“The leadership of the White House was thwarted by health officials,” Gottlieb said on “Face the Nation.” “We didn’t have a diagnostic in the area, so we can’t screen for it. We should have it. We should have started working on it in January. And we relied on a surveillance system that was built for the flu Was and was not without identifying coronovirus that it was not as sensitive in detecting coronavirus as it was for the flu because both viruses spread very differently. They were two significant failures. ”
Gottlieb acknowledged that while one might accuse Mr. Trump of appointing the nation’s top health officials, “the White House ultimately did not know they needed to make a decision.”
“The important function of agencies and government is to provide accurate, actionable information to policy makers. The White House did not have this,” he said, adding that he negotiated with the White House in the early months of 2020. The spread of coronavirus, but was repeatedly told by the administration’s health officials that they were convinced that the virus was not spreading throughout the country.
“I think when history looks back, it’s going to be an important moment,” Gottlieb said. “That was going to end in February.”
Mr Trump came under fierce criticism by news outlets last week for his remarks on the coronovirus epidemic after an audio clip of a recorded interview with Woodward for his new book “Rage”. In an interview with Woodward on 7 February, Mr. Trump considered coronovirus “even” more “deadly” than your deadly flu. In another interview on March 19, the president said “I always wanted to play it. I still like to play it because I don’t want to create a panic.” Woodward’s book is published by Simon & Schuster, a division of ViacomCBS.
While Gottlieb said the public message from the White House was “not clear and consistent at the outset”, the “biggest failure” in the month of February was that the US was “situationally blind.”
“We didn’t know where the virus was and wasn’t spreading, and so when it came time to shut down cities, instead of focusing on cities that were truly epidemic, like New York City, we shutdown together The order went across the country when it was now unnecessary, in retrospect, because there were too many cities where the virus wasn’t spreading at the time and we could focus on mitigation, “he said.
Gottlieb said officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were telling the White House coronavirus virus force that the virus was not spreading in the US in February. In March, however, several governors began issuing orders to stay home and once the coronavirus was spreading rapidly, it was clear that businesses should be shut down.
“They said they don’t see any spikes in people presenting with respiratory symptoms, therefore, coronaviruses should not spread. And they were adamant about it,” he said. “I was talking to White House officials during this time period. They were adamant about this.”
Gottlieb said he suspected that Mr. Trump was also being told that coronavirus was not spreading in the US
“He couldn’t affect what he did and said and his will, you know, as he said, talk it down a little bit because he was of the impression that it wasn’t spreading here in the United States,” he said. Where said “It was a truly sad mistake, not only that we did not have the information, but that we were very confident in drawing faulty information and conclusions to prove incomplete information.”