Ex-CDC director on US, COVID-19: 'We are a laggard'

Ex-CDC director on US, COVID-19: 'We are a laggard'
© Getty Images

Former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Tom Frieden on Sunday said the U.S. had been a “laggard” in addressing the coronavirus pandemic, specifically pointing to lack of centralized information.

“I’ll be frank, we are a laggard,” Frieden said on “Fox News Sunday.” “We are one of the top in the world in terms of the cumulative death rate unlike many other countries that have high death rates, ours is continuing to increase.”


“One of the things that concerns me most is we are not on the same page,” he added, noting the lack of uniformity on the information on state websites. “Every person in this country should be able to know very easily what’s the risk in my community and how well is my community doing bringing that risk down so I and my family can be safer …we need to know things like of the cases that were diagnosed today, how many of them were isolated within 48 hours.”

“That’s how other countries are getting a handle on this epidemic and we can do that here also but we need to be on the same page, we need to focus on measurements that matter, we need to make those publicly available,” he said.

Frieden also addressed the question of how to safely send children back to school in the fall, noting research on the relative safety of children who contract the virus.

“The severity of COVID is fairly similar to the severity of seasonal influenza for kids but that’s just one part of the equation—what about the staff, what about the teachers, what about the people in the homes of kids that those kids then could infect?” he added, noting lack of clarity on children’s capacity to both contract and spread the virus.

“Any community can open schools, the hard part is opening them and keeping them open, and only a community that both controls COVID and opens schools carefully is going to be able to do that,” he added.