Dr. Robert R. Redfield, the director of the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention, will depart his put up 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 one of the crucial tumultuous intervals in its historical past. He was ceaselessly criticized for transferring too slowly to guard the US from the coronavirus, particularly relating to the preliminary rollout of coronavirus exams, whereas being attacked by Mr. Trump and others throughout the administration for contradicting their overly optimistic situations of the doubtless course of the pandemic.
On the weekend earlier than his departure, Dr. Redfield talked in an interview about his challenges and his disappointments. Listed below 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 could have been extra rewarding to go away when the pandemic is below management, however I do really feel proud.
I encourage the president-elect to deal with his pledge to get individuals 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 individuals a day. We laid a basis for vaccine administration. I discover it unlucky when some individuals counsel that the vaccine program delivering a million a day is one way or the other a catastrophe — however will probably 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 individuals 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 discuss reveals saying that our vaccine program was a catastrophe and so they inherited a large number. I’d fairly they might be grateful. That’s higher dialogue than political hyperbole.
What was your biggest disappointment?
My biggest 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 completely different elements of our society have completely different views on what wanted to be performed. Controlling the pandemic was at all times, in my opinion, 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 maintain companies, hospitals, et cetera, open and do it in a secure and accountable manner. There are some elements of our economic system that might want to have some restrictions. I’d argue that having individuals in a crowded bar, consuming 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 tips on how to put it collectively independently. So the truth is we’re in for some very troublesome instances, and I believe I’d have cherished to have been proved unsuitable. I nonetheless imagine the worst is but to return.