More details are emerging as to how the United States got off to a slow start in combating the COVID-19 coronavirus epidemic spreading across the globe.
Politico reported on one particularly shocking aspect of the failed response in a new report the publication is billing as an exclusive.
"As health department officials worked quickly to negotiate an emergency funding package to fight the spreading coronavirus outbreak on Feb. 23, they came to a frustrating realization: Their email system had crashed," Politico reported. "The outage in the Health and Human Services secretary’s office stretched on much of the day, with some messages delayed up to 11 hours, creating frustration and slowing the Trump administration’s coronavirus response."
It turned out one of HHS's own agencies was responsible.
"The HHS officials soon discovered the culprit: An email test conducted by the team at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a branch of the health department that hadn’t briefed HHS leaders or alerted the department’s chief information officer before sending thousands of messages through their shared system. Although it was a Sunday, top officials were negotiating with the White House over a soon-to-be-announced coronavirus funding plan and tackling other urgent decisions — which were interrupted by the email outage," Politico reported.
"The previously unreported episode was the latest in a series of information technology snafus caused by the department’s Medicare branch dating back more than a year. This time, HHS decided to remove the agency’s control over its own email operations and launch an audit of its entire information technology infrastructure," Politico reported.
In a day-long snafu last month, HHS officials lost email access while working to negotiate a funding package to fig… https://t.co/TUoT5Qzdjj— POLITICO (@POLITICO)1583892714.0