“The CDC was unwilling to partner with industrial labs to do tens of thousands of sequences so that you could actually see where this thing was going,” Pottinger explained in a CBS show, referring to the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic.
He proposed that one of the causes for the lack of collaboration is that over the years, the CDC has acquired an “academic kind of mindset,” and prefers to run tests internally.
Genome sequencing techniques are used by scientists to recognize a virus’s genes, which can grant insight into any mutations that occur as the disease develops.
“I’m talking about institutionally, in the belly of this institution,” Pottinger said. “They wanted to do it internally. And I think the reason for that is they want the data themselves so that they can publish.
“There’s a very powerful incentive within CDC culture to partner with academic institutions rather than private institutions and to collect data, submit for peer review, and articles that burnish your credentials.”
Pottinger explained that such a process was not fast enough when handling a pandemic.
“That’s a very slow process. That’s not the kind of incentive you want for dealing with a fast-moving pandemic,” he stated.
He further explained that the agency’s choice not to advise the public to wear face masks as a means to restrict transmission of COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP virus, until April, was a “grave misstep” by public health executives, whom he explained overcompensated because they “feared shortages” with supply chains reliant on China.
“China was not making it easy for us to get access to additional supplies. So [for] the CDC, that was an understandable thing to do. But it then made the mistake of conflating that with a set of advice that [told Americans] masks don’t work effectively for the general public. That was a big mistake,” he stated.
The agency on April 3, 2020, first suggested that face masks be worn in public settings where it can be hard to follow social distancing measures.
“The mask misstep cost us dearly,” Pottinger announced. “It was the one tool that was widely available, at least homemade, you know, cotton masks were widely available.”
He continued and said that he called some senior officials in Taiwan in early April and “asked whether they had masks available.”
“They agreed to send a shipment of half a million masks just a couple of days later,” he said. “We put those masks into the national stockpile so they’d be available to frontline medical workers.”