A Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request made by the conservative watchdog group Americans for Public Trust dredged up emails showing a “powerful teachers union’s full-court press preceded the federal agency putting the brakes on a full re-opening of in-person classrooms, emails between top CDC, AFT and white House officials show” reports the New York Post.
The American Federation of Teachers clearly lobbied the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The watchdog group provided obtained emails to The Post, which reports:
The documents show a flurry of activity between CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, her top advisors and union officials — with Biden brass being looped in at the White House — in the days before the highly-anticipated Feb. 12 announcement on school-reopening guidelines.
“Thank you again for Friday’s rich discussion about forthcoming CDC guidance and for your openness to the suggestions made by our president, Randi Weingarten, and the AFT,” wrote AFT senior director for health issues Kelly Trautner in a Feb 1 email — which described the union as the CDC’s “thought partner.”
“We were able to review a copy of the draft guidance document over the weekend and were able to provide some initial feedback to several staff this morning about possible ways to strengthen the document,” Trautner continued. “… We believe our experiences on the ground can inform and enrich thinking around what is practicable and prudent in future guidance documents.”
Walensky wasn’t on the Feb 1 email, but it was forwarded to her by Carole Johnson, the White House coronavirus testing coordinator. Many emails included Will McIntee, an associate director of public engagement at The White House. Emails show a call between Walensky and Weingarten — the former boss of New York City’s United Federation of Teachers — was arranged for Feb 7.
The lobbying paid off, because “suggestions” offered by the union were adopted nearly verbatim into the final text of the CDC document:
With the CDC preparing to write that schools could provide in-person instruction regardless of community spread of the virus, Trautner argued for the inclusion of a line reading “In the event of high community-transmission results from a new variant of SARS-CoV-2, a new update of these guidelines may be necessary.” That language appeared on page 22 of the final CDC guidance.
The AFT also demanded special remote work concessions for teachers “who have documented high-risk conditions or who are at increased risk for … COVID-19,” and that similar arrangements should extend to “staff who have a household member” with similar risks. A lengthy provision for that made it into the text of the final guidance.
CDC Says Teachers Do Not Need To Be Vaccinated To Reopen Schools
Teachers do not need to be vaccinated in order for schools to reopen according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In cites such as Chicago and Los Angeles, teachers unions are resisting the effort to put teachers back in the classrooms without proper precautions in place, including vaccinations.
According to a Wednesday report from CNBC, newly appointed CDC Director Rochelle Walensky says that teachers do not need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before schools can reopen.
In statements during a COVID-19 White House press briefing, Walensky said, “There is increasing data to suggest that schools can safely reopen and that safe reopening does not suggest that teachers need to be vaccinated. Vaccinations of teachers is not a prerequisite of reopening schools.”
She also explained that a CDC advisory committee has placed teachers in the “1B” category — the same as essential workers — to receive vaccines, placing them second in line for priority to receive the injections.
The CDC has stated that there is “little evidence” of widespread coronavirus transmission in schools and many schools across the country have been open for in person teaching for a while with little to no issues.
Full story at the Blaze.
Former CDC Director Robert Redfield Believes COVID Escaped from Wuhan Lab
The former director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention under the Trump Administration believes COVID-19 escaped from a lab in Wuhan, China.
Robert Redfield told CNN in a documentary interview that it was his “opinion” that the virus “escaped” from the laboratory.
“I’m of the point of view that I still think the most likely etiology of this pathology in Wuhan was from a laboratory — escaped,” he said. “Other people don’t believe that. That’s fine. Science will eventually figure it out.”
Redfield continued, “It’s not unusual for respiratory pathogens that are being worked on in a laboratory to infect the laboratory worker. … That’s not implying any intentionality. It’s my opinion, right? But I am a virologist. I have spent my life in virology.”
Despite a lack of clear evidence, former CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said in a CNN documentary clip released Friday that he believes the novel coronavirus began transmitting in fall 2019 and that the virus may have originated in a lab in China. https://t.co/r4CpbrNsBl pic.twitter.com/GZl1BbM5ZO
— New Day (@NewDay) March 26, 2021
Redfield questioned the theory of how the virus could jump from a bat to a human, saying, “I do not believe this somehow came from a bat to a human and at that moment in time, that the virus came to the human, became one of the most infectious viruses that we know in humanity for human-to-human transmission.”
According to the former director, viruses that transmit from animals to humans take longer to become effective at human-to-human transmission.
“I just don’t think this makes biological sense,” he said.
The New York Post reports:
SARS-CoV-2 was first detected in Wuhan in December 2019 — with many scientists believing it emerged at a wet market just under nine miles from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
But Redfield said he believes the bug was circulating as early as September or October of that year.
A probe by the World Health Organization concluded recently that it was “extremely unlikely” that the virus stemmed from a lab accident — and that it likely originated in animals before it spread to humans.