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'No one in their right minds would want to be where we are now:' Former Obama official

Anjalee Khemlani
Senior Reporter

The U.S. is still playing catch-up in its response to the coronavirus outbreak—which has claimed more than 3,800 lives and infected more than 188,000 people in the nation— but the country needs to brace for an “unprecedentedly sad and scary period of time,” said Andy Slavitt, former acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) during President Barack Obama’s administration.

“No one in their right minds would want to be where we are now,” Slavitt told Yahoo Finance Tuesday.

“We’re chasing something that’s growing exponentially. It’s kind of like swimming after a speedboat.”

Slavitt has been critical of President Donald Trump’s administration, especially as it sought to undo the Affordable Care Act, which Slavitt championed while at CMS.

“We have a coordination problem. They need to have a military operations approach, not the kind of approach they are having now,” he said.

“They get to the right answer, but they get there a week later.”

In order to right-side the response, Slavitt said Trump needs to actually be more like a war-time president, as Trump has referred to himself.

“I think being a war-time president means arming your troops, it means reading the battle maps, it means being incredibly skeptical when people present you good news,” Slavitt said. “It means being driven by data.”

Slavitt pointed to the success seen in Washington state, which has been able to curb the rise of its coronavirus outbreak after being the center in the U.S. just weeks ago.

In his daily briefing Tuesday, Trump said the next two weeks are going to be very painful for the country, as the case count and death toll climb.

Anjalee Khemlani is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @AnjKhem

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