rp daily: never ending covid

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never ending covid. the nation is in a resurgence of covid-19 cases. the virus is being passed in bars, through shopping, parties, and an infinite list of places and events where people are doing the simple action of coming together. there’s a toll we pay for not doing this, but as rp eddy explains in today’s episode, the pandemic will continue to drag on if we don’t enact vigilant measures of social distancing, mask wearing, and cleaning. how will schools—vital to the education, nutrition, and job market of the nation—open? will this summer become safer or more dangerous for infections?

tom scott is chairman & co-founder of the nantucket project. rp eddy was the architect of the Clinton administration’s pandemic response framework and the United Nations response to the global AIDS epidemic & is CEO of global intelligence firm Ergo.  

rp is co-author of the best-selling award-winning book Warnings: Finding Cassandras to Stop Catastrophes with Richard A. Clarke, Former National Security Council counterterrorism adviser.

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rp daily never ending covid.mp3


[00:00:16] OK, RP. 


[00:00:19] It is Tuesday. Today is the 14th of July, having spoken to you in a little bit, Covid, Covid, and more Covid. 


[00:00:31] There’s just a lot of Covid talk going on right now. My general feeling is that, you know, the headlines are pretty heavy and you’re seeing some reversals in places like California. 


[00:00:43] But I also feel a sense of sort of just true exasperation where people are sort of throwing their hands up, throwing their hands up innocent. 


[00:00:49] Again, my impression in the sense that they don’t really expect the feds to do anything. I guess on a state level, things may happen. I dropped one of my sons off at camp last week after he was, you know, tested negative for the disease. And I’m trying to keep my own head. You’ve given advice that is about being your own leader and practicing being covered smart. I think my own behavior is primarily covered smart. But I’m also about to take a team on the road to travel down the Mississippi to do a variety of conversations to clarify. They are all outside. They will all have masks. They will all have safe practices and they’ll be small. You’re talking like 15 people on 11 different nights. So I got a lot on my mind and it’s not easy. But if you could react to two things, one, I’d like to talk today a little bit about our trip and to what the hell like the big world is talking a lot about it again. And things seem out of control in a way, or it’s certainly the media tells it that way. 


[00:01:54] There is a reversal. It’s great to see you, Tom, and great to see you, too. 


[00:01:59] There’s a there’s a there’s this weird irony I think is true about this disease, which is if it was a little more deadly, it would have killed less people. And because it kills less than one percent of the entire group of people who are infected and because that crowd tends to be older, not entirely, and thereby kind of a hidden death. 


[00:02:23] We had this in America and a couple other nations, not many, this lagging, lagging, lagging sense of taking it at all seriously. 


[00:02:32] In that moment of lagging, you’re taking it seriously, led to that leadership vacuum, led to a lot of room for us to start fighting among ourselves about nonfactual aspects. Bullshit, basically. Sorry, Mom. And my mom told me not to curse as much. So that’s the reality in which we find ourselves. 


[00:02:52] And there’s absolutely nothing puzzling about why America now has thirty seven states with rapidly growing disease. Why? A number of states and cities, unfortunately, cannot open schools, which is such a critical aspect to life, education, economy, safety, nutrition. Why that isn’t working and why we’re so behind it. Just about every metric insists we just in tickets or so, we don’t listen to experts. So here we are now. If we had this exact same epidemic, epidemiological reality. June 1st, July 1st, even, we could still have dealt with it by locking, just doing a hard lockdown, compulsory mask wearing, and then we could get to school on time. We get ready for flu season on time and get ready for the electoral season on time. But we didn’t do those things. So now it’s even more complicated. We’ve talked a lot about how, you know, even a really extraordinarily virulent and deadly disease can be contained if you deal with it quickly. And right off the bat, like Meurs was dealt with quickly, horrible disease. Worse than this was dealt with very, very quickly and was contained. This wasn’t in the United States. So it is where we are, where we are. Right. So now we have to really not only just be our own leader, but we have to really figure a lot of stuff out for ourselves. And the good news is clearly more and more people are getting religion on this or taking it seriously. The president wore a mask the other day at Walter Reed Hospital. Thank God that’s the U.S. Army hospital full of U.S. Army vets and wounded people from our military engagements. And if he were to have walked in there without a mask and gone so infected, maybe that maybe that was finally the border, he couldn’t crossed. But I mean, look, I could go on and on, Tom. 


