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US underprepared for greatest public health crisis of century

The US is "underprepared" for "the greatest public health crisis that hit this nation in a century", said Robert Redfield, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The "collateral damage" of the pandemic can be seen from the fact that public health officials have been forced to turn their focus away disproportionately from treating AIDS, Hepatitis C and other diseases, Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday citing Redfield as saying in an interview.

The novel coronavirus has exposed many weaknesses of the US health system.

"We have some states that we're down to less than 40, 30, 20 contact tracers. We really haven't invested, in this nation, in the core capabilities of public health.

"Now is the time to invest in public health. Data, data analytics, predictive data analysis, laboratory resilience in our public health labs, public health workforce," he said.

"We need to owe it to our children and grandchildren that this nation is never under-prepared again for a public health crisis," Redfield added.

The US currently accounts for the world's highest number of infections and fatalities at 5,309,138 and 168,396, respectively, according to Johns Hopkins University..