MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — He became a leading public health voice during the pandemic, typically talking from his home office in the Twin Cities.
A former senior advisor to President Joe Biden’s COVID response team, Andy Slavitt is out with a new book called “Preventable: The Inside Story of How Leadership Failures, Politics, and Selfishness Doomed the U.S. Coronavirus Response.”READ MORE: COVID In MN: MDH Commissioner Says State Is Entering 'Critical Transition Phase'
WCCO talked to him about the mistakes made in the last year and Minnesota’s response to the pandemic.
As the most contagious form of COVID yet continues to spread, Slavitt isn’t concerned about the Delta variant among the vaccinated population.
“If you are vaccinated the most important thing you can do is get back the parts of your life that were lost to the pandemic,” Slavitt said.
It’s one of the latest subjects the former head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid under the Obama administration has tackled on Twitter and his popular podcast from Minnesota. He just recently relocated with his family.
Slavitt believes we must assess the past to properly move forward.
“It gives you a sense of what both we as a country could have done better but also as a society left certain people much more vulnerable than others,” he said.
That includes the story of a Twin Cities Amazon employee: an essential worker forced to go a month without pay after his two weeks ran out. Still too sick from COVID to return to work.READ MORE: COVID In Minnesota: 424 New Cases, 3 More Deaths Reported As Delta Variant Continues To Spread
Slavitt believes the pandemic became too divisive, blaming politics.
“It was too big of problem,” he said.
Along with blaming a former president, who Slavitt says was in denial and didn’t act as soon as he should have.
We asked Slavitt if something like this could happen again.
“I don’t think we have to look to the next pandemic to look at how we need to change things. I think we need to look at the aftermath,” he said.
Like making sure kids have internet access and enough food to eat at home.
“That was true before the pandemic, during the pandemic, it’s entirely up to us whether that will be true after the pandemic,” he said.MORE NEWS: COVID In Minnesota: 375 New Cases Reported, Positivity Rate At 2.2%
Overall, Slavitt believes Minnesota has been successful to its approach to the pandemic through equity, vaccinations and public communication.