Ex-Obama official details the 3 ways the US is failing in its coronavirus response

Ex-Obama official details the 3 ways the US is failing in its coronavirus response
Daniel Arauz / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)

COVID-19 infection rates have recently been going from bad to worse in some parts of the U.S., especially areas of the Sun Belt. Andy Slavitt, who served as acting administrator for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services under President Barack Obama, discussed the severity of the problem during a Tuesday morning appearance on CNN’s “New Day” — and he outlined some of the “failures” that have been causing infection rates to surge in Texas, Arizona and other states.

“We’re really trying to wrestle with three failures that make it very difficult to care for people in this virus,” Slavitt told “New Day” hosts Alisyn Camerota and John Berman. “The first is failure of moral leadership to prepare to care — to focus on the public. The second is: we’re failing to adapt. This is going from state to state to state, and the states where it hasn’t hit yet still don’t get it…. They are not requiring masks.”

Slavitt continued, “The third: we have a bit of a failure of empathy or a failure to really imagine what it’s like until it happens to us. And I think because this is happening…. to a lot of older people and a lot of people in nursing homes and to a lot of black and brown people, it seems to create some indifference in the population. We need to take all three of the failures and address them head on, or the fall is going to get worse and worse.”

Camerota expressed some pessimism, telling Slavitt she doesn’t know if there is an “exit ramp” for the U.S. when it comes to COVID-19. And Slavitt tried to offer some hope.

The former Obama official asserted, “We should be confident if you look around the world, whether it’s Germany or Vietnam or New Zealand — pick a country — they have figured out how to manage the virus and open the economy. But they understand something we haven’t yet, which is taking a little bit of short-term pain for long-term gain. So, if we want to open schools in the fall — if we want to get life back to normal — we have to not go to bars as much. And so, we have to actually meet this challenge head-on. If we do that — a couple of weeks from now, case counts will begin to fall.”

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