The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have come back into focus as coronavirus cases continue to surge across the country, after reports that the agency had been muzzled during the crisis.

The agency has held two press briefings in June, after multiple months without one, during which the agency was taking much of the blame for the Trump Administration’s shortfalls during the pandemic. A CDC official confirmed to Yahoo! News and HuffPost that the agency “slowly but surely took a backseat” when it came to the coronavirus task force, which held televised broadcasts and press briefings without CDC officials present.

“The CDC is not being allowed to speak,” former CDC head Dr. Thomas Frieden told Yahoo! News in May. “It is just inconceivable that for more than two months, the best public health agency in the world has been prohibited from speaking to Americans.”

An agency spokesperson said, “We continued to ask for approval” to hold briefings from the White House. “We were not given approval. Finally, we just stopped asking.” 

Despite this, the spokesperson insisted that “We really have had a seat at the table leading the public health response to this.”

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