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Navarro: CDC’s response ‘let the country down’

WASHINGTON — One of President Donald Trump’s top economic advisers is criticizing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s early response to the coronavirus outbreak, saying it “let the country down” after initial delays with testing.

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro declined to say when asked Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” whether Trump had confidence in the CDC to lead the U.S. pandemic response, saying that was a question for the president.

But Navarro says the CDC “set us back” in the early weeks of the outbreak.

CDC struggled to develop its own diagnostic test for the coronavirus in January, later discovering problems in its kits sent to state and county public health labs in early February.

It took the CDC more than two weeks to come up with a fix, leading to delays in diagnoses as the virus rapidly spread.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on Sunday said he disagreed the CDC had let the nation down. He told CBS’ “Face the Nation”: “I believe the CDC serves an important public health role.”

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