The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday tried to clarify comments he made about a “second wave” of coronavirus this fall, saying people should not think the pathogen itself will come back harder.
Goaded on by President Trump, Robert Redfield said the winter season could be more difficult because the flu and coronavirus might be circulating at the same time.
“I didn’t say [the virus] was going to be worse,” the director said. “I said it was going to be complicated, or difficult.”
Dr. Redfield said he was accurately quoted in a Washington Post story that sparked fears of another wave of sickness, even as the U.S. combats the depths of the pandemic now.
Mr. Trump, however, had an issue with the headline: “CDC director warns second wave of coronavirus is likely to be even more devastating.”
“I spoke to [Dr. Redfield] and he said it was ridiculous. He was talking about the flu and corona coming together at the same time. He didn’t say it was a ‘big explosion.’ The headline was ridiculous,” Mr. Trump said.
The president said Dr. Redfield was “totally misquoted” in the media, singling out CNN, but didn’t say what was wrong, sparking a tense back-and-forth with the assembled media.
Mr. Trump said the U.S. will be better prepared to deal with the coronavirus this fall, theorizing it will crop up slowly.
“You could have a mess if they come at the same time. If we have embers with corona coupled with the flu, that’s not going to be pleasant. But it’s not going to be what we’ve gone through in any way, shape or form,” Mr. Trump said. “It may not come back at all.”
Anthony Fauci, a top scientist on the White House coronavirus task force, said “we will have coronavirus in the fall” but the U.S. won’t be caught flat-footed.
“In the fall we will be much, much better prepared to do the kind of containment compared to what happened to us this winter,” Dr. Fauci said.