[00:04:50] There’s a lot more to talk about, but we’re entering school season, running the silly season of politics, running flu season. Things are gonna get more complicated. 


[00:04:57] And so all of us, you on your trip, you know, we just finished our trip and now we have more summer ahead. We have to take this very seriously. And it’s hard. It’s hard. That’s a cost to not go hug your friend, to not go sit at a bar with somebody to, you know, all these things. That’s a cost that we’re incurring. And I just remind my family, look, it’s once in a century that we’re going to have to do this right now. At least we hope we’ll see. I do that with a wink or my fingers crossed. And let’s let’s incur the cost. Let’s defeat the disease that’s wearing masks and Syria. 


[00:05:34] The reality is we’re not going to have a whole lot more people dead, probably double the number before this is over, certainly. We’re going to have a lot more consternation in America and a lot more to be fighting because the election. 


[00:05:49] But let’s just hope that we’re beginning to accept there is a disease was like people didn’t believe it really will hurt a lot of people we love, which people didn’t believe, and that that can translate over to taking protective steps for ourselves and for others, which a lot of people fought against. 


[00:06:06] And I’m hoping by virtue of the president wearing his mask, that that rhetoric, that’s stupidity is going down. And we’re going to least start wearing masks, social distance to get going. But it’s not gonna be pretty. 


[00:06:19] When you talk about the numbers. So the last time we talked, we were looking at. I think if I’m right, you were saying between 250 and 300 thousand people by October 1st. Does that has that number changed? 


[00:06:33] It’s gotten higher. I’m very sad to say. And, you know, I have an extraordinarily talented, passionate epidemiological modeling team and Urgo that works on this. And again, congratulations to them. They’ve been on top of this. We have the best curve in the world for America. And that’s ridiculous. We’ve actually done 14 nations. We’ve been right now 14 nations. And it’s ridiculous because we shouldn’t. 


[00:07:00] CDC should large university should. You know, some universities really embarrass themselves in this early on, getting the curves wrong. And in disp, we got this right. And that’s also bad because ours has always been more pessimistic than almost anyone except for oxfords. So now ours is more pessimistic. Not by a ton, but a little bit. Now remember, every curve you see, every projection you see, that’s more than three, let’s say three or four weeks out can change a hundred percent. 


[00:07:31] It’s purely a conjuring. It’s a word I’m trying to get. I want to use the dialog curves with the conjoining, you know, a witch by a bowl brewing up, you know, in a Disney movie like, you know, a spell. It’s a conjuring of what future could be, what could present itself in that conjuring. That future will change if we change. So right now, ours is more negative. We have. If there’s no change line, which is horrible and we have a if there’s some change line by change, I mean social distance wear masks and more lockdowns. 


[00:08:02] So just depends on how seriously people want to take it. But literally, if every person America’s had to wear a mask tomorrow, I’m going to socially dist. tomorrow and I’m in a handwash tomorrow now, which lockable can’t because of work. But if everyone could do that and they had a decent mask, the disease would. This is a perfect you know, this is this is laboratory perfect. Only the disease would be out of the endemic population in 14 days and only the sick would be the ones who are carrying the disease. And ideally, they get treated and it’ll be gone. Now, that could never happen in any country. But, you know, the Kurson change. 


[00:08:39] So let’s let’s if we can, we’ve done this before. But I want to speak specifically, and this is very germane and topical for me. 


[00:08:47] For us. 


