President Trump listens as Robert Redfield speaks to reporters at the White House on April 22. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Essential data to track the spread of the novel coronavirus in the U.S. is regularly delayed and incomplete when sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC Director Robert Redfield told the Financial Times on Wednesday.

The big picture: Most states still aren't doing enough coronavirus testing, especially those that have suffered from larger outbreaks, Axios' Caitlin Owens and Naema Ahmed reported this week.

What he's saying: "We're committed to stay in the containment mode, where we have to get . . . every single case and cluster, a family cluster, workplace cluster, nursing home cluster, and we’ve got to shut them down," Redfield told the FT.

  • "Sometimes that data is not collected in electronic form. Then that data needs to be centralized and sent to the states, and once it’s with the states, sent to CDC. The truth is regularly the data is delayed and it’s incomplete."

Of note: Redfield told the FT the outbreak that's brought the "nation to its knees" is "no one particular person’s fault. "This nation has been unprepared for that for decades," he said.

  • He attributed the high death toll in the United States to "a lack of funding for public health organisations," including the CDC, and the "high levels of underlying health conditions such as obesity and diabetes," the FT notes.

By the numbers: The U.S. has reported the highest number of COVID-19 deaths and cases in the world. More than 93,400 people have died from the virus and over 1.5 million have tested positive.

Go deeper: Contact tracing is the next big hurdle in the push to re-open cities

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Updated 9 hours ago - Health

World coronavirus updates

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Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced all domestic pandemic restrictions will be lifted in New Zealand from midnight Monday except in Auckland, where they'll be eased late Wednesday.

The big picture: Ardern delayed the country's election until Oct. 17 as authorities work to stamp out a coronavirus cluster in Auckland, after the re-emergence of COVID-19. There have been single-digit or zero domestic cases in NZ's most populous city since the government reintroduced restrictions.

Updated Aug 29, 2020 - Health

University of Alabama reports 1,052 COVID-19 cases since in-person classes began

Photo: Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

The University of Alabama on Friday reported an additional 485 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among students, faculty and staff since in-person classes resumed on Aug. 19, bringing the total number cases up to 1,052, according to the university's coronavirus dashboard.

Why it matters: The outbreak underscores concerns from public health experts that in-person classes could cause community spread within school populations. The total reported on Friday does not include the 381 positive tests caught when students, faculty and staff first re-entered campus.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 31,032,045 — Total deaths: 960,729— Total recoveries: 21,255,717Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 6,805,342 — Total deaths: 199,511 — Total recoveries: 2,590,671 — Total tests: 95,108,559Map.
  3. Politics: Testing czar on Trump's CDC contradictions: "Everybody is right" Ex-FDA chief: Career scientists won't be "easily cowed" by political vaccine pressure.
  4. Education: What we overlooked in the switch to remote learning.
  5. Health: The dwindling chances of eliminating COVID-19 — 7 states set single-day coronavirus case records last week.
  6. World: England sets £10,000 fine for breaking self-isolation rules — The countries painting their pandemic recoveries green.