Dr. Robert R. Redfield, the director of the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention, will depart his submit on Wednesday. An infectious-disease specialist with a deal with therapies for AIDS/H.I.V., Dr. Redfield led the general public well being company throughout some of the tumultuous intervals in its historical past. He was continuously criticized for transferring too slowly to guard the USA from the coronavirus, particularly relating to the preliminary rollout of coronavirus exams, whereas being attacked by Mr. Trump and others inside the administration for contradicting their overly optimistic eventualities of the seemingly course of the pandemic.
On the weekend earlier than his departure, Dr. Redfield talked in an interview about his challenges and his disappointments. Listed here are two of his notable responses.
(This interview has been edited and condensed.)
What’s it like to go away now, earlier than the pandemic is over?
It’s exhausting to go away at a time when the pandemic nonetheless hasn’t reached its peak and the worst days haven’t come. It will have been extra rewarding to go away when the pandemic is underneath management, however I do really feel proud.
I encourage the president-elect to deal with his pledge to get folks vaccinated in 100 days. I’m glad we gave him a basis to construct on. Final week, we had two days after we vaccinated a million folks a day. We laid a basis for vaccine administration. I discover it unlucky when some folks recommend that the vaccine program delivering a million a day is one way or the other a catastrophe — however it is going to be a mannequin when the Biden administration does it.
I’m not making an attempt to criticize the Biden administration in any respect. However he’s pledged to do 100 million folks in 100 days. We’re on the verge of delivering a million a day, and but I heard his chief of employees on the Sunday speak reveals saying that our vaccine program was a catastrophe they usually inherited a multitude. I’d fairly they’d be grateful. That’s higher dialogue than political hyperbole.
What was your best disappointment?
My best disappointment was the dearth of consistency of public well being messaging and the inconsistency of civic leaders to bolster the general public well being message. You possibly can learn between the strains what meaning — “civic leaders.”
You possibly can see that totally different elements of our society have totally different views on what wanted to be finished. Controlling the pandemic was all the time, for my part, aligned successfully with sustaining the financial well being of our nation. It wasn’t an both/or — we confirmed that in faculties. You possibly can nonetheless hold companies, hospitals, et cetera, open and do it in a protected and accountable means. There are some elements of our financial system that might want to have some restrictions. I might argue that having folks in a crowded bar, ingesting three or 4 beers with out their masks, speaking louder and louder in order that they spray their respiratory secretions additional and additional, might be one thing that must be curtailed.
However the truth that we didn’t have an alignment meant we had the personal sector and public sector all wrestling with how one can put it collectively independently. So the fact is we’re in for some very troublesome instances, and I feel I might have beloved to have been proved unsuitable. I nonetheless consider the worst is but to return.