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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Robert Redfield. Photo: Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), the chair of the oversight subcommittee tasked with looking at the coronavirus crisis, accused the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday of concealing evidence that a Trump appointee attempted to influence the agency's scientific case studies.

The big picture: A senior CDC official who heads the agency's "Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report," told Congress this week that director Robert Redfield told staff to delete an email that showed the Trump administration wanted to change language in their coronavirus findings, according to a letter from Clyburn.

The state of play: Federal employees are generally required to preserve documents under the Federal Records Act. The career employee at the CDC, Charlotte Kent, told Congress it was understood her manager's directive to delete the email came from Redfield.

  • The email was from Paul Alexander, a former scientific adviser within the Health and Human Services Department, where he demanded the CDC change language on a scientific report regarding coronavirus risks and children or "stop all reports immediately,” Clyburn said in the letter.

What's next: The subcommittee may issue subpoenas if documents aren’t provided by Dec. 15, per the letter.

  • The CDC has not returned Axios' request for comment.

Go deeper

Jan 19, 2021 - Health

Fauci: U.S. could achieve herd immunity by fall if vaccine rollout goes to plan

NIAID director Anthony Fauci. Photo: Patrick Semansky-Pool/Getty Images

Infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said on Tuesday that if the coronavirus vaccine rollout by the incoming Biden administration goes as planned, the U.S. could start to see effects of herd immunity and normalcy by early-to-mid fall.

What he's saying: "If we [vaccinate] efficiently in April, May, June, July, August, we should have that degree of protection that could get us back to some form of normality. ... But we've also got to do it on a global scale," he said at a Harvard Business Review virtual event.

Jan 19, 2021 - Health

U.S. surpasses 400,000 coronavirus deaths on Trump's final full day in office

Expand chart
Data: CSSE Johns Hopkins University; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Over 400,000 people have died from the coronavirus in the U.S. as of Tuesday, per Johns Hopkins data.

Why it matters: It only took a little over a month for the U.S. to reach this mass casualty after 300,000 COVID deaths were reported last month. That's over 100,000 fatalities in 36 days.

Andy Slavitt cuts ties with face masks sponsor before joining Biden's COVID team

Andrew Slavitt is seen during congressional testimony in October 2013. Photo: Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call

It's not just family members of President-elect Joe Biden or Vice President-elect Kamala Harris with an early optics problem.

What's happening: Andy Slavitt, an incoming White House adviser on the COVID-19 response team, has also cut ties with a major brand sponsor in anticipation of joining the Biden administration.