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The ‘Red Dawn’ Emails: 8 Key Exchanges on the Faltering Response to the Coronavirus

An email chain dubbed Red Dawn shows how experts inside and outside the government identified the threat of COVID-19 early on, raising alarms that were largely ignored by the administration. An elite group of infectious disease doctors and medical experts in the federal government and academic institutions around the nation shared through the email chain their concerns over COVID-19, starting in January when one Veterans Affairs employee expressed concern that the CDC was late in addressing the virus.

The chain, which was named after the 1984 film Red Dawn, was hosted by the chief medical officer at the Department of Homeland Security starting in January with a small group of medical experts that eventually grew to dozens. The email chain was intended to provide thoughts, concerns, raise issues and share information among top-ranking medical experts. Members of the chain worked for the Health and Human Services Department, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Homeland Security Department, the Pentagon, and other federal agencies.

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