Karl Stefanovic didn’t do it when he told one of Joe Biden’s top Covid advisers that the US had really ‘filled it up’.
The Channel Nine star spoke with Andy Slavitt, the president’s former senior adviser on Covid response, about the pitfalls America has faced since opening its doors in the wake of the ongoing pandemic.
He hinted that Australia could be forced to implement a number of vaccine mandates for certain types of workers, including health and government personnel.
The candid talk comes as New South Wales plans to give double-dose residents more freedoms under a vaccine passport system next month when the number of jab rates eclipses 70 percent – a move considered highly controversial.
“You’ll do better than us,” Slavitt told 60 Minutes on Sunday.
‘You will. It is impossible to do as badly as we have done.’
The delay in vaccinations has coincided with a new wave of coronavirus infections, fueled mainly by the highly contagious Delta variant
The total number of Covid-related deaths in the US begins to rise again
The number of cases in the US fell from 304,000 in a single day on January 8 to less than 10,000 in June.
But as the country’s reopening kicked off during the Northern Hemisphere summer break, infections began to ramp up again — rising to more than 170,000 in a single day on September 10.
About 700 people in the US now die from the virus every day, with a total of 660,000 people who have lost their lives to Covid since the start of the pandemic.
“You really packed it in the US. Hard yards,” Stefanovic said.
‘Yes,’ admitted Mr. Slavitt. “You just have to keep looking at the US and say that if we continue on this course, we could look like this.”
“If someone takes lessons from how we’ve handled it, I’ll feel a little better.”
Some health experts Down Under fear the number of cases will skyrocket once the reopening goes through.
Andy Slavitt, a senior policy adviser to Presidents Barack Obama (pictured together) and Joe Biden, said Australia couldn’t do worse than the US when it comes to reopening the Covid pandemic
When the US Covid reopening was set in motion over the summer holidays, infections have started to rise again – rising to more than 170,000 in a single day on September 10. Pictured: Anti-Vax protesters are seen at a rally in Pennsylvania
How the US Compares to Australia on Covid
Cases – 41.6 million
Deaths – 660,000
NSW is currently seeing about 1,300 cases a day, with hospitals and the wider state’s health care system already struggling to keep up with the influx of patients.
While President Biden initially said vaccines should not be mandated, a view shared by Scott Morrison and the Australian government, the president is now changing his stance as the Delta variant continues to devastate the nation.
He is urging companies with more than 100 employees to vaccinate their staff, or force them to undergo weekly tests as a condition of employment.
Mr Slavitt said it could be in Australia’s interest to follow a similar course.
“There will be certain sectors, certain populations where it’s almost like there’s a mandate.
“Healthcare, the military, government contractors, federal workers.
“And I’m pretty sure most people will be fine with it.
“Changes are always difficult in the beginning, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make them.
“It just means that there will have to be some tough choices and some tough decisions.
That’s what politicians should do. They have to make tough decisions and if they can’t, they have to step down and let someone else do the work.”
While President Biden initially said vaccines should not be mandated, the president is now changing his stance as the Delta variant continues to plague the country. Pictured: An anti-vax protester in Ohio
Karl Stefanovic (pictured on 60 Minutes) didn’t do it when he told one of Joe Biden’s top Covid advisers that the US had really ‘crammed’ things
But right now those ‘tough decisions’ are left to Australian companies as the federal government refuses to take a stance on mandatory vaccinations.
“Essentially, our government has outsourced the responsibility for mandating vaccination,” labor law expert Ian Neil SC told the program.
“They have entered the field to some extent in aged care, health care and other settings, but in general it has been up to employers to make that call for themselves, implement it and face the legal risks of doing so. ‘
While several companies, including Qantas, Virgin, Telstra and SPC for the food processor, have moved to mandating jabs for their staff, smaller companies wishing to do the same could be entering a “legal minefield”.
“They plan to put in place a mandatory vaccination policy because they have the resources to do that, but small businesses don’t have those resources,” Neil said.
‘Small companies enter a legal minefield with little guidance from above.
‘Many cases will come to court in this area and that is because there is a lack of clarity.’