- Staffers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were taken by surprise when President Donald Trump told reporters of a suspected coronavirus case at the agency, reported Politico.
- Trump said that a scheduled visit to the agency had been cancelled because of the suspected case, but it was back on because the person had tested negative.
- The president has caught people off-guard with information he’s released before, tweeting out a map of an Iranian missile facility last year, which experts said contained sensitive information.
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Staffers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention only found out about a suspected case of the coronavirus at the agency after President Donald Trump told reporters about it in remarks on live TV, Politico reported.
Trump hastily cancelled a visit to the agency in Atlanta, Georgia, Friday morning — but soon after told the reporters the visit was back on and explained what had been happening.
“They thought there was a problem at CDC with somebody that had the virus,” Trump told reporters Friday morning. “It turned out negative so we are seeing if we can do it. They’ve tested the person fully and it was a negative test. So I may be going. We’re going to see if they can turn it around with Secret Service. We may be going.”
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham in remarks to reporters on Air Force One later confirmed that the trip had initially been cancelled out of an “abundance of caution,” reported The Hill, and that “thankfully” the suspected case of coronavirus at the agency had turned out to be negative.
The news of the suspected case though reportedly came as a surprise to staffers at the agency preparing for the president’s visit. Three staffers told Politico that they had not been told there was a suspected infection at the CDC, and only found out about it from the president’s televised remarks.
“CDC has many employees who have deployed in support of the nation’s response to COVID-19, some of whom are returning from areas where COVID-19 may present,” a health department spokesperson told Politico. “No CDC employees have tested positive.”
It wouldn’t be the first time information released by the president in public communications has taken people by surprise, with the president in August tweeting out a satellite map with sensitive information showing an Iranian missile facility.
In recent days the CDC has been criticised for problems with its diagnostic tests for the coronavirus, and placing excessively narrow limits on the type of suspected cases it was testing, which experts say could have resulted in the disease spreading undetected.