The week America lost the fight against the new coronavirus, the nation’s premier health agency promised local officials it had the virus under control.
It was the third week in February. Senior leaders at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention repeatedly brushed off calls to take COVID-19 more seriously.
They dismissed concerns from Minnesota to Hawaii that their plan to contain the outbreak by screening overseas travelers was riddled with inconsistencies.
They punted questions from state officials worried that returning travelers could spread the coronavirus when they showed no symptoms.
For days, they refused to test a California woman because she had not traveled overseas. When she tested positive, the CDC downplayed the fact that the patient – who became known as Patient Zero – proved the virus was spreading within the USA.