This is an excerpt from the author’s new book, “A Plague Upon Our House,” which releases December 7 and is available now for preorder.
[CDC Director Robert] Redfield’s congressional testimony on September 23 immediately caught my attention. I watched in disbelief as Redfield told Congress that “more than 90 percent of the population”—more than three hundred million people in the US—remains susceptible to the illness.
The statement was based on incomplete and outdated data, as well as an apparent lack of understanding of the literature, and it struck me as one of the most erroneous and fear-inducing proclamations of any public health official to that moment. Approximately two hundred thousand Americans had already died from COVID; the last thing the public needed was an exaggeration