The US government was slow to react to the looming coronavirus pandemic as it spread from Europe, which led to rocketing rates of infection and death in the country, a top official at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
Anne Schuchat, the second in command at the CDC, said a lack of testing and a delay in travel alerts contributed to the galloping spread of COVID-19 in the US.
‘We clearly didn’t recognize the full importations that were happening,” Schuchat told the Associated Press Friday.
The coronavirus was first detected in China late last year but the US has since become the global epicenter of the virus, with more than one million confirmed cases and over 65,000 deaths.
The CDC published an article written by Schuchat last week re-examining the US government’s response to the coronavirus. She says the country’s top public health agencies missed the opportunity to halt the spread of the disease.
Although President Trump halted travel of any foreign nationals who had been in China on Feb. 2, Schuchat said more than 2 million people arrived from Italy and other European countries in February, fueling the spread of the coronavirus.
“The extensive travel from Europe, once Europe was having outbreaks, really accelerated our importations and the rapid spread,” she told the AP. ”I think the timing of our travel alerts should have been earlier.”
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