The US is confronting coronavirus without the CDC. It’s ‘like fighting with one hand tied behind your back,’ ex-director says.
CLOSE Dr. Tom Frieden, former head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, warns of ‘catastrophic scenes’ in New York. USA TODAYThe United States’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic is haphazard, uncoordinated and sorely missing the guidance of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that agency’s former director told USA TODAY on Tuesday. And the “extraordinary” absence of the nation’s lead public health agency at the forefront of the coronavirus fight makes Tom Frieden feel “less safe.”Now president of the nonprofit Resolve to Save Lives, Frieden advises other nations on how to organize against epidemics. He said global best practice is to designate one incident manager reporting to a health department official who then communicates to the head of state.Same virus, different approach: These 5 maps show how states differ on protecting Americans against coronavirusThat’s not how it’s working in the U.S. “We’ve heard that FEMA’s in charge. We’ve heard that the vice president’s in charge. We’ve heard that (U.S. Ambassador-at-Large) Dr. (Deborah) Birx is the coordinator. We’ve heard that (Health and Human Services Secretary Alex) Azar is in charge of the task force. Who’s on first here?” Frieden told USA TODAY’s Editorial Board on a video call.The one agency that definitely isn’t in charge is the