[00:08:50] So my life right now. So as I said, I took my son to camp. He had to do a pot, a negative test with Koven, which he did. And they had to quarantine, which he did. And then I drove him to camp. And then when he got there, there’s sort of protocols for the way you drop them off. I did speak to the kid of the camp and he did say that it’s very controversial what he’s doing. And we left, you know, and so I dropped him off there and and then I came back home. Now, I mentioned all of that because one, you know, my general feeling is if my children are going to go to school in the fall, there’s no more risk in me sending them to camp. Now, you know, it’s just. What’s the difference? One of the important differences is at the camp is no one comes in and out. No one goes home at the end of the day. They come once. They leave once. It’s all one session. He’s not allowing people to come and go. 


[00:09:38] So in a way, it’s a really protected environment relative to school. I’ll put it to you that way. And then I came home and I stayed in a hotel that night. And by the way, they check your zip code at the hotel. Where you from? And if in Vermont, if you cross a certain threshold, you can’t stay in a hotel in Vermont. 


[00:09:56] So now and when I go into the hotel and I’m mentioning the hotel because I’m trying to share when I interact with people, I don’t go anywhere where there’s people inside or outside on it. And, you know, in relatively close quarters, I don’t go anywhere inside without a mask on except my own house. It stayed at the hotel. You go into the hotel and basically there’s plastic in front of all the counters. There’s almost nobody in the in the lobby, in the lobbies don’t have food anymore, any of that kind of stuff. So you go in, you go out and then I get back on my vehicle. 


[00:10:29] And I come home. 


[00:10:31] Those were the practices I had this weekend. Those are similar practices that we’re gonna have on this trip and we can go into greater detail, but just sort of starting there, if you could just react to my trip and my kids camp and then we’ll kind of go from there. 


[00:10:45] Yeah. And I’ll tell you about ours as well. It’s very similar for the hotels we stayed in on the way home. 


[00:10:54] You know, everything you’ve described is, to my eyes, safe. There’s there’s there’s only one piece of sort of, I don’t know, the science and continue to learn about this disease fast. Right. It’s a brand new thing. It’s a six month old bug. One thing that we’re learning relatively new is about this concept of stale air. Right. 


[00:11:15] So most of the spread that we can pinpoint, we’ve talked a lot about the study of the choir in the church. Right. So I use that just as an example. If you have high density people in a confined area with poor air movement and a lot of spittle moving, you’re in it. You’re just in a bike transmission super zone. 


[00:11:33] Right. 


[00:11:35] This disease appears so many of these things need huge ass Trixie’s. This disease appears to be really a super spreader disease that you can have 20 people who have the disease who don’t spread it at all. You can have one person who spreads it to 40 people. 


[00:11:51] Right. That would be, you know, an hour, not a two. I think we did my math. Right. Right. So, yes, that’s right. 


[00:12:00] So it it turns out most those events are in bars, in confined areas. A lot of spread right now among young people in bars. So you’re in a bar. You have to speak more loudly because there’s high density people. The air is relatively stale. Alcohol, you know, is lessening all sorts of inhibitions and you’re spreading the disease. So lots of spreading from young people in bars column in The New York Times that I said we drank away this generation’s future. 


[00:12:27] Obviously, it’s it’s sensationalist, but the concept isn’t wrong that all this drinking by young people in bars is really what’s kicked the disease off in every state. Thirty seven states growing now. More than half of them have been kicked off from that. And then the other places it’s spreading are in prisons, in migrant housing. So, again, high density, low ventilation places. And then you add auto noise, a lot of volume increase and it’s worse. So, you know, it appears to be there’s extraordinarily, extraordinarily low numbers of people transmitting it outside at protests and an outdoor, you know, socially doesn’t have a beer with a buddy kind of thing. And then you add mass masked all that. It gets very safe. So everything you’ve described seems like the right idea in your camp design. Sound smart. And you’re right, it is technically safer than school. You’re you’re presenting a false choice to yourself by saying, since I’m sending my kids to school, thereby I’ll do this. Not to say camp sounds at all unsafe because it sounds perfectly safe. It sounds really well done. Not perfectly. Sounds very well done. You know, Tom, I’m not sure who’s going back to school. Things are changing pretty dramatically right now. A lot of school districts are shutting down or are changing their schedules. So I think that sounds good. Be careful. Your cars be careful. Indoor spaces be careful. Local law about no good will. 


