An interview with former President Donald Trump's FDA Commissioner revealed that the administration was dismissive of any efforts to fight COVID-19 because they assumed "everyone" was going to get it anyway, and they essentially wanted to get it over with.
Speaking to CNN's Pamela Brown, Dr. Scott Gottlieb explained that he thinks the government should militarize viruses like this because it's a national security threat and existing structures aren't made to handle such a massive pathogen.
"I remember one White House official cavalierly saying to me, and this was around the time that then-President Trump was pushing for schools to reopen," Brown recalled. "They said, 'Well, we just need to get kids back in the class because everybody is going to get this virus at some point or another, and it's going to spread wildly, and there's no way to contain it.' It stuck with me how casual they were about that, as you just pointed out as one of the issues you didn't believe was actually true."
Brown also noted that after the H1N1 virus, processes were put in place to try and respond quickly to viruses like COVID. Gottlieb disagreed, saying that there was nothing in place to deal with a virus like COVID. He cited nasal swabs that weren't in the stockpile collection of items in the federal government's reserve. While there may have been medical equipment, ventilators, and a slew of other things, he said that they failed to anticipate the necessary things a virus like COVID would need, like the nasal swabs.
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"I know we put in very detailed plans," said Gottlieb. "We were worried about a pandemic with the H1N1 flu. We prepped for a hypothetical pandemic, including influenza. We prepared for a pandemic, we just prepared for the wrong pandemic, and I think we found that in the preparations we put in place for a flu were not applicable to a coronavirus. And even insofar as they were applicable to a coronavirus, they weren't very good. The plans we put in place really weren't adequate. We tried to compile certain components we thought we would need but didn't consider a global crisis, and a pandemic is a global event, everywhere would need all the equipment at the same time, so all the supply chains would be demanded across the world and we would run out of them."
It was a surprising take because viruses don't stop at political borders. If a virus reaches pandemic status, that means it's a global disease. That would mean that everyone in the world would need the same medical equipment and materials at the same time.
The questions many had at the time were why the Trump administration was restricting access to things like building test kits or even running the tests from accredited university medical labs.
See the interview below: