Coronavirus presents unprecedented challenges to public policy and the electoral process.
Michael Shear and Maggie Haberman at NYT:
The official who led the federal agency involved in developing a coronavirus vaccine said on Wednesday that he was removed from his post after he pressed for rigorous vetting of hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug embraced by President Trump as a coronavirus treatment, and that the administration had put “politics and cronyism ahead of science.”
Rick Bright was abruptly dismissed this week as the director of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, or BARDA, and removed as the deputy assistant secretary for preparedness and response. He was given a narrower job at the National Institutes of Health.
In a scorching statement, Dr. Bright, who received a Ph.D. in immunology and molecular pathogenesis from Emory University, assailed the leadership at the health department, saying he was pressured to direct money toward hydroxychloroquine, one of several “potentially dangerous drugs promoted by those with political connections” and repeatedly described by the president as a potential “game changer” in the fight against the virus.
“I believe this transfer was in response to my insistence that the government invest the billions of dollars allocated by Congress to address the Covid-19 pandemic into safe and scientifically vetted solutions, and not in drugs, vaccines and other technologies that lack scientific merit,” he said in his statement. “I am speaking out because to combat this deadly virus, science — not politics or cronyism — has to lead the way.”
His attorneys Debra Katz & Lisa Banks make clear in an addendum statement:— Jeremy Diamond (@JDiamond1) April 22, 2020
"The Administration’s removal of Dr. Bright from his position as director of BARDA is retaliation plain and simple." pic.twitter.com/VTf4z8QSER
WSJ: In late February, Trump called HHS Secretary Azar and threatened to oust Nancy Messonnier, the CDC's chief of respiratory diseases, after she said the agency was preparing for a potential pandemic and that community spread of the virus was likely.https://t.co/Mbd92sKaha— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) April 22, 2020