[00:13:52] You can bring together into a space and be hyper vigilant. 


[00:13:57] You know, it’s it’s people fall back on. Oh, I checked it runs temperature and I was asymptomatic. Well, turns out a lot of this disease is spread asymptomatically in a lot of it’s spread. 


[00:14:08] You know, same thing. But before you have symptoms, so you might eventually get symptoms, you’re spreading it before you have symptoms. This is it’s a tricky easy. 


[00:14:18] I do a community meeting in my town, in our town every morning, and there’s about 20 people there. We sit outside and we measure masks unless it’s your turn to speak. There are elderly people there. Feels really safe to me. Now, what does that mean? I mean, I don’t know and I feel the rest of us have. Certainly a high degree of confidence that I think that we’re doing the right things. I say I think because I asked people and they tell me the same thing. 


[00:14:50] So just that unit of thing and you just said it. But I just want to confirm it, that to sit outside in a chair at least six feet away with a mask on and have a conversation with a group of people. Sorry. And to have a conversation with a group of people is something that you feel good about. Yes. 


[00:15:08] So the CDC, so does the great of NASA. 


[00:15:12] And then they’re not hotel transition is is a thing or problems a thing. And then the last one is car in a car. 


[00:15:22] We’re traveling in pods, which is to say, you know, Robley Rathaus in your car car is a you know, if anyone in that car is infected, presumably that car is infected. Right. So but if you start off clean, you maintain clean behaviors, then that car nominally is clean as well. 


[00:15:45] And you know, I’ve already been out there. I’ve already done the trip. And so, you know, it’s just such an interesting thing. I keep saying this. Koven is a real thing. 


[00:15:55] The most challenging part of Kofod beyond those who are at risk and get sick seems to be the emotional, psychological relationship people have with the disease and the decisions they make and the way it impacts their lives and the lives of them around the relation, the emotional issue we have with the disease. And it’s hard, you know, it’s very hard. People react in very strong ways. You know, you see a lot of people getting really upset about those who don’t wear masks. OK, that makes sense to me. I mean, you know, I certainly think everyone should wear masks in in the in the proper places. But then there’s these other decisions, like my friends camp. I swear my sons go. The people get very emotional about. I’m not sure about that. Like, I don’t I I’m finding it very difficult to keep my children home all day. You know, and and there’s a tradeoff question for me, which is. You see them kind of wither when they’re inside all the time, you know? And they’re only this age once and develop mentally, whereas the greater risk. And, you know, some people might read that as well. That sounds simplistic. Tom, of course, you want to stay away from the disease. 


[00:17:07] To what point? I don’t know. I don’t think it’s that simple. 


[00:17:12] You know, the first thing to note, right, is that you’re putting a tremendous amount of thought. You have a lot of passion. And if I can say you have some healthy fear and responsibility in the way you’re looking at this and that, you know, that’s that’s a win right there. 


[00:17:28] Right. Like most people that most a lot of people don’t. A lot of people just aren’t thinking about it like that. They’re they’re still ignoring it. Now, again, I’m hoping we’re getting over that curve or accepting it’s a disease. We’re hoping we take it seriously. You’re taking it very seriously now. The only risk you then have, right, is a fluke event or as we discussed, that that Roberts in this idea of entering the stupid zone, you have a look at the tension you have. 


