Former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said Sunday that “the White House leadership was failed by health officials” early on in the novel coronavirus crisis by U.S. health officials who may have given President Trump a too-optimistic diagnosis.
Mr. Gottlieb said that Centers for Disease Control officials were relying in February on the “influenza-like illness surveillance network,” which showed no spike in patients with respiratory symptoms, causing them to conclude that “the coronavirus must not be spreading.”
“I was talking to White House officials over this time period. They were adamant about that,” Mr. Gottlieb said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “And I suspect the president was being told as well that this virus wasn’t spreading in the United States. And that may have impacted what he did and didn’t say, and his willingness to, as he said, talk it down a little bit, because he was of the perception that this was not spreading here in the United States.”