Former White House COVID-19 adviser on successes, failures of virus response

Andy Slavitt, former White House senior adviser for COVID-19 response under the Biden administration, discusses his new book “Preventable," and the investigation into COVID's origins.
7:23 | 06/15/21

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Transcript for Former White House COVID-19 adviser on successes, failures of virus response
Pandemic from its origins until now we bring in Andy Slotnick former senior advisor to Biden administration's cope with nineteen response team and the author of the new book preventable Lee inside story of how leadership failures politics and selfishness. Doomed the US corona virus response this just love it we thank you so much for joining us tonight. Are having me. So when your book you discuss at a few different areas where you say the American response the pandemic failed including the trump administration. Downplaying the virus top health officials. Overly worried about pleasing the former president and even cultural attitudes present in the US the differed from other countries that. Handle the virus well which factor if any is the most to blame for the US is initial struggles with the pandemic in your opinion. Well it's easy to point is over the technical mistakes and we're very visible about it being lift testing in place. But even with that. I think we have to take a hard look at our local response. It and you don't I think the thing that I have. Probably most concern about a speaking sure we understand as. That correspondent away where the president spent. Months denying the virus in the seriousness of the virus. It really squashing dissent within his administration. So. The other 45 days is a book outlines. In February when note from Department of Health and Human Services was allowed to talk to the media. Because they simply wanted to use the phrase that things could change rapidly. And I think when you have a very days difficult situation we're trying to figure was going on and you don't allow people. Particularly experts to provide any dissenting voices if it's not consistent with the narrative you're going to be in trouble. You talk about the mistrust of science from the former president describing scientist publicly to Americans becoming skeptical about. Changing pandemic guidelines. Where do you think that this mistrust comes from mennesses summing up the Bible administration can reverse especially for those who are still resistant to taking the vaccine. Well one of the. Are things we had a phenomenon that you can't observe with your naked and there was so much about this pandemic. It's justified when we could see. It spread among people that were asymptomatic. In I'm really get a lot of its damage. Outside of will where we could see and grew exponentially. You have to you have to have if you don't have faith in science and scientists who split was going. You really going to to miss it. In you know we had a remarkably low tolerance. Who would exploit the fact that of a site deserves somebody that they later had to change. Then we would do therefore. Want to say that they were wrongly to do what they were talking about a lot that was just the way of people of social media elevating their own opinions. You know personalities. Saying. How our efforts it was wrong therefore what I'm saying. Is ranked. I think. That kind of lack of respect for people who have been studying these things for a long time. Is really potentially. Particularly damaging image some it was political. Some of it was this just you know surely the lack of trusted expertise it's grown over time. The president items trying to do to fix this but allowed the CDC of the if you speak for themselves. And by keeping the White House distant. From what the experts are saying. Earlier we reported on the ongoing question on that. Origin of the virus in theories on whether or not it leaked from a lab and will watch porn is it to answer that question and to get China to be more transparent in order to control this pandemic and also to prevent future ones. Well it's really important and looked at this just didn't say where we stand on this nobody knows the that you noted the intelligence community. Well apparently ended in advance which by the way isn't unusual. Sometimes cordial take the long. To figure out there needs to be cooperative they're not. We need to be very strong very its third and the world community. To get beat. To get it to happen we don't have the virus there ons. So a minor league it'll. Could have in fact infected people are now eleven decadence below but let question could have come from bath. You read about how the pandemic was politicized but. What possibly have been a public health benefit to giving more credit to the trump administrations work with companies to support development and distribution of vaccines. Instead of criticizing what was left to do fitting coming Biden administration could at a possibly helped overcome some of that resistance that we're still seeing among some conservatives. Well. I think it would take this into pieces first well I don't think the Biden ministry I think divided administration. Was very restrained and in terms of criticizing toward administration tried to just move forward. You know Dark Knight reflected in the past reflected a job ahead in terms of reaching out people. Two who are not vaccinated. You're absolutely right there's no reason for Ruble to think about this is a political. Issued this isn't a vaccine was developed over the last two decades. Republican and democratic administrations but. The private sector and the public sector everybody should feel good about the success of these vaccines and end the multitude of people. Over two decades have participated in creating December any vaccine. And to put out to the public nobody should should take a monopoly. And credit and arrogant but people should also take their prayers here for accountability. We don't deliver for the public that I think. The president president Biden was prepared to take it has been cryptic full accountability. To get Americans vaccinated and I think that's what Americans need to see. Hey you and your book hoping that the US will remember the lessons learned in the past year's slate starts return back to normal what's one lesson that you hope Americans will embrace as we move forward to that we're better prepared for the next potential pandemic. You know evidence it has I hope we learn to be more generous look on another. In tough times. Nearly everybody's going through fair amount of suffering. And you know for for permeate I may have lost a family member. For you email luster business these started ten years ago that you could Gerard soul into. And we don't need to compare suffering. Yeah all suffering Israel. And you know we allowed the pandemic to divide us even even further and I think for us to get through pandemic. And learn the lessons. There we have to really realize that you don't we ever each other stake in our hands a regular thing is that there are many many people. To nab a disproportionate share of the burden fell on. The need to understand that these are people who are who disproportionate share of the bird always follow so kids to an act getting well. Us because they were in school urgent have Internet access at home. Those things those same symptoms resists after. The pandemic as did during the pandemic. So we have an opportunity to fix these things now and they will make us. Better prepared I'm confident that we'll do some of the other thing is needed but if we don't really address. How we value and support one another in these tough times I think we're going to be after gonna continue to stroke. And he's let our thanks to you is new book preventable is available tomorrow.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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