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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Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves issued a statewide mask mandate on Tuesday for those in public, as well as for teachers and students going back to school.

The big picture: 34 states, in addition to the District of Columbia, have issued some form of mask mandate as infections surge across the country.

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The death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 700,000 early Wednesday, Johns Hopkins data shows.

By the numbers: More than 18.5 million people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus and over 11.1 million have recovered.

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NYC health commissioner resigns in protest of De Blasio's coronavirus response

Dr. Oxiris Barbot attends a Mayor bill de Blasio briefing on August 3. Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

New York City health commissioner Oxiris Barbot resigned Tuesday, citing "deep disappointment" that Mayor Bill de Blasio did not use the full extent of available disease control expertise to handle the pandemic, the New York Times reports.

Context: De Blasio has faced criticism from health officials for handing control of the city's army of coronavirus contract tracers to the public hospital system, rather than the health department, according to the Times. The health department conducted contact tracing at the start of the outbreak and has decades of experience doing the same for diseases like tuberculosis, HIV and Ebola.