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AP Exclusive: CDC guidance more restrictive than White House

Trump, coronavirus task force, holds news conference
Posted at 9:33 AM, May 13, 2020

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Advice from the nation’s top disease control experts on how to safely reopen businesses and institutions in the coronavirus pandemic included detailed instructive guidance and some more restrictive measures than the plan released by the White House last month.

The guidance, which was shelved by Trump administration officials, also offered recommendations to help communities decide when to shut facilities down again during future flareups of COVID-19.

The Associated Press has obtained a 63-page document that is more detailed than other, previously reported segments of the shelved guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to AP, since the beginning, CDC staffers working on the guidance were uncomfortable tying it specifically to reopening, and voiced their objections to the White House officials tasked with approving the guidance for release, according to a CDC official granted anonymity because they were not cleared to speak with the press.

After The AP reported about the burying of the guidance last week, the White House asked the CDC to revive parts of it, which were sent back for approval, according to emails and interviews.

According to report by AP, one of many differences, however, is advice for when communities should allow for the resumption of nonessential travel.

The shelved CDC guide advises communities to avoid all nonessential travel in phases of reopening until the last one, when cases are at the lowest levels. The CDC says “consideration” of the resumption of nonessential travel after 42 continuous days of declining cases of COVID-19.

The White House plan, by contrast, recommends that communities “minimize” travel in Phase 1, and that in Phase 2, after 28 consecutive days of decline, “Non-essential travel can resume,” AP reports.