5 times the CDC got it wrong on coronavirus

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has acknowledged that it hasn't always been ahead of the coronavirus, especially when its initial stab at mass production of the COVID-19 test kits encountered “a problem.”

But it seems that to a frustrated and frightened American public, the agency is sometime learning on the job rather than steering the nation through the pandemic.

Everything from changing messages to inconsistent data to flat out mismanagement has created more fear, confusion and distrust that's eroded the trust in the vaunted public health agency.

Here are five times the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention got it wrong, or were inconsistent at best.

1. Testing

An initial batch of coronavirus testing kits shipped from the CDC to state labs early February were tainted with coronavirus and didn’t work. That delayed a nationwide testing rollout.

2. Transmission

The agency said the virus spread through “droplets” from coughs and sneezes. But then it later warned about catching the virus from people with no symptoms, or even from surfaces, like subway turnstiles or metal shopping carts.

3. Masks

The CDC said Americans don’t need masks. Surgeon General Jerome Adams told Americans to stop buying them and save them for health care workers. It later reversed the recommendation saying Americans should be wearing cloth masks.

4. Numbers

The CDC signed off on releasing a projection model warning of coronavirus daily deaths doubling by June. But the epidemiology professor who says he created the model said it wasn’t ready for release.

5. Young people

The agency said young people were at low risk of catching the disease.  But new data showed that among the roughly 12% of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. known to need hospitalizations, about 1 in 5 were among people ages 20 to 44.