Politico is reporting that Dr.Paul Alexander, an assistant professor of Health Research at McMaster is one of a number of Trump appointees who demanded and received the right to review CDC’s scientific reports to health professionals. Politico examined emails that in some cases, complained to the head of CDC, Director Robert Redfield and other senior officials that the agency’s reports would undermine the optimistic messages that President Trump was putting out during the early months of the COVID pandemic. Politico says that in April, the Trump administration installed Michael Caputo as head of communications for the CDC. Caputo was a former Trump campaign official with no medical or scientific background. According to a Hamilton Spectator story published this spring Alexander was the first person hired by Caputo. The two became friends when Caputo hosted a radio talk show and Alexander was a frequent guest. The spectator reported Alexander, is a respected academic whose peer-reviewed works have been published more than 60 times — six of which pertain to novel coronavirus research. He received a master’s degree in evidence-based medicine and clinical epidemiology from the University of Oxford and University of Toronto, and completed master’s training in health sciences at York University. In 2015, he received his doctorate from McMaster in health research methods. His profile on LinkedIn has been taken down.
Notwithstanding his academic credentials in his new job with the CDC, Alexander has been a harsh critic of the reports that CDC was putting out on a daily basis during the pandemic. In one of the emails examined by Politico he wrote, “CDC to me appears to be writing hit pieces on the administration,” . He called on CDC director Redfield to modify two already published reports that Alexander claimed wrongly inflated the risks of coronavirus to children and undermined Trump’s push to reopen schools. “CDC tried to report as if once kids get together, there will be spread and this will impact school re-opening . . . Very misleading by CDC and shame on them. Their aim is clear.”
Reported Politico, “Alexander also called on Redfield to halt all future reports until the agency modified its years-old publication process so he could personally review the entire report prior to publication, rather than a brief synopsis. “The reports must be read by someone outside of CDC like myself, and we cannot allow the reporting to go on as it has been, for it is outrageous. Its lunacy,” Alexander told Redfield and other officials. “Nothing to go out unless I read and agree with the findings how they CDC, wrote it and I tweak it to ensure it is fair and balanced and ‘complete.'”
While working at the CDC Alexander continued to publish academic papers, including one in July in the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology that appeared to counter those who had been critical of President Trump for promoting the drug hydrooxychroloquine as a possible treatment for COVID, The paper said, “we found that the COVID-19 research methodology is very poor in the area of chloroquine/hydroxychloroquine research.