President Joe Biden’s former Covid czar said the pandemic would not have been as deadly if Americans ‘had sacrificed a little bit’ more.
In an appearance on CBS This Morning to promote his new book Preventable, Andy Slavitt, the former White House Senior Adviser for COVID-19 Response, said much of what occurred in the U.S. was avoidable.
Slavitt said there were mistakes early on with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s flawed testing kit and a lack of personal protective equipment sent to frontline workers, but that the U.S. made other fatal mistakes.
‘One were just plainly political leadership mistakes. We denied the virus for too long out of the Trump White House. There was too much squashing of dissent and playing on divisions,’ Slavitt said.
‘But I also think we all need to look at one another and ask ourselves what do we need to do better next time and in many respects, being able to sacrifice a little bit for one another is going to be essential and I think that’s something we could have all done a little bit better.’
It comes as the U.S. approaches the grim milestone of 600,000 dead from COVID-19, leaving many to feel that Slavitt’s comments were very insensitive.
Andy Slavitt, the former White House Senior Adviser for COVID-19 Response, said on Monday that said one fatal mistake Americans made during the pandemic was not sacrificing ‘a little bit’ more for one another (above)
Slavitt’s comments caused outrage as hundreds of people took to social media to express their frustration over the tone-deaf attitude.
‘The pandemic wouldn’t have been as bad if public health officials had realized most people regard in-person social interaction as ‘essential’, are not bad people for it, and that a strategy centered around expecting them to sacrifice it for months at a time was never gonna work,’ wrote Nate Silver, the founder of FiveThityEight.
Another Twitter user listed things she and her family scarified including a book deal, financial security and being able to see friends.
‘I sacrificed a 20-year career & book deal, & a good bit of sanity. Spouse took a huge pay cut for [six] months in an executive position & physically went into work every workday,’ she wrote.
‘Kids gave up real school, friends, activities, & emotional health Yet it’s not enough for Andy Slavitt.’
One user said it was absurd to assume the country did not sacrifice enough.
Social media users took to Twitter to express their outrage at Slavitt over his comments and reveal what they had sacrificed over the last year
‘There were certainly a lot of selfish a**holes out there (see the MAGA rallies), but for Slavitt to say Americans didn’t sacrifice enough is asinine,’ he or she tweeted.
‘Most of us sacrificed a whole year of our social life that we will never get back. It was mentally draining.’
Slavitt’s comments come just two days after it was revealed in an excerpt from his new books that one of former President Donald Trump’s top advisers during the pandemic suggested that she wanted him to lose the 2020 election.
Dr Deborah Birx, the former White House coronavirus response coordinator, allegedly dropped the hint at a meeting with Minnesota state officials in August 2020.
Slavitt claims he asked Birx if she would want to continue her service should Biden win the election.
‘At one point, after a brief pause, she looked me in the eye and said, “I hope the election turns out a certain way,”‘ Slavitt wrote.
‘I had the most important information I needed.’
Birz eventually fell out of favor with Trump and, while she remained on the task force, was replaced as coordinator by Dr Scott Atlas.
Atlas is a radiologist who has no epidemiological experience, but whom Trump had seen speak on Fox News.
‘Fighting the virus and Scott Atlas together is the hardest thing I’ve had to do,’ Dr Birx is reported to have said at the Minnesota meeting.
Birx told Slavitt she had been ‘completely silenced’ by Trump and barred from appearing on any national news media.
‘Her early optimism was long gone,’ Slavitt wrote.