[00:17:54] Look at the passion you have. Look at the fear you have. All those things lead to cognitive overload and mistakes. So if all of you are working together and you’re all talking about this together. Right. So I get my six year old recruited. We go where we’re going in a restaurant. Evan has our masks on. Will you make sure Evan now says our mask on? William, you know, stand next to mom. He’ll put your hand on my pockets, you know, et cetera, et cetera. You know, as long as you’re all working together, you’re all checking each other, so long as you get over the. What is it? The social awkwardness of correcting somebody like you. You should be able to tell yourself inside the group. Hey, first of all, like safe zone. If anyone criticizes or corrects anyone for unsafe behavior, we laud that. We don’t criticize that. We all need to help each other. Hey, Tom, you forgot to wear your mask. Where is it? Up. Thanks, Tom. Don’t touch that surface. Oh, thanks, Tom. Not six feet away. You all want to be doing that with each other because entering the stupid zone, you make mistakes. Our brains aren’t designed for this much complexity. When you add and laid in on this emotionality, which you clearly have, we’re more likely to even even though we’re more tuned to it, we’re still more likely to make mistakes. Now, all that said, I don’t think you have to have a sense of panic about this. This disease isn’t the measles. It doesn’t sit in the air for hours and hours and hours. There is new studies that it does hit the air a little bit longer, but it’s still nowhere near the transmissibility factor of measles. 


[00:19:14] Right. 


[00:19:15] You know, we have a fairly good idea about how this spreads right now with a fairly good idea of how it is spreading. It is people in bars. It’s people in prisons. It’s high density migrant labor. And, you know, it’s the pictures we’ve all been seeing. That’s how it’s spreading. And I would again, I would say I feel like we’re beginning to get our act together and say this is real. Right. Let’s let’s collectively deal with this. 


[00:19:38] I was in Idaho and I went into a store to buy huckleberries, which are a thing out there, which I had to get some huckleberries, you know, as a little teeny store at the end of a little teeny road and a little teeny middle nowhere I out literally. 


[00:19:57] And there’s a sign on the door which I’ll send and we can put up on the screen. And it said, you don’t need to wear a mask in here unless you’re the Lone Ranger. And it had all this Trump stuff. And I walked in with my son and I with the mask on and she gave me like a nasty dagger eyes. And we tried to talk through it. And I said, you know, I’m from Connecticut and I don’t bring the disease to you and this and that. And, oh, I don’t want any of that. All right. We were in a restaurant yesterday in Pennsylvania. Same trip. There’s a sign on the door. Thank you for wearing masks to protect our staff. Everybody had a mask on. Now, we do know there’s regional differences in this disease. I think it’s also a difference of a couple of weeks we’re getting there. 


[00:20:42] Yeah, you know, I go to Starbucks every day. There you go. Is your Starbucks coffee maker broke? And I think a lot about that, because, as I said in our team meeting today, that’s not an essential worker. 


[00:20:54] As far as I’m concerned, I think they should be open. I think they should do what they think is wise. 


[00:21:00] And, you know, and the right thing for their people and the people who come to the store is is there a number that you’re familiar with that is sort of the retail workers number in terms of higher rates of infection, et cetera? Because I think it’s a really good, interesting case study. You know, you don’t go into Starbucks with no mask on and they all have on masks and they seem to work there every day. 


[00:21:25] What’s the word on that? First of all, I think if you walk into an eating establishment or an establishment and you don’t have a mask on and they do a you should go out and get one. If not B, you should apologize. Right. You’re putting them at risk. They’re going through the uncomfortable effort to protect you and themselves and your food. 


[00:21:43] You should wear a mask when you’re in there with them as well. So I think that’s a general rule of thumb and I hope everyone can follow just the basic manners. Right. 


[00:21:54] As to your question, yes, there’s a sads. There’s a sad set of statistics about essential workers, and they’re not essential workers by any measure. In this instance, it’s labor. They’re capitalists, low income labor that are at work because they have to be at work. They can’t afford not to go to work. Maybe they got a thousand dollar check from the White House months and months ago, but they need their job. And so they’re they’re at risk inside that closed environment. Now, a Starbucks. The Starbucks, you know, a Starbucks is generally larger, generally better ventilated. Right. There’s lots of restaurants, lots of frontline workers where that’s not the case. But even at the Starbucks, for example, that person’s at risk. And, yes, there are numerous cases of frontline workers. And again, they’re not really essential workers, frontline food service workers who are getting this disease and getting sick. Sadly, most of them, many of them tended to be minorities and tended to well, they tend to be minorities. So a lot of a good amount of the initial minorities, some of the initial minority spread, initial spread came from minorities working in restaurants and stuff like that up front. 


