The former public health official credited with eradicating smallpox blasted President Donald Trump's response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Bill Foege, who led the Centers for Disease Control from 1977-1983, sent a private letter to the agency's current director, Robert Redfield, and pressed him to acknowledge the administration's failures in writing and chart a new course, reported USA Today.
“You could upfront, acknowledge the tragedy of responding poorly, apologize for what has happened and your role in acquiescing,” Foege wrote Sept. 23, in a private letter obtained by the newspaper. “Don’t shy away from the fact this has been an unacceptable toll on our country. It is a slaughter and not just a political dispute.”
Foege scolded Redfield for sidelining the CDC's experts and ignoring decades of experience in the administration's response.
“This will go down as a colossal failure of the public health system of this country,” Foege wrote. “The biggest challenge in a century and we let the country down. The public health texts of the future will use this as a lesson on how not to handle an infectious disease pandemic.”
Foege confirmed the letter, and said he'd hoped it would remain private so Redfield would have a chance to change course.
So much of this is the deaths," Foege told USA Today. "It's the deaths."
“Going public can only embarrass him and it doesn't allow him to redeem himself,” the former CDC director said. “By doing this privately, he has a chance to do the right thing.”