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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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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

Sep 10, 2021 - Health

FDA "will follow the science" to approve COVID vaccine for kids under 12

A nurse gives a boy a dose of the Pfizer vaccine at a clinic. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The FDA said on Friday that it is "working around the clock" to support the process of making the coronavirus vaccine available for children under the age of 12.

Why it matters: The number of children getting hospitalized due to the virus is increasing, with some infectious disease doctors worrying that the Delta variant could be causing more serious illness in kids.

Education Department investigating Florida over mask mandate ban

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at a press conference. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images.

The Education Department announced Friday that it is investigating Florida over its ban on mask mandates.

Why it matters: The investigation, which said the ban could discriminate against students with disabilities or underlying medical conditions, is the latest development in both the legal back-and-forth over masks in Florida schools and between the Biden administration and GOP-led states over mask mandates.

Updated Oct 19, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: Mix-and-matching gains momentum — Boosters overtake first doses in U.S. — Pfizer to vaccinate Brazilian cityPanel endorses J&J booster.
  2. Health: Age is still a huge coronavirus risk factor — Unvaccinated 11x more likely to die from COVID — 5x more police officers died from COVID than guns.
  3. Politics: Over 30 states limited public health powers — Pope Francis calls on companies to release vaccine patents — Melbourne, "world's most locked-down city," to lift stay-at-home orders.
  4. Education: Education secretary reveals limits to Biden’s mask push on states — LA extends deadline for school employee vaccinations — Parent sues Wisconsin school district after child tests positive.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.