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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield told the "Fox News Rundown" Tuesday that one result of the coronavirus pandemic gripping the nation and world should be an "overinvestment" in public health.
"When it comes to public health, this is something you need to overinvest in, not underinvest in over decades," Redfield told host Jessica Rosenthal. "If you look at any any health system in any state, the public health resources have been underinvested in.
"I think, if anything, now the American public can see it in the flesh that one of the most important things this nation can do is have an overprepared public health system. I mean, everyone has been working for several decades on being prepared. I don't think anybody really could have imagined just the magnitude -- When I say this is the greatest public health crisis this nation has had in over 100 years, that's not an exaggeration."
Redfield also addressed the early issues with the supply of coronavirus tests, which critics say hampered the initial response to the outbreak.
"When CDC developed the test, we developed it so it can run on equipment that the public health labs have," he said, "and the public health labs have equipment on thermal cyclers that we use for the flu surveillance system. And yet that's a lower, lower and lower number of samples ... "
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"There's another aspect to testing, not public health testing, but commercial matters. And that has never been CDC responsibility," Redfield added. " [So] when people sort of conflate and say, 'Well, why didn't CDC do that?' No ... really what has to happen is in the private sector. And they have to scale that up. And yeah, you see, it's been scaled up quite dramatically."
Redfield also described the CDC's guidelines to combat the spread of the coronavirus, including the practice of social distancing and the discouraging of gatherings of 10 or more people, as "a streamlined, powerful weapon" against the virus.
"If we all fully embrace this, we will accelerate the end of this outbreak in America [and] will save lots of lives of the most vulnerable among us. And this is why I'm asking everybody to do it," he said.
I think it's important to realize that if the average time from infections [to showing] symptoms is ... between five and six days, that some of it may be as long as, you know, 10, 11, 12 [days] -- that as we launched those guidelines seven days ago [March 16], the infections that had already happened, we just hadn't seen them yet. And so now as we get into day eight, nine, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 ... we will begin to start to see the impact of those guidelines, but that's dependent also on the number of American public that actually have taken these to heart."
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