“That was never going to be the backbone of testing in the U.S.,” said Azar.
Public health experts said the CDC’s early testing problems allowed the novel virus to spread in the country undetected during a critical time when it could have been contained. But many high-ranking Trump officials have played down that failure, saying the CDC played a limited role in expanding test capacity. The FDA, meanwhile, was also criticized for acting too slow to approve diagnostic tests from private companies early in the outbreak.
Azar on Monday said only private companies could have marshaled the resources necessary to produce millions of tests.
“The private sector brings that to bear,” said Azar. “That’s not the CDC.“