The Past, Present, and Future of the COVID 19 Pandemic with Dr. Scott Gottlieb

Ep 109
By: Alexandra Urman
Ep 109

The Past, Present, and Future of the COVID 19 Pandemic with Dr. Scott Gottlieb

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Casting one’s mind back to the start of the COVID 19 pandemic can feel like a surreal exercise in time travel. At the time, New York’s healthcare system was on the brink of collapse, a national shutdown was imminent, and the prospect of a vaccine against the virus was far from certain. Back in the present, 18 months on, we have an opportunity to reflect on the American response to the pandemic: why we were ill-prepared, what we could have done differently and how we might prepare for future outbreaks of unknown pathogens. Here to help us unpack this expansive topic is the highly qualified Dr. Scott Gottlieb, who served as the 23rd Commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, and is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. He is also the author of the new book, Uncontrolled Spread: Why COVID-19 Crushed Us and How We Can Defeat the Next Pandemic. In our conversation, we cover a range of topics and Dr. Gottlieb elaborates on key themes that arise in his book. We discuss the structural features of government along with the systemic weaknesses that undermined our response to the COVID 19 pandemic; the extraordinary innovations that occurred in response to the pandemic; and what needs to be done to better prepare us for the next one. Dr. Gotlieb also shares his insights on booster shots, the difficult balancing act between regulation and policy, and why isolationism is detrimental to the health and safety of millions of citizens around the world. We cover a lot in this episode, from sequencing data for vaccines to the role of social media in a pandemic. Dr. Gottlieb shares his expertise with incredible insight and clarity, so make sure you tune in for this essential episode on what the COVID 19 pandemic means for our past, present and future.

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Get to know today’s guest, Dr. Scott Gottlieb.
  • A reappraisal of the early days of the COVID 19 pandemic.
  • Gottlieb’s thoughts on America’s response to the pandemic.
  • America’s biggest failures in responding to the COVID 19 pandemic.
  • Some of the top priorities for future preparedness.
  • The information that Dr. Gottlieb uses to illustrate the failures of the American response.
  • The First Bucket: there was no agency capable of mounting the necessary logistical response to deal with a public health crisis of this magnitude.
  • How earlier scaling of tests could have impacted the contours of the pandemic.
  • The Second Bucket: a lack of resilience in America’s manufacturing base.
  • The impact that building a domestic supply chain might have on global relations.
  • How government subsidies can support a more resilient domestic manufacturing base.
  • The Third Bucket: looking at public health preparedness through the lens of national security.
  • How to find the balance between domestic preparedness and foreign engagement.
  • Some of the innovations that occurred in response to the pandemic.
  • How these innovative solutions can be applied going forward.
  • The controversy around booster shots and how it could have been avoided.
  • Why Dr. Gottlieb doesn’t think instituting a temporary FDA commissioner has an adverse impact.
  • The difficult balancing act between regulation and policy and how it impacts innovation.
  • The endemic phase of the COVID 19 pandemic and the role of mRNA vaccines going forward.
  • The efficacy of mRNA vaccines and sequencing data, and its potential application in other vaccines.
  • The role of social media in the COVID 19 pandemic, both positive and negative.
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