HHS spokesperson Caputo announces cancer diagnosis

Michael Caputo, the health department's controversial spokesperson who took medical leave last week, has been diagnosed with cancer, according to a statement shared with reporters on Thursday.

"After surgery last week at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, doctors diagnosed Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services Michael Caputo with squamous cell carcinoma, a metastatic head and neck cancer which originated in his throat," according to a statement from David DiPietro, a New York State assemblymember who is serving as Caputo's spokesperson. "He is now home in Western New York, resting in the loving arms of his family, under the watchful eye of Jesus Christ."

Caputo began a 60-day medical leave last week, following reports that he and his team sought to meddle in reports produced by the Centers for Disease Control and further pressure government scientists on their response to Covid-19. Caputo also recorded a Facebook video where he accused CDC scientists of seeking to undermine President Donald Trump and warned of armed insurrection.

Caputo, a longtime Trump loyalist, was installed at HHS in April at the president's direction. In Thursday's statement, Caputo thanked Trump, HHS Secretary Alex Azar and National Cancer Institute officials, including director Ned Sharpless and Surgeon-in-Chief Jeremy Davis.

Caputo also urged "all Americans to stop delaying their healthcare, especially cancer screenings, during the COVID19 crisis," according to the statement. "Call your family doctor today."

The Buffalo News first reported Caputo's diagnosis.

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