Inside the CDC’s First Covid-19 Test Failure

One of the most pivotal failures in the US’s early response to COVID-19 was the CDC’s distribution of faulty coronavirus tests to labs nationwide.

In a special report, Dan Vergano at BuzzFeed News puts this debacle under the microscope, using federal investigation records to reconstruct the missteps of those early days—and the catastrophic fallout. 

The investigation unpacks:

  • Government dysfunction leading to neglected labs at the CDC.
  • Misplaced blame on one lab.
  • Cut corners that led to cross-contamination, compromising the kits sent nationwide. 
  • Overconfidence that caused CDC to forgo using tests from other countries and outside manufacturers.
  • A long chain of systemic failures which ultimately left the CDC holding the bag. 


BuzzFeed News

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