Trump administration was slow to recognize coronavirus threat from Europe, admits CDC director

“The introduction from Europe happened before we realized what was happening,” said Redfield. “When we realized (the) threat from Europe and closed the trip to Europe, there were probably already two or three weeks of 60,000 people returning every day from Europe,” he added.

The United States restricted travel from China on February 2 and from Europe on March 13, but by March 8, Covid-19 was already circulating among the community in New York City, and by March 15, the Community transmission of the virus was already widespread, a recent analysis by the CDC found.
By the time the Trump administration banned travelers from Europe, the virus was already spreading in New York City, according to the report. Testing was also limited at the beginning of the epidemic, allowing people with undetected cases to transmit the virus.

During the ABC interview, Redfield also admitted that there have been problems with the federal response.


“Yes, there have been mistakes,” he said. “And yes, we fail. We are doing the best we can and we are trying to make the best judgments we can.”

The CDC director discussed his initial response to the news that something mysterious is happening in central China.

He said he received a phone call on New Year’s Eve last year alerting him to an incident related to a respiratory condition in Wuhan and told ABC that he knew it was serious. He said he wrote the first status report on the incident the next day.

“We feel that this had the potential to be a very serious situation that had national security implications.”

The CDC was ready to dispatch a team of scientists within a week, but the Chinese government refused to let them in, Redfield said, something it said earlier and pointed to as one reason why the US began identifying the virus. dangerous. and taking action.

He also said he is optimistic that the country can take the lead in the battle against the coronavirus.

“I wish that we would now come together and recognize and see the possibility that we can overcome this pandemic,” he said.

“We are not powerless. We do not have to wait for a vaccine, although I think we will succeed sooner than many people think. We have the most powerful weapon in our hands right now, I mean it is an enormously powerful weapon. It is just a mask simple and flimsy, “said Redfield.

“This virus can be defeated if people simply wear a mask.”

Jen Christensen and Devan Cole contributed to this report.