The Covid-19 pandemic would have been “extraordinarily different” if the United States had stronger public health infrastructure, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told a Senate committee on Wednesday.
Walensky spoke in response to a question from Sen. Patty Murray, a Democrat from Washington, on how things would have been different in the US had the country invested in tools such as genomic sequencing capabilities earlier.
“I think they would have been extraordinarily different. We would have had content tracers on the ground ready to go. We would have been able to identify cases quickly. We would have been able to see single, outbreaks and clusters that we might not have been able to pin down to contact trace and not have expand,” she said.
“I think the testing – the inability of our public health systems to be able to conduct these tests in massive scale – didn't allow us to find the disease where it was. Certainly we hadn't done genomic sequencing until January,” Walensky said.
“We didn't know anything about the variants that were circulating here. There are numerous ways that this could have gone better if we had had a more robust public health infrastructure across all of those domains," she added.