Watch the 20/20 "American Catastrophe" special Tuesday
ABC News airs a prime-time investigation into why the United States was unprepared for COVID-19, how government and administration officials failed and missed the warning signs, and what the country needs to do next to reopen and return to normalcy after the pandemic has wreaked havoc on American families, communities and the economy. The "20/20" special report, three months in the making, examines what officials did and did not do in those early days and weeks when the nation first started to understand there was a new virus sweeping through China. The one-hour television event also delves into how President George W. Bush directed his team to ready the nation for a possible pandemic in 2005, but why the country was nevertheless overwhelmed when the current pandemic hit. "American Catastrophe: How Did We Get Here? – A Special Edition of 20/20" airs Tuesday, July 28 (9:00-10:00 p.m. EDT), on ABC.
The hour reports on a group of current and former government officials and top doctors, known as "The Wolverines," who—through an email chain called Red Dawn—warned the administration of the crisis to come only to watch as the emergency grew beyond the government's control. Interviews include Dr. James Lawler, the former top biosecurity official at the National Security Council; Dr. Dan Hanfling, an expert in urban rescue and emergency medicine who worked on the 9/11 and anthrax attacks; Dr. David Marcozzi, a former top medical preparedness official at the National Security Council; Dr. Jeff Duchin, the Seattle and King County Public Health officer; Dr. Charity Dean, former assistant director of the California Department of Public Health; and ABC News contributor Tom Bossert, former United States Homeland Security advisor who headed up a pandemic response team the White House disbanded shortly before the outbreak.
The report features interviews with the people leading the federal response to the pandemic, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, America's leading expert on infectious diseases who has been at odds with the administration on how to handle the outbreak; Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the CDC who is predicting a coronavirus surge in the fall and winter and is recommending national mask-wearing; Admiral Brett Giroir, assistant secretary of Health who is the head of the nation's COVID-19 testing program and recently said closing indoor bars will stem the tide; Dr. Stephen Hahn, the commissioner of the FDA who recently approved pooled testing to combat the virus; and Peter Gaynor, administrator of FEMA who oversees the national disaster response including the supply chain of PPE and ventilators. The report also includes interviews with the world's foremost experts on COVID-19.
The special includes investigative reporting from ABC News' powerhouse team including chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl, "ABC News Live Prime" anchor Linsey Davis, "World News Tonight with David Muir" weekend anchor and chief national affairs correspondent Tom Llamas, chief business correspondent Rebecca Jarvis, chief justice correspondent Pierre Thomas, senior White House correspondent Cecilia Vega, transportation correspondent Gio Benitez and chief investigative reporter Josh Margolin.
"American Catastrophe: How Did We Get Here?" is produced by the ABC News Investigative Unit and ABC Longform Unit. Jeanmarie Condon and Chris Vlasto serve as senior executive producers, Melia Patria and Cindy Galli as executive producers, and Josh Margolin as senior editorial producer.