Anne Schuchat, who was the No 2 official at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said during an interview with NPR the US is not ready for another pandemic and the health care system was overwhelmed in many places.
Schuchat, who retired after 33 years at the CDC, said the US is still fighting the pandemic this time, and a lot of work needs to be done to be better prepared for the next one.
"There was lots of great work in many communities, but I think, as a nation, it wasn't a good performance," she said.
Schuchat said there were many things that prevented the US from having an effective initial response to the pandemic.
"Just the public health piece - we have a lot of work to do in terms of the workforce, the data, the laboratory, the community outreach," she said. " I wish that we had not had as much loss of life."