George Floyd protests will be Covid-19 ‘seeding event,’ CDC director warns while taking heat over pandemic response
CDC head Robert Redfield has faced wrath online after urging protesters to be tested for Covid-19 and lamenting that his agency’s message is not getting through. He was reminded of the CDC’s own clumsy response to the crisis.
During a congressional hearing on the government's handling of the pandemic on Thursday, Redfield told lawmakers he was “very concerned” that the CDC’s message on the virus is not “resonating” with the public. He warned that crowded anti-police brutality demonstrations held in scores of cities over the last week could propel a spike in new cases.
“I do think there is a potential, unfortunately, for this to be a seeding event,” Redfield said of the protests, calling on anyone who took part in marches or demonstrations to get tested for the coronavirus.
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The way to minimize that is to have each individual recognize it is an advantage to them to protect their loved ones, to [say] “hey, I was out, I need to go get tested.”
Tim Walz, the governor of Minnesota – where the protests kicked off last week – echoed Redfield’s advice, calling on “anyone who demonstrated” to get tested, especially those showing symptoms.
Anyone who demonstrated should receive a test for COVID-19. If you think you’ve been exposed, get a test 5 days after the event. If that test turns up negative, get tested again 14 days after the event. If you start to experience symptoms, get tested right away. #StaySafeMNhttps://t.co/lF3JgWwlAv— Governor Tim Walz (@GovTimWalz) June 4, 2020
While Redfield’s warning about mass gatherings may have been somewhat obvious, it did not go over well with critics, who observed that, despite a surge in screenings in the US, testing is still not available for many – thanks in part to the CDC’s delayed response in the early stages of the outbreak and its “botched” test kits.
They still think that it's just as easy as walking into a clinic & asking for a test. I know people who have had people who've tested positive in their house & they still get denied testing because they aren't showing enough symptoms. This "everyone can get tested" is a scam.— H. Fox (@CCtapwater) June 4, 2020
Some took shots at the agency’s confusing advice on face coverings – initially saying they weren’t necessary, only to reverse course later – while others argued Redfield’s warning was too little, too late, and would have been more useful while the larger protests were still ongoing.
All they did is discourage mask use— Robyn (@ballerinaoaf) June 4, 2020
Umm, perhaps warning the protestors to wear masks and social distance might have helped.Instead we heard, meh, about both from so called health experts and media.So now you got more problems getting the rest of us to pay attention to you. Many are no longer listening to you.— Patty62R (@Patty62R) June 4, 2020
The press coverage of Redfield’s remarks was also lambasted, drawing comparisons to the media’s far less charitable “framing” of anti-lockdown protesters that have taken to the streets in a number of cities over the last few months.
I love it. If you protested the lockdown or went to a public gathering 2 weeks ago you were killing old people. Now there is a CHANCE this could cause a second wave. Framing is everything, right guys?— Augustus (@OctTrium) June 4, 2020
So America the head of the CDC was testifying on Capitol Hill today. Evidently the Pandemic is over because these science based testimonies are chocked full of valuable information for the country are only available on CSPAN? Should be on every major MSM network! #REDFIELD#CDCpic.twitter.com/q9BRCUTa7a— Sorry Charlie 🍀🍀🍀🍀 (@smacktuna) June 4, 2020
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