[00:23:08] It can be done safely, but it’s a challenging environment. 


[00:23:11] You know, one thing I noticed in this entire trip, except literally in the end of February, sitting on a chair, a woman right when the disease came out in memory, a panic. You were in the beginning, right? We knew nothing. We just had all we had to navigate was fear. A woman walked by me right as I’m in the middle of this fear. And I wrote my first memo on this disease for over 26, which I’m so proud of, by the way my team and I wrote, which largely predicted where we are today, which is also sad. And so we again, I’m very in the disease. I’m very in my head. I’m sitting there writing and a woman walked by and sneezed right on me. I mean, it’s like she didn’t see me. I don’t think she intended to. She looked right at me three feet away, sneezed on me and I felt it. 


[00:23:53] I don’t know what how that was about. 


[00:23:55] Since then, I haven’t had I don’t know. I haven’t seen a single person sneezing dangerously, coughing dangerously. Everyone’s very, very careful about it. That’s a very dangerous way to spread the disease. Of course, it stays in your coffin. So answer yes. It’s those people working at Starbucks are not immune. It’s dangerous. 


[00:24:12] And we all need to wear masks. We go in there. Nonetheless, I’m glad to have a Starbucks coffee today. 


[00:24:17] And when you go into Starbucks, though, you feel pretty safe. 


[00:24:21] Yeah, I mean, I do when I go into restaurant, I mean when I go in. I do. But when I see people, I have a good mask. I’ve gotten better using it. I’ve a beard, so it’s not perfect, you know. In fact, it’s far from perfect. But again, remember, the first thing I said is if this disease was more deadly, it would have killed less people. 


[00:24:45] It’s it’s a very, very serious and very deadly disease. But it’s just below that threshold where we freaked out hard enough to shut down like we should have lot. But. Ninety nine percent. The country. The world did. We didn’t. And now we’re paying huge cost for economically and socially and emotionally. 


[00:25:03] Politically. Yeah. So. 


[00:25:10] If you would, just give me your best view on on sort of the state of Foushee, what do you expect from the feds side? Is or are we just going to be like coasting along and leaving it up to the governors? I’m talking about the government part of this and 100 percent. 


[00:25:27] Right. So the president there’s this there’s a there’s we had described it as a five percent possibility in March, April, probably April, that the president would get religion. We call it, quote unquote, locked down a ton of states because he realized the disease was going to hurt his election chances. So that was if that was a five percent chance, the president federally locking down a bunch of states, if that was a five percent chance and, you know, May, June, it’s a two percent chance now, but it’s still out there. I love wild cards. The word wild, the word wild card gives me a lot of freedom to say a lot of crazy ideas. So there’s one. Could the president wake up and say, Holy Moses, I’m going to lose this election, which it looks like he is right now? Again, lots of water to go under the bridge until voting day and a lot of water to go into the bridge until a new president sits in office. But he could wake up and say how to do something dramatic. That’s one thing he could do. Otherwise, no. So, yes, governors and it’s mayors. And, you know, the governor of our state has just done a remarkably good job about this. You know, a pretty quiet guy doesn’t do a lot of press, but he does labor behind the scenes. The good team and in Connecticut is doing exceptionally well. Still, the Cape York right in the case. 


[00:26:47] Still the case. Absolutely, yeah. It’s going to come up here like it did everywhere else. But it’s it’s still doing great. You know, I’m like, what does that mean? It means when you do testing. So one measure we use and it’s one measure that they use and it’s a it’s a very flawed measure, but it’s if you think about it as disease surveillance. Right. Where is the disease? Where isn’t the disease? Where is it hiding or is it in hiding? One thing you do is you look at the tests done in an area. So you look at Connecticut, all the testing done in Connecticut and the percentage of positive tests that of tests that come back in Connecticut right now as well under one percent. So when your son went and got a test the other day before he went to camp, that went into a registry anonymously and said there’s one test. It was negative. And you know of, though, all those tests done, less than one percent in Connecticut are coming back positive right now. This is an example of how low the endemic spread of the disease is in Florida. There were days when the test was coming back, 20 percent positive, 20 times, 2000 percent more people have the disease there. So, yes, we’ve got to down substantially here. Now, New York has basically enforced quarantine if you come from some bad states. We’re gonna make it by the skin of our teeth. 


