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Frieden: I’d feel a lot safer if CDC’s role in coronavirus response was clear

Former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention head Tom Frieden on Sunday expressed concern over what he perceived as the CDC’s relative lack of involvement in the public response to the coronavirus outbreak.

“I would feel a lot safer if it were clear that the CDC were both at the table and at the podium,” Frieden said on “Fox News Sunday” after guest host John Roberts noted that it had been several days since the CDC’s current leader, Robert Redfield, made a public appearance.

“They have more than 700 medical professionals … fighting this without the CDC central to the response has never been done with an infectious disease in the U.S. before and it’s like fighting with one hand behind your back,” Frieden said.

“Sadly, in places like New York City and elsewhere, I’m afraid we will see an increasing number of health-care workers infected and the potential that we will overwhelm some of our intensive care capacity, that’s what I’m most concerned about in the coming week,” he added. “That’s why in New York City and elsewhere people are scrambling to scale up the capacity to care for patients safely but that’s not easy to do.”

Roberts also asked Frieden for his thoughts on President Trump’s frequent touting of anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine as a potential treatment for the virus, despite lack of FDA approval for that use.

“We all hope there’ll be good treatment for people with severe infection for this virus because that would make a big difference,” Frieden said, adding “things seem promising but until you really study them, until you really figure out does it work, we don’t know.”






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