The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) effectively gave up trying to keep track of coronavirus, admitting it had failed to do so months ago, according to documents obtained by Forbes.
'Most jurisdictions have been forced to abandon monitoring because the number of monitorees exceeds the capacity...As a result, critical data for CDC to inform and guide public health response to Covid-19 is unavailable,' representatives for the agency wrote in a June contract with a third party intended to build a new disease surveillance system.
When CDC was inking the deal with Mitre, a research and the development firm to which the government farms out many of its most sci-fi projects, officials were claiming that their broad testing and data collection were responsible for the steep rise in cases numbers in parts of the US.
And for the several weeks leading up to the Mitre deal, the CDC was still proporting that its data was the the scaffolding on which President Trump's reopening plan was built.
But the Mitre contract's language suggests that one of the world's most advanced disease monitoring systems had failed long before its staff - top scientists in the nation - admitted it.
The CDC admitted in its deal with private company Mitre in June that its disease monitors were unable to keep up with the spread of COVID-19 - but sang a different tune publicly
In the early months of the year, Americans waited on the word of the CDC anxiously, wondering when the agency would announce the arrival of coronavirus in their country, in their state, their county, or their town.
It didn't take long for the rumor mill to outpace the official tally, or for the outbreak itself to surpass the ability of experts to identify every infection, its source and possible next victim.
By late February, the CDC confirmed that transmissions were happening via 'community spread,' meaning that coronavirus was infecting people who had not left the country, or come into contact with friends, family or colleagues who had.
Still, the agency had shipped out its first batches of coronavirus tests and planned to at the very least keep count of the number of cases and deaths in US states via its flu surveillance system.
But it quickly became clear that the years-old system wasn't keeping up with the pandemic as well as algorithms employed by tech savvy and state-of-the-art institutions like Johns Hopkins University.
So officials reached out to Mitre, which was hardly new to taking on tall orders