CDC director warns: Public health labs are underequipped and understaffed

Friday, March 13, 2020
By Paul Martin

by: Franz Walker
Friday, March 13, 2020

As the threat of a COVID-19 outbreak looms over the country, officials now warn that the U.S. may not be ready for it. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated that both state and local health labs do not have enough equipment or staff to handle an outbreak.

“The truth is we’ve not invested, we’ve under-invested in the public health labs,” stated CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield at a House Appropriations hearing for the 2021 CDC budget. “There’s not enough equipment, there’s not enough people, there’s not enough internal capacity, there’s no surge capacity.”

Lawmakers grill CDC on budget

The House hearing initially sought to address the concerns about the CDC’s 2021 budget. However, lawmakers’ questions for Director Redfield focused more on the coronavirus outbreak, particularly on the slow rollout of testing kits across the country.

Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Wash., questioned Redfield’s claims. The congresswoman, who represents the state’s third congressional district, noted that while her congressional colleagues were able to quickly obtain tests and results, some of her constituents were still waiting.

“I find it interesting that when my colleagues were able to get tested almost immediately and quickly receive their results while folks in my district and across Washington state are unable to get their testing results back,” stated Beutler.

25 people have already died in Washington state, according to data from the CDC. Of those, at least 19 can be linked to the Life Care nursing home in Kirkland, based on local official tallies.

On Sunday, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar mentioned that the U.S. had 75,000 test kits during an interview in ABC’s This Week. The HHS Secretary then claimed that the supply would expand radically over the following weeks.

Lack of test kits made worse by quality control issues

In addition to the lack of testing kits, the CDC’s testing efforts were initially marred by quality control issues that delayed the testing for many Americans. The CDC confirmed Sunday that it was investigating a manufacturing defect in some of the initial coronavirus testing kits.

The issues have prompted some states to ask the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for permission to use their own, locally developed test kits. The FDA has since allowed laboratories to immediately use test kits they have developed and validated, in an effort to achieve a more rapid testing capacity for the disease.

Since then, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn stated that the agency is working hand in hand with the CDC to resolve the issues with the test components.

“FDA has confidence in the design and current manufacturing of the test that already have and are continuing to be distributed,” stated Hahn. “These tests have passed extensive quality control procedures.”

CDC’s budget slashed in recent years

The Rest…HERE

One Response to “CDC director warns: Public health labs are underequipped and understaffed”

  1. Citizen Kane

    Maybe they should compile a list of those who retired from the medical field and ask for their assistance. Lack of funding is a joke. The whole medical industry has been price gouging the American people for decades. Maybe it’s time to give back what they stole. We have no equipment because everything is made outside the U.S.. Now we get to see the true repercussions of moving our industries and jobs to other countries for cheaper taxes and labor.

Join the revolution in 2018. Revolution Radio is 100% volunteer ran. Any contributions are greatly appreciated. God bless!

Follow us on Twitter