[00:28:03] Thank God, when we leave and go to New York to enforce quarantine, 14 day quarantine so that you don’t spread the disease in New York. 


[00:28:11] Connecticut does not. It is a strongly recommended quarantine. And I suspect if things work OK in the next couple weeks, the governor will keep it there. But I would also suspect if we start to have a spike of cases, it will clearly be from travel. There’s no other way it gets here, right. Because the disease is gone. No, it doesn’t fall from the trees. 


[00:28:32] Then the governor will probably have to make that quarantine more enforceable fines if you don’t follow. But right now, you know, that’s the Connecticut update. 


[00:28:42] So the Ivy League shut the fall down. Sports wise. 


[00:28:47] Yeah. 


[00:28:50] It’s interesting because the Ivy League shut down their sports first in the spring as well. 


[00:28:55] And then I wonder, you know, what? 


[00:28:58] What does that say for high school? And then what does it say for the broader world? It does seem to me that the places I get the most anxious right now, it’s gyms. 


[00:29:10] I don’t go in them, but I see a lot of people going in them. 


[00:29:14] And then I think the interaction that you have in sports and in particularly football would be hard to imagine. You can have a football game where if one person on the field has covered, it would seem to me that at least two or walk in off the field with covered. 


[00:29:28] Yeah, I mean, there’s a lot of science to that. I wouldn’t I wouldn’t even remember younger people. There’s some very optimistic science or very positive science that gives me some reason to be optimistic. There’s a couple studies now. You just one that younger people are a third to a half as likely as older people to contract the disease does keep that in mind. 


[00:29:49] But, yeah, they shut down a ton of sports. They’ve also canceled, you know, removed sports at Brown and at Stanford. They’ve they’ve said no more crew at Stanford. This isn’t cause the disease is another dynamic, but it makes me sad. Neumayr crude and was wrestling cover things at Stanford, at Brown and at the Ivy League. 


[00:30:07] They shut down football for now. 


[00:30:10] You know, the weight room. Great place to spread. I don’t know how they’re going to run schools, Tom. I just don’t know. I know what you’re doing. Notre Dame. I’ve had the privilege of talking with them a little bit as of you. They’re they’re being pretty smart about it. They’re packing everybody in really fast. No one can leave at at Yale. I think they’re only being like one or two of the classes in the school. Per year. Per semester. But again, you need the social distancing. You need to not have people traveling in and out in all this. So I just keep saying this because maybe someone smarter than me has an answer for this, but there is a way to make all this much, much easier. And I’m sorry I’ve said it before. I’ll say it again. If we can figure out how to protect our vulnerable populations. It’s called people over 70 or people with with other diseases. People have high blood pressure, diabetes, et cetera. If we can protect those people, isolate those people, then the percentage lethality of this disease, the infection, infectious fatality rate for everyone else is very, very small. 


[00:31:22] And and because we’ve done such a crappy job in America of pushing this down, Europe’s going back to school. Right. Much of Europe. And they’ll be fine because the endemic numbers are so low. Much of Asia, you know, many, many Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, these countries, they’re almost back to normal. They’re still wearing masks, but the disease is basically knocked out. And so they can do all these things. We can’t do all these things because we have too much disease running around. So the cost is just crippling to our economy right now. And it’s because older folks, generally, I’m putting big asterisk on this, the ones who die. So we have got to figure out some way to isolate, ah, vulnerable populations. The problem is our leaders, our president, our governors, school heads, many of them are in that age bracket. So the folks have to make the decision to protect our vulnerable populations, meaning isolate like go away. It doesn’t means walk around the mask on. I mean, like go in another room and lock the door, do everything by Zoome people to make that decision. Also people would have to do it. So you can understand why they’re not making a decision. But if you take that paradigm meeting about a school, you know, older professors need to be protected. So kids with comorbidities or diseases protect it. You know, I’m sure there are not children at your summer camp with diabetes. If there are, there shouldn’t be sad. Right. I have diabetes in my family, have a sibling with diabetes, you know, and it would be really sad if she couldn’t gone to camp. But she shouldn’t organic. Right. So protecting those people with comorbidities in the older population. Apsley Critical because they’re the ones who are ten times a hundred times a thousand times more likely to die in most instances. 


