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CDC says its testing fail didnt hurt US response. Experts disagree

Enlarge / Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), attends an event about coronavirus vaccine development in the Rose Garden of the White House on May 15, 2020 in Washington, DC. Getty | Drew Angerer

The botched rollout of COVID-19 testing did not cripple the countrys early response to the pandemic, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claimed Friday.

CDC Director Robert Redfield cited a new analysis published by the agency Friday. The analysis suggests the new coronavirus began spreading in the country in late January or early February—but only at low levels. The study appears in the CDCs Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

With the new data, Redfield argued that the level of spread was so low in those early days that additional testing would not have made a difference in detecting the spread of the pandemic virus. If the CDC had initially produced and scaled up a functional test for COVID-19—which it infamously failed to do—“it really would be like looking for a needle in a haystack," Redfield said, according to NPR.

Puzzlingly, he also claimed that new analysis proves the countrys outbreak surveillance systems are effective at detecting outbreaks early. The analysis drew from four lines of evidence: genetic sequences of SARS-CoV-2 isolates, testing done as part of routine influenza surveillance, emergency room records, and information on two early deaths in California that were retrospectively determined to be due to COVID-19.

"We had pretty good eyes on it," Redfield said of the outbreak. "And the availability of having a diagnostic didn't change our ability to do the surveillance."

Experts were quick to dispute Redfields claims. Michael Mina, an infectious disease expert at Harvard, told NPR that, conRead More – Source

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