“The introduction from Europe took place before we realized what was going on,” Redfield said. “By the time we realized the threat to Europe and stopped traveling to Europe, it was probably two or three weeks before 60,000 people returned from Europe every day,” he added.
During an ABC interview, Redfield also acknowledged that there were problems with the federal response.
“Yes, there were mistakes,” he said. “And yes, we fail. We do everything we can and try to make the best decisions.”
The CDC director discussed his initial response to the news about something mysterious happening in central China.
He said he received a phone call on New Year’s Eve last year to warn of an incident involving a respiratory disorder in Wuhan, and he told ABC he knew it was serious. He said he wrote the first situation report on the incident the very next day.
“We thought it could be a very serious situation affecting national security.”
The CDC was ready to send a team of scientists within a week, but the Chinese government refused to allow them, Redfield says. That’s what he mentioned earlier, and cited the reason why the U.S. later began identifying the dangerous virus. and take action.
He also said he was optimistic that the country could gain an advantage in the fight against coronavirus.
“I would like us to come together now and understand and see an opportunity to overcome this pandemic,” he said.
“This virus can be defeated if people just put on a mask.”
Jen Christensen and Devan Cole contributed to this report.