[00:33:02] So we haven’t spent any time talking today, and I don’t think we have time today, but I don’t want to talk about George Floyd in the, you know, issues around race and how that’s going to relate to the election and how they relate to some of the other complicating factors that we’re talking about, et cetera. It’s such a strange time. It’s such a strange time to think about the conventions, for example, the election, the you know, by the way, one more. 


[00:33:34] Let me ask a question as it relates to that. Are we still feeling okay about the protests as a city, still as statistics are are quite good. 


[00:33:44] It’s a very heated conversation, but statistically spread during protests is, you know, nonexistent or extremely low, which is which is a blessing. 


[00:33:57] And it makes sense. Right. You’re outside now. If you’re standing right next to someone at a podium, there’s a speaker up there and you’re all yelling and screaming at the podium. And the air is relatively still, you know, it’s that’s a danger zone. But walking down a street, ideally not so bad quickly on the George Floyd thing, and we don’t have time for it, I guess. 


[00:34:13] But around I do a conversation, some point, Tom, because you’ll recall a month ago I was very down for the first time in my life, on my nation, on my country, like I really was despondent about where we were headed. And I was despondent about a lot of what had been revealed to me about how horrendous the degree to which there’s just horrible racism in this country, plus other things. Right. And I came out, you helped me come out of that and I kind of came out of it more optimistically. I have to say this last Independence Day, I bet we’ll. How about we have at least the opportunity? I’m not sure if we have the opportunity to look back on this Independence Day as one of the most fantastic moments in our history, in our recent history, at least, because as painful as the change in the evolution is, we’re going through right now. And I mean, it’s painful, right? We have to have the slow motion murder, to use Graham Allen’s phrase, the slow motion murder of George Floyd in front of all of us to begin to wake up to this, to hurt, you know, four years of unbelievable systemic brutality, to really get the message as much as Baer to go go through all these horrible killings. We’re beginning to open our eyes to these things. The scales are coming off our eyes and it hurts so much. 


[00:35:32] But we’re ideally going to make progress. Right. And in some conversations that we’ve had on here, we’ve talked about, you know, a black box on the Internet is not enough. And putting a flag in your lawn is not enough. And what you and I are doing here is not enough. Like we have to find the real change, which is why I think your trip is so fantastic. But I think we’re at that moment when we might actually be looking at real systemic change. The flag in Mississippi no longer has the treasonous flag of the south on it. Like, that’s awesome. Like we it’s only symbolic, but we are beginning to make real changes. And I’d love to think about that more talk about that more with you. So perhaps this last Independence Day just passed is one we’re gonna look back on and say, wow, we really began to change finally on some critical issues that we had ignored for so, so long around that Independence Day. 


[00:36:26] So so when I if I were going to describe the most important part of this trip, it is to humbly listen and create an environment in which. Nuanced, loving, valuable, courageous information can be shared so that the people in the room benefit the people in it, not in the room, the people, their benefit. And then the broader world benefits. That’s the goal. 


[00:36:52] And the best thing that we can do is create the environment in which we can absorb and help other people absorb all kinds of different people. 


[00:37:05] I appreciate what you just said, because. 


[00:37:11] I want to feel like we can make a more perfect union right now. 


[00:37:16] And I think that it is imperfect and painful. It is painful. And as a priority, I think it’s just such an important priority. And I’m just one white man sharing that opinion. And I I think I