The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shut down on Wednesday a Washington Post headline that he said gave a misleading impression of his comments about an impending “second wave” of the coronavirus, Breitbart reported.
Robert Redfield explained that he was speaking about the cumulative effect of the virus and the normal flu coinciding — not trying to say that the new virus would be deadlier in the fall — when he warned about a resurgence of the coronavirus. “I really do think it’s important to clarify this, as we build the confidence of the American people,” Redfield said, according to Breitbart.
CDC chief shuts down Fake News
In an interview published Tuesday, Redfield told the Post that a second wave would be “even more difficult” because “we’re going to have the flu epidemic and the coronavirus epidemic at the same time.” The coinciding outbreaks could overload hospitals, Redfield told the paper, which tagged his comments as describing a “more devastating” outbreak in the headline.
“There’s a possibility that the assault of the virus on our nation next winter will actually be even more difficult than the one we just went through,” Redfield said, according to the Post. “And when I’ve said this to others, they kind of put their head back, they don’t understand what I mean.”
Trump had given a hint of his discontent, tweeting on Wednesday that the article “misquoted” Redfield and that a clarification would come at the evening’s press briefing, where Trump slammed the article as “fake news,” according to The Hill. Redfield said at the presser that he was quoted accurately, but that the headline was misleading.
“I didn’t say that this was going to be worse. I said it was going to be more difficult and potentially more complicated because we would have flu and coronavirus circulating at the same time,” Redfield said, according to The Hill.
The CDC head explained that his hope was to encourage Americans to get their flu shots in order to lessen the strain on hospitals in the fall.
Fears of a “second wave”
The talk of a “second wave” comes as some states begin, or look forward to, relaxing “stay-at-home” orders enacted to fight the coronavirus. Many other governors say that they don’t have the testing apparatus in place to safely end the draconian lockdowns, which have devastated the economy.
The lockdowns, which have caused 26 million Americans to file for unemployment in just weeks, according to NBC News, have sparked anger and protests in states around the country. President Trump has expressed sympathy for the protesters, but Redfield told the Post that they’re “not helpful,” echoing Dr. Anthony Fauci, the public face of Trump’s virus response.
While the president has expressed an eagerness to open the economy, he said Thursday that he may extend social distancing guidelines until the summer, CNBC reported, and he has also notably chastised Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp for appearing to move too fast in relaxing lockdowns, according to the New York Post.
In the meantime, many in the mainstream media have consistently blamed Trump for the virus, presenting the president as thin-skinned, ignorant of expertise, and eager to point the finger. A consistent motif has been that Trump is in tension with his experts — or even manipulating them to make “clarifications” when they contradict him.
Another game of telephone was sparked on Thursday when Trump mused about injecting disinfectant to cure coronavirus patients, prompting a media firestorm that falsely accused the president of encouraging people to drink bleach.