Trump’s Climate Censorship Can Cost American Lives

The president’s climate censorship is preventing CDC from discussing one of the fastest growing threat to America’s health: insect-borne diseases.

Scott Pruitt

President Donald Trump and his administration have used some alarming tactics to sweep facts and figures about climate change under the rug. Be it quietly scrapping mentions of atmospheric change related language on the Environmental Protection Agency’s website or forbidding the health officials at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) from using word “science-based” in official documents for next year’s budget– the administration has taken science censorship to another level.

In the wake of such extensive revisions, CDC is unable to prepare the public for the insect-borne illnesses, which are on the rise. The leading health institute of the country reported “the number of Americans catching diseases from mosquito, flea and tick bites more than tripled in the past decade.” 

According to its latest report titles “Vital Signs,” illnesses spread by ticks – which are both costly and deadly – more than doubled between 2004 and 2016.

“The reported data substantially underestimate disease occurrence,” the CDC report said, which can largely be attributed to the fact many cases are either not reported or not diagnosed.

Though the report didn’t explicitly address the climate change, author Dr. Lyle R. Petersen, the CDC’s director of vector-borne diseases, mentioned how warmer weather, shorter winters and heat waves have contributed in surge of these illnesses.

“We know temperature is very important,” said Petersen. “If you increase temperature, in general tick populations can move further north and extend their range.” Also, “when the tick season is longer, people are exposed over longer periods.”

According to the Washington Post, an infectious disease caused by ticks, Lyme, infects about 300,000 Americans every year, which is way more than what CDC reports.

Moreover, Petersen went on to shed light on how temperature rise exacerbated the situation, as in warmer atmosphere, “The amount of virus in the mosquito increases, and when it bites you, more virus gets into you and the chances of you getting infected and becoming sick goes up.”

Petersen, who himself has gotten sick from a similar virus, gave a detailed account of how higher temperatures have enabled these tiny creatures to move all across the country and spread life-threatening diseases.

However, neither the CDC report nor its website made any mentions of climate change being the driving factor of these insect-borne diseases.

It seems it is not by choice organizations like EPA and CDC are avoiding from talking about such fundamental issues. In the past, the widely held consensus was that climate change very much exists and human activity is a driving force behind it.

Before the Trump administration came and started to rip the agencies off their scientific core, they didn’t hesitate from talking about climate change.

For instance, the CDC’s website still has a two-page report titled “Climate change increases the number and geographic range of disease-carrying insects and ticks.” But then again, the document was last updated in July 2016.

Under Trump’s appointee Scott Pruitt, who is an avid climate change denier, the EPA’s site is now riddled with distorted and buried information. Not long ago, the agency made a shocking declaration: Burning wood is carbon neutral.

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Banner / Thumbnail : Reuters

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