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CDC staffers are being told not to speak directly with the press. Photo: Branden Camp / AP

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is trying to crack down on its employees' conversations with the press, according to an internal email obtained by Axios. The message — sent by public affairs officer Jeffrey Lancashire and dated Aug. 31 — instructs all CDC employees not to speak to reporters, "even for a simple data-related question."

What it said:

  • "Effective immediately and until further notice, any and all correspondence with any member of the news media, regardless of the nature of the inquiry, must be cleared through CDC's Atlanta Communications Office," Lancashire wrote. "This correspondence includes everything from formal interview requests to the most basic of data requests."

Lancashire did not respond to requests for comment about the policy. But I'd love to know what harm was being done by CDC employees answering "the most basic of data requests." If you work at the CDC and have any insight, go ahead and communicate directly with me: baker@axios.com.

Go deeper

Updated 28 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Fall and winter COVID surge "unlikely" if people get vaccinated.
  2. Politics: School boards are the next political battleground.
  3. Vaccines: Pfizer begins application for full FDA vaccine approval — Moderna says its COVID booster shot shows promise against variants.
  4. Economy: U.S. adds just 266,000 jobs in April, far below expectations.
  5. World: Asia faces massive new COVID surgeIndia records its deadliest day of the pandemic.
  6. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

Kevin McCarthy officially endorses Elise Stefanik to replace Liz Cheney

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) officially endorsed Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) to become the GOP's next House Republican conference chair during a Fox News appearance Sunday.

Why it matters: The GOP has been feuding internally over the fate of the current chair, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), because of her criticisms of former President Donald Trump, and her vote to impeach him for his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

Fauci: Vaccines could turn COVID-19 "surges" into "blips"

NIAID director Anthony Fauci told "Meet the Press" Sunday that if more Americans get vaccinated in accordance with the Biden administration's goals, COVID-19 surges may be replaced by "blips."

State of play: Last week President Joe Biden announced his goal to get 160 million Americans fully vaccinated by July 4, with at least 70% of Americans having at least one shot.