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Photo: Greg Nash/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. health care system was "overwhelmed" by COVID-19's "complex, systemwide assault" and remains unprepared for another pandemic, Anne Schuchat, the No. 2 official at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a Friday interview on NPR's Morning Edition.

What she's saying: The U.S. response "wasn't a good performance," Schuchat, the principal deputy CDC director, said. "But another threat tomorrow, we're not where we need to be. We're still battling this one."

  • "And we have a lot of work to do to get better prepared for the next one. But I think there's political will that might have been missing before."
  • "I think that a severe toll was going to happen, but we have seen such variation in countries and in communities' ability to counter it," said Schuchat, who is retiring this summer after 33 years at the CDC.
  • She acknowledged "lots of great work" in communities across the U.S. and said she is encouraged by the country's commitment to doing better.
    • "We have a lot of work to do in terms of the workforce, the data, the laboratory, the community outreach. Our health care system was overwhelmed in many places. The supply chain is very interdependent internationally."
  • Though she declined to answer a question about political pressure under former President Trump, she emphasized, "I want all the questions to be answered ... so that we do better next time and prevent where we can."
    • She said she supports an investigation into the virus' origins.

The big picture: Scientists predict that infectious disease outbreaks will become more frequent. The COVID-19 pandemic showed the enormous costs of not being adequately prepared, Axios' Alison Snyder writes.

Go deeper

Jun 4, 2021 - Health

CDC head urges parents to get their teens vaccinated against COVID-19

Rochelle Walensky during a Senate subcommittee hearing in May 2021. Photo: Greg Nash/Pool/Getty Images

Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, urged parents on Friday to get their kids 12 years and older vaccinated against COVID-19.

What she's saying: "I am deeply concerned by the numbers of hospitalized adolescents and saddened to see the number of adolescents who required treatment in intensive care units or mechanical ventilation," Walensky said in a statement.

Updated 19 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Jun 4, 2021 - Health

FDA authorizes Regeneron’s COVID-19 antibody treatment for injection

Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration has approved a lower dose of Regeneron’s coronavirus treatment for injection, the company announced Friday.

Why it matters: The update to the company's emergency use authorization, which was first issued in November, will make it easier for doctors to administer the treatment to coronavirus patients, since they can now do so by simple injection rather than intravenous infusion.