The deputy national security adviser during the Trump Administration, Matthew Pottinger, said Sunday that during the onset of the CCP virus pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was “unwilling” to partner with industrial labs who could provide rapid COVID-19 sequencing.
“The CDC was unwilling to partner with industrial labs to do tens of thousands of sequences so that you could actually see where this thing was going,” Pottinger told CBS News’s “Face the Nation,” referring to the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic.
He suggested that one of the reasons for the lack of collaboration is that over the years, the CDC has developed an “academic kind of mindset,” and prefers to run tests internally.
Genome sequencing techniques are used by scientists to identify a virus’s genes, which can provide insight into any mutations that occur as the disease spreads.
“I’m talking about institutionally, in the belly of this institution,” Pottinger explained. “They wanted to do it internally. And I think the reason for that is they want the data themselves so that they can publish.
“There’s a very powerful incentive within CDC culture to partner with academic institutions rather than private institutions and to collect data, submit for peer review, articles that burnish your credentials.”
Pottinger suggested that such a process was not quick enough when dealing with a pandemic.
“That’s a very slow process. That’s not the kind of incentive you want for dealing with a fast-moving pandemic,” he said.
The CDC didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment by The Epoch Times.
He also said that the agency’s decision not to advise the public to wear face masks as a means to curb transmission of COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP virus, until April, was a “grave misstep” by public health officials, who he said overcompensated because they “feared shortages” with supply chains reliant on China.
“China was not making it easy for us to get access to additional supplies. So [for] the CDC, that was an understandable thing to do. But it then made the mistake of conflating that with a set of advice that [told Americans] masks don’t work effectively for the general public. That was a big mistake,” he said.
The agency on April 3, 2020, first recommended that face masks be worn in public settings where it can be challenging to adhere to social distancing measures.
“The mask misstep cost us dearly,” Pottinger said. “It was the one tool that was widely available, at least homemade, you know, cotton masks were widely available.”
He added that he called some senior officials in Taiwan in early April and “asked whether they had masks available.”
“They agreed to send a shipment of half a million masks just a couple of days later,” he said. “We put those masks into the national stockpile so they’d be available to frontline medical workers.”
The CDC announced last November that “the prevention benefit of masking is derived from the combination of source control and personal protection for the mask wearer.”
Prior to the latest update, the CDC said that wearing a mask protected those around the wearer, and not specifically the person wearing the mask.
“It was the one effective, widely available tool that we had in the arsenal to deal with this. But public health officials were stuck in this sort of flu mentality,” Pottinger said.
He added that the new director of the CDC, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, is “working hard on trying to get a far greater number of samples of this virus genetically sequenced.”
“Everyone should give as much support to her in that endeavor as possible,” he said.