“And as a result the nation got weeks behind.”
Former assistant secretary of Human and Health Services (HHS) Chris Meekins told James Rosen, a Sinclair investigative reporter, that the CDC lied to President Trump and HHS Secretary Alex Azar about its ability to produce a Wuhan coronavirus test.
Trump and his administration have received a lot of criticism over tests. Now it looks like the anger should go to the CDC.
In making the allegation, Chris Meekins, a former assistant secretary of Health and Human Services for preparedness and response, cited private discussions he has held in recent weeks with top federal officials and physicians and scientists employed in private-sector industries that are active in the anti-coronavirus effort. Meekins described his contacts on the White House Coronavirus Task Force as “friends,” some of whom he has known for many years.
“From my conversations with members of the task force, both inside and outside the administration,” Meekins told Sinclair in an exclusive interview, “The U.S. government, from Secretary Azar to the president relied on the Centers for Disease Control to produce a test; they failed….CDC said they would handle it….What we have found out is that these leaders at the CDC lied to both the HHS secretary and, by extension, the president. And as a result the nation got weeks behind.”
The mess began on February 3:
On February 3, CDC invoked public health emergency laws to petition the Food and Drug Administration to allow medical professionals to make use of unapproved medical and diagnostic products that included these test kits.
FDA issued its approval the next day. With that green light, a special unit of CDC, the International Reagent Resource (IRR), began shipping off the test kits. “Shortly thereafter,” CDC later disclosed, laboratories started noticing “performance issues” with the test kits, with the end result of laboratory personnel “not being able to verify the test performance.”
The core issue was said to be a defect “in the manufacturing of one of the reagents,” the center said. “CDC is remanufacturing the reagents with more robust quality control measures,” the center’s website noted, adding that new tests would be distributed “once this issue has been addressed.”
It makes you wonder “what if” the red tape and regulations did not exist because then the private sector could have easily developed tests to ship out. Why must we solely rely on the government for everything?
Unfortunately, it took this disaster to force the Trump administration to turn to the private sector:
More recently, [Head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony] Fauci has intimated publicly that the Trump administration’s experience with CDC in this urgent period was an unhappy one, with the transition to a greater role for the private sector reflecting the administration’s displeasure. “What we can say,” Fauci told CBS News’ “Face the Nation” last Sunday, is that “now that we have the private sector involved, we’re going to see an entirely different scene than we’ve seen the weeks previously, for sure.”
The CDC claimed it told Trump and his officials “to work with the private sector.” It also said:
“CDC rapidly developed a diagnostic test for CDC and the nation’s public health labs,” the statement said. “Today, more than 89 public health labs in 50 states and the District of Columbia are using the COVID-19 test.
“CDC encouraged our government partners to work with the private sector…We regret that some are being misinformed during a time when CDC and our U.S. government partners are working 24-7 to protect Americans, their families, and their communities.”
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