US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield said state and local public health labs are underequipped and understaffed.
"The truth is we've not invested, we've underinvested in the public health labs," Redfield said at a House Appropriations hearing for the 2021 CDC budget.
“There's not enough equipment, there's not enough people, there's not enough internal capacity, there's no surge capacity,” Redfield added.
“Public health labs, we built the technology in those labs to monitor flu, that uses a certain equipment, which we call thermocycler, that equipment, maybe a good lab could do 300 tests a day. University of Washington can use these high machines, like New York is about to do, those machines can do thousands, and thousands and thousands,” Redfield said.
Redfield also said that 99% of the novel coronavirus cases recently confirmed were outside of China. According to the latest numbers from the World Health Organization, which were released on Monday, there were 3,948 new cases outside China and 45 new cases in China-- roughly 1%.
“The epicenter, the new China is Europe. And there’s a lot of people coming back and forth from Europe. We’re starting to see these communities and we are moving quickly to understand how address Europe,” Redfield said.