Faced with an unprecedented pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made significant errors, and it and state and local public health agencies have been woefully underfunded for years. But the root cause of the failures you outline is an administration that failed to establish a coherent national strategy and structure to fight the pandemic and squandered the critical months of January and February, when the C.D.C. warned that we must “act as if this is a pandemic.”
The administration, including the Food and Drug Administration, failed to scale up testing by hospital and commercial laboratories or produce protective equipment or ventilators. It burdened the C.D.C. with low-priority actions tracking cruise ships and returning citizens, delayed following the C.D.C.’s advice to restrict cruise ships and travel from Europe, stifled its ability to speak directly to the public, delayed its recommendations and contradicted and overruled its scientists.