandemic and the sense that they’re being blocked by people at the political level, and that the work that they’re doing is not being appreciated by the American public.”

“The feeling right now is that public health is not being allowed to lead and to demonstrate the path forward to reduce transmission and increase economic activity,” he added.

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