– Redfield has served as the director of the CDC since March 26, 2018.
– He was nominated for the post by President Donald Trump, after the President’s first appointee resigned in scandal. His nomination was considered controversial, and was opposed by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, which cited Redfield’s lack of experience administering a public health agency, and his history of scientific misconduct
– In the 1980s and early 1990s, as an Army doctor stationed at Walter Reed Medical Center, Redfield worked on setting up protocols to handle service members infected with AIDS. Even by the standards of the era, when much was still unknown about the virus, his suggestions were controversial. He advocated quarantining infected soldiers, spreading their diagnosis across the chain of command with little concern for their privacy, and investigating their sexual histories.
– Redfield advocated similar ideas outside of the military, aligning himself with a conservative Christian group called Americans for a Sound HIV/AIDS Policy (ASAP) which supported similar steps in the general public (mandatory testing and quarantines) to control the spread of the virus. According to Foreign Policy, in the introduction of a book by ASAP’s founder, Redfield rejected the medical norms for handling the epidemic and called for a more faith-based approach.
– In the 1990s, Redfield endorsed an unproven HIV vaccine as a huge breakthrough. It wasn’t, and Redfield was investigated for scientific misconduct for his role in continuing to push the vaccine.
‘Remarks by President Trump After Tour of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention | Atlanta, GA‘
March 6, 2020
Q: Sir, is the coronavirus contained in the United States?
THE PRESIDENT: Go ahead.
DR. REDFIELD: Yeah, I think at this point, again — and we’ve said this before and the Secretary can add — you know, the overall risk to the American public does remain low. And, again, I think we owe a lot to the decisive decisions initially to have travel restrictions and the number of areas of screening in airports.
And then the most important is to get the public health community to do early case recognition, isolation, and contact tracing, which — again, the fact that we now had a test allowed us to do that a lot more effectively than if we didn’t have a test.
We do have some areas where there’s significant community transmission now. Obviously, we’ve seen that in the Seattle area, we’ve seen it in parts of — of California. We’re working hard with the local and state health departments and those groups to continue to try to control this — this infection in that area.