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The White House rejected on Monday an offer from the nation’s public health experts to lead the effort to track down and notify Americans who were exposed to a growing coronavirus outbreak linked to President Donald Trump and several top aides.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is widely considered the federal government’s authority in contact tracing, the public health best practice of reaching out to people at risk of acquiring an infectious disease and to identify others who were subsequently exposed.

In interviews and internal CDC communications reviewed by USA TODAY, current and former agency officials accused the White House of seeking to avoid learning the scope of the outbreaks. Without an independent