Former Biden White House COVID-19 response adviser Andy Slavitt suggested on Monday that the U.S. could have handled the pandemic better if Americans had “sacrificed a little bit more,” drawing the ire of some viewers.
“We denied the virus for too long under the Trump White House,” Slavitt said on “CBS This Morning” while promoting his new book, “Preventable: The Inside Story of How Leadership Failures, Politics, and Selfishness Doomed the U.S. Coronavirus Response.” “There was too much squashing of dissent and playing on divisions. I also think we need to look at one another and ask ourselves what do we need to do better next time … In many respects, being able to sacrifice a little bit for one another to get through this and to save more lives is going to be essential. That’s something that I think we could all have done better on.”
Preventing the spread of the disease requires “simple” solutions like “not breathing near one another in large spaces,” he later said, emphasizing it “requires a certain amount of sacrifice and change.”
FiveThirtyEight founder Nate Silver suggested a different solution.
“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,” he said.
Many respondents were confused by Slavitt’s take, arguing it wasn’t long ago that much of the U.S. was under lockdown orders that kept Americans from family and friends for months on end.
Many who lost loved ones in that time, whether from COVID-19 or other causes, could not spend those final moments with them because of the mandates. The lockdowns also proved to have adverse effects on mental health, particularly among young adults. Researchers for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that the suspected suicide rate for girls ages 12 through 17 during the pandemic increased nearly 51% from 2019.
Meanwhile, small business owners took hard hits, with many having to shutter their doors and lose their livelihoods.
“22 million Americans lost their job last year and Biden’s COVID czar thinks Americans didn’t sacrifice enough,” the Republican Study Committee tweeted.
Others like The Federalist’s Political Editor John Daniel Davidson were equally offended by Slavitt’s message because it was coming from “America’s corporate and managerial class.”
New York Post columnist Karol Markowicz was just as blunt.
“Pajama class that stayed home and got paid during the pandemic doesn’t think the rest of Americans did enough,” she said.
Other outraged users referred to Slavitt’s remarks as “tone deaf,” arrogant, and unscientific.