“We didn’t get ahead of the outbreak. And the CDC in its history would have always gotten ahead of the outbreak,” said Eric Topol, founder and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute in La Jolla, California, citing the agency’s work on Ebola, Zika and other diseases that have threatened the world. “Lives have been lost. It’s not just the CDC. It’s the entire government.”…

“The singular egregious failure was the lack of having a test ready, at scale, with all that was happening in China,” said Topol. “It was their job to be ready for the worst-case scenario. Ready to do millions of tests throughout the country. Because that didn’t occur, everything that has happened since then is attributable to that failure.’’

Redfield maintains that that’s a misunderstanding of the agency’s responsibilities, and predicted the CDC would come out of the pandemic stronger. “Our public-health capacity for decades to come is going to be strengthened, the core capabilities are going to be finally brought to where they need to be,” he said. “We’re going to have laboratory capacity that has enormous redundancy.”