During a Monday appearance on CBS This Morning, former Biden White House senior adviser for COVID Response Andy Slavitt suggested that Americans should have “sacrificed a little bit” more during the pandemic.
When host Tony Dokoupil asked how much of the crisis was preventable, Slavitt blamed the policies of the Trump administration and citizens generally for not forfeiting more personal conveniences and liberties for public health and a common national purpose.
“If we’re honest, we also made two other types of mistakes that caused a lot of loss of life. One was just plainly political leadership mistakes. We denied the virus for too long under the Trump White House. There was too much squashing of dissent and playing on divisions,” he said.
“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 to get through this and to save more lives, it’s going to be essential. And it’s something that I think we all could have done a little bit better on,” Slavitt added.
Slavitt recently published a book, titled “Preventable”, which discusses the leadership failures during the national COVID fiasco. Dokoupil asked the author if he had a message for the public to help it prepare for future pathogenic disasters.
“Preventing the spread of the disease is really about a couple simple things. Not breathing near one another in large spaces, that’s really it if you want to be overly simple about it. And that requires a certain amount of sacrifice and change in a short period of time,” he remarked.
“None of us could do it forever, it’s not pleasant, but when we do, we reduce the amount of spread pretty dramatically. And if the variants come back in the fall, as they will, the people who are unvaccinated are rally going to need to pay serious attention to that and consider getting vaccinated,” Slavitt continued.
Slavitt’s comments come after a recent CDC study indicated that teen suicide attempts surged during the COVID lockdowns. According to the research, female adolescents ages 12 through 17 visited the hospital for suicide attempts between February and March of 2021 at a nearly 51 percent higher rate compared to the same period in 2019 — before stay-at-home orders forced businesses and schools to close.
The former COVID advisor’s statement about public sacrifice comes as the nation struggles to a recover from a steep lockdown-induced economic decline and mental health crisis, with children, women in the labor force, lower-income people, and minorities suffering disproportionately.
While Slavitt insisted that only short-term “change” and “sacrifice” may be required to curb or postpone the infection rate of a virus, many states and countries imposed mandatory lockdowns and restrictions that endured for the better part of 2020 at the expense or permanent demise of small businesses, industrial sectors, and livelihoods.