Dr. Paul Alexander influenced the American response to COVID-19, sometimes against scientific consensus
News broke on Sept. 9, 2020 that an appointee from the Trump administration was trying to dictate what information Dr. Anthony Fauci was able to share with the public in regards to the risks children face with COVID-19. That appointee was Paul Alexander, a part-time professor in the department of health research methods, evidence and impact at McMaster University.
Fauci is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health and the United States government’s top expert on the COVID-19 pandemic.
This story is bonkers. @McMasterU prof Paul Alexander tried to prevent top U.S. infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci from speaking publicly about COVID-19 risks to children. #HamOnt (1/6) https://t.co/i0sIbZa0t2
— Sebastian Bron (@sebibron) September 10, 2020
Alexander was appointed to the Department of Health and Human Services in March 2020 by Michael Caputo, the assistant secretary of public affairs. Caputo was also new to the department and had no medical background or experience. However, he did work as a top advisor for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.
Alexander was appointed as a science adviser to help manage the COVID-19 pandemic in America. “The president called me at the end of March and told me I should bring expertise with me. Paul [Alexander] was the first call I made after I got off the phone with the president,” said Caputo in an article written by the Hamilton Spectator.
“The president called me at the end of March and told me I should bring expertise with me. Paul [Alexander] was the first call I made after I got off the phone with the president,” said Caputo in an article written by the Hamilton Spectator.
That expertise has now been the centre of a controversy within the Department of Health and Human Services and the overall response to the pandemic in America. POLITICO’s Sarah Owermohle broke the story from emails sent by Alexander to various officials. His medical advice and instructions for Fauci are written as scientific fact but contradict mainstream scientific consensus, particularly around masks and the risk of COVID-19 in children.
Prior to an interview of Fauci by MSNBC, Alexander wrote that he is opposed to mask-use in children and testing children for COVID-19. He wrote, “can you ensure Dr. Fauci indicates masks are for the teachers in schools. Not for children. There is no data, none, zero, across the entire world, that shows children, especially young children, spread this virus to other children, or to adults or to their teachers. None. And if it did occur, the risk is essentially zero.”
That email was sent on Sept. 8, 2020. In an article from Aug. 15, 2020, Nicole Chavez of CNN cited an American Academy of Pediatrics analysis that indicated a 90 per cent increase in COVID-19 cases among children in the United States. Chavez wrote, “several clusters of coronavirus cases emerged in Florida, Georgia and Mississippi schools within days of starting classes.”
This story has info on the latest school COVID-19 case in Hamilton and a follow up on the first case linked to the school system.
— Bobby Hristova (@bobbyhristova) September 18, 2020
In Hamilton, there have been at least two cases of COVID-19 among children in schools. As of Sept. 18, there have been at least 25 COVID-19 cases among students across Ontario’s publicly-funded schools.
A previous email from Alexander, dated Aug. 27, wrote that “there is no reason to test people without coronavirus symptoms.” The Center for Disease Control published new guidelines on Aug. 24 with an unclear direction on tests for asymptomatic individuals.
“I’m worried it will give people the incorrect assumption that asymptomatic spread is not of great concern. In fact, it is.”
In an email from Dr. Hugh Auchincloss, deputy director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, he and Dr. Fauci declined an interview citing their full schedule.
PAUL ALEXANDER, the aide to Michael Caputo who personally tried to muzzle Fauci and change CDC reports, is leaving HHS, the department says in a statement. https://t.co/ep0xHyISFL
— Dan Diamond (@ddiamond) September 16, 2020
On Sept. 16, POLITICO reported that Michael Caputo will take a 60-day medical leave of absence, while Paul Alexander has left the department. It is unclear whether Alexander resigned or if he was let go. On Sept. 24, Alexander is set to appear before the Congressional Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis. This appearance is part of the subcommittee’s investigation of alleged political interference by the Department of Health and Human Services against the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 response.
When the Silhouette reached out for an interview in regards to this article, Paul Alexander declined.