“Today, the Ministry of Health and Human Services announces that Assistant Secretary of State Michael Caputo has decided to take leave of absence to focus on his family’s health and well-being. Mr Caputo will be on leave for the next 60 days,” he said. HHS in a statement.
The temporary departure comes as concerns in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about perceived attempts, and in particular Caputo’s role, in politicizing critical health care amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement, Caputo said he was going to undergo “necessary tests for a lymphatic problem discovered last week”.
“These people can not, can not allow America to improve. Nor can they allow America to hear good news. It must all be bad news from now until the election. “Honestly, ladies and gentlemen, this is the prompt,” Caputo said during the rally, which was broadcast live on his personal Facebook page on Sunday.
“They sacrifice lives to defeat Donald Trump. Ladies and gentlemen, that is the moral. It is also … you know, you say what you want, but when they let someone get sick and die, there is a word for it,” he said. he said.
Caputo also said that “party Democrats, the marital media and scientists, scientists of the deep state want America to get sick by November. “They can’t give us good news before November, because they are already losing.”
A source familiar with the matter said that Kaputo was portrayed as a victim in his apology on Tuesday, but apologized for putting HHS secretary Alex Azar in a bad light.
In a statement Wednesday, Caputo praised members of the White House Koranovirus task force and reaffirmed a joint mission to defeat the coronavirus. He singled out Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, whose warnings have often been rejected or underestimated by the Trump administration.
“I have learned so much in my friendship with the doctors of the Koranai President’s Special Group. Sometimes we disagree, but we work together to defeat the virus and we care about each other,” Caputo said. “I want to thank Dr. Tony Fauci for consulting with my personal doctor as we receive the health care I have long needed, but neglected, through the pandemic.”
2 federal health officials claim intervention
Shortly after Caputo was appointed as HHS Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, CDC leaders began to perceive political interference in scientific guidance and reporting, two sources told CNN.
Since May, CDC officials have been asked to send “courtesy copies” of the weekly morbidity and mortality reports, long-term scientific reports from the CDC known as the MMWR, the two officials said.
The MMWR reports are considered the gold standard for the CDC’s leading public health project. Prior to Caputo’s ouster, no one outside the CDC – not even those on HHS, overseen by the CDC – had reviewed the MMWRs before they were released, officials said.
Caputo did not respond to a request for comment on CNN on Wednesday.
The first official told CNN that Caputo had instructed his adviser Paul Alexander to pass the Trump administration’s proposals to the CDC, but CDC leaders questioned whether Alexander or Caputo “really understood science” in the reports.
The two officials assured CNN that in the end, the science in the “sacred” MMWR released by the CDC was not at stake, after Alexander’s efforts to “weigh and propose recommendations”.
Caputo defended Alexander in a statement to CNN on Saturday, saying his aide “is an epidemiologist with morphology in Oxford and a methodologist specializing in analyzing the work of other scientists.” He added that “Alexander’s advice is heard and received or rejected by his peers.”
HHS said in a statement announcing Caputo’s leave that Alexander would step down.
This story has been updated with additional references.
CNN’s Sara Murray, Jim Acosta, Kevin Bohn and Kaitlan Collins contributed to this report.