Dr. Robert Redfield says he heard that public health opportunities are underfunded as the United States sees more than 2.3 million cases.
The head of public health in the U.S. told Congress Tuesday that the coronavirus “has brought this nation to its knees” as America struggles with more than 2.3 million confirmed cases and more than 121,000 deaths so far.
Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said at a hearing in Washington, D.C. that major public health opportunities in the United States have been significantly underfunded for a long time and need urgent investment.
“We have done everything we can to cope with this virus, and the reality is that it has brought this country to its knees”, – Redfield told the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
“We will probably spend $7tn because of one small virus”, – he added.
He said the U.S. “has used the potential we have” to counter the pandemic, but that “critics will be there”.
The Trump administration has been heavily criticized for its slow and shaky early response to the coronavirus as it spread from Asia and Europe to the U.S. in early 2020, especially as Donald Trump has repeatedly downplayed the risk of Covid-19 and the damage it would cause the U.S..
Redfield said the U.S. has chronically underinvested in “core public health capabilities,” including data analysis, “laboratory stability,” public health human resources, emergency response capabilities and “our global health security around the world,” adding that “now is the time” to increase costs.
Earlier at the hearing, Dr. Anthony Fauci, U.S. chief infectious disease expert, showed that the country would be doing more Covid-19 tests, not less, a few hours after the president insisted he was serious when he said at the weekend rally that he called for tests to slow down in the United States.
Coronavirus cases continue to rise in about half the states, but Trump said at a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that increased testing makes the U.S. look bad and that he asked the staff to slow down. His spokesman later said the remarks were “joking,” but the president stood on them Tuesday, telling reporters the comments were not a joke.
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However, speaking to a Congressional committee a few hours later, Fauci said: “I know for a fact that none of us have ever been told to slow down testing. It’s just a fact. In fact, we’ll do more testing.”