‘No one meets the criteria’

SK Ashby
Written by SK Ashby

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) produced a detail guide for reopening the economy as requested by the coronavirus task force, but their guide was promptly shelved by the White House because it was "overly prescriptive" according task force leader Mike Pence.

Now, in practice, I think it's evident what that really meant.

No one who is currently reopening would be able to do so under the CDC's guidelines according to officials who spoke to CNN.

The 68 pages of public health surveillance and modeling examine how Americans can safely and slowly return to normal life. While some of the advice is consistent with the White House's "Guidelines: Opening Up America Again," the document contains additional details on what is needed for schools, businesses, communities of faith, mass transportation and travel to resume successfully.

Based on the guidance, "no one who is reopening meets the criteria for reopening," a senior CDC official told CNN. [...]

An administration official told CNN last week that CDC leadership hadn't seen the draft before it leaked and there were concerns from the task force about the drafted guidance. That administration official told CNN that the CDC's guidance was "overly prescriptive" and did not fit in the "phases" outlined by the task force.

It's not that the CDC necessarily produced a flawed or bad plan; it's that Trump wanted to see parts of the economy reopen sooner rather than later.

Following the CDC's guidelines wouldn't have prevented anyone from reopening, but it may have made the process take a little longer and that's what really matters, right?

My most cynical (and probably correct) interpretation is that the White House is desperately chasing economic reports over the next several weeks hoping to see some signs of life in the economy even as our death toll crosses 100,000. Following the CDC's guidelines could have pushed more reopenings to the first week of June and Trump wants to see numbers now.

Trump probably thinks 30 million Americans are going to return to work over the next few weeks, and many might, but not enough to turn a corner and produce the kind of jobs report he would like to see on June 5th.

When June arrives, we'll start this treadmill all over again with Trump chasing whatever he thinks will look best for him politically in July