The U.S. was slow in recognizing coronavirus threats from Europe, Robert Redfield, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), admitted for the first time in an interview with ABC News Tuesday.
“The introduction from Europe happened before we realized what was happening,” Redfield said, adding that there was probably already two or three weeks of 60,000 people coming back every day from Europe by the time the U.S. realized the Europe threat and shut down travel to the continent.
A report of CDC released last month also showed that sequences of most early coronavirus-positive specimens in New York City (NYC) resembled those circulating in Europe, suggesting probable introductions of the virus from Europe, other U.S. locations, and local introductions from within New York.
The CDC director called on people to take protection measures.
“We have the most powerful weapon in our hands right now… It’s just a simple, flimsy mask,” he said. “This virus can be defeated if people just wear a mask.”