(Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) – CDC Director Robert Redfield complained Wednesday that while he was accurately quoted in the Washington Post when talking about battling the coronavirus during flu season, the headline itself was “inappropriate.”

President Donald Trump began Wednesday’s press briefing with the White House Coronavirus Task Force by complaining about Redfield being “misquoted” on a statement about the fall season and COVID-19.

“I do want to mention a man who’s done a very good job for us. Dr. Robert Redfield was misquoted in the media on a statement about the fall season and the virus – totally misquoted. I spoke to him. He said it was ridiculous,” Trump said.

Redfield was talking about the flu and coronavirus “coming together at the same time,” the president said, adding that there could be flare ups of the virus, which will be knocked out fast.

“I would ask Dr. Redfield to come up and say a couple of words to straighten it out, because he didn’t say it was a big explosion. The headline in ‘The Washington Post’ was totally inaccurate. The statement wasn’t bad in the post, but the headline was ridiculous, which is as I say, that’s fake news, and CNN is fake news, and they had the wrong story, which they knew. They were asked to change it, and they wouldn’t do that. It was false,” Trump said.

Redfield said that he did not say that it would be “worse” but that it would be “more difficult and potentially complicated” because the flu and coronavirus will be circulating at the same time. He said that’s why he’s encouraging people to get a flu shot.
REDFIELD: I think it’s important to clarify this as we build the confidence of the American people. When I commented yesterday that there was a possibility of the fall-winter, next fall-winter could be more difficult, more complicated, if we have two respiratory illnesses circulating at the same time – influenza and coronavirus 19 – but I think it’s really important to emphasize what I didn’t say.

I didn’t say this was going to be worse. I said it was going to be more difficult and potentially complicated, because we’ll have flu and coronavirus circulating at the same time. We will continue to build the nation’s public health infrastructure to ensure we have the capacity to stay in containment mode.

Those of you who heard me talk before, I told you in January and February up to February 27th-28th, this nation had 14 cases. We were in containment mode, and unfortunately, the virus overwhelmed. We got into extreme mitigation. We are building that capacity now to make sure we stay in containment mode for the upcoming fall and winter seasons. We will not need to resort to the kind of mitigation we had to this spring.

I have confidence that our public health response of early case recognition that we talked about, isolation and contact tracing combined with our plans for increased surveillance particularly for the most vulnerable will be an effective public health strategy, so our nation will be able to maintain itself in the containment mode.

Again, that will be supported by the American public’s continued cooperation obviously, in the areas of personal hygiene and the types of social distancing strategies that may be appropriate. The key to my comments and the reason I really wanted to stress them was to appeal to the American public to embrace the flu vaccine with confidence. One of the greatest tools we have as we go through the fall-winter season that we’re into is to get the American public to embrace the influenza vaccine and thereby minimize the impact of flu to be the co-respiratory disease we confront.

TRUMP: President Trump: He was totally misquoted, he said they could come together, they didn’t talk about that and his whole purpose in making the statement was to get a flu shot so that next fall, we don’t have such a big season of flu, and we possibly won’t. But as you said, it’s possible, if corona even comes back and he doesn’t know if it’s going to another do I appeared we spoke at great length and I think that Dr. Will speak if it continues but we may have some embers of corona and we will put them out but we may have a big flu season, flu is very from corona.

ABC WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: “The Washington Post” quoted you as saying, ‘there’s a possibility that the assault of the virus on our nation will be even more difficult than the one we just went through and when I said this to others, they don’t understand what I mean — we are going to have the flu epidemic and the coronavirus epidemic at the same time,’ is that what you said to ‘The Washington Post’?

REDFIELD: That’s what I was trying to say to you just a minute ago. The issue I was talking about being more difficult is that we’re going to have two viruses circulating at the same time. This spring that we just went through – February – we had a benefit of having the flu season ended. So we could use all of our flu surveillance systems to say this is coronavirus, we need to focus.

Next fall and winter, we are going to have two viruses circulating, and we are going to have to distinguish between which is flu and which is the coronavirus. So the comment that I made is more difficult. It doesn’t mean it’s impossible, it doesn’t mean it’s going to be more – as some people have said – worse. It’s just going to be more difficult because we have to distinguish between the two, and what I was wanting to do and I want to do again his appeal to the American public to recognize they can really help like they did with mitigation, which they really helped. I need them to help now to best prepare us by getting the flu vaccine and taking flu out of the picture.

TRUMP: We may not even have Corona coming back just so you understand.

KARL: But that quote that I just read was accurate. That’s the quote from ‘The Washington Post.’  You were accurately quoted, correct?

REDFIELD: I’m accurately quoted in ‘The Washington Post’ as difficult, but the headline was inappropriate.

KARL: The headline says CDC director warned second wave of coronavirus is likely to be even more devastating.

TRUMP: That’s not what he said.

REDFIELD: I actually think it’s going to be — I think the American public is going to heed the request to look at their vaccine hesitancy, to vaccine with confidence with flu, and I’m confident that the public health infrastructure we are putting together now across this country so that we can early case diagnose, isolate, contact trace, as I say block and tackle, block and tackle, that system is going to be there and we are going to be able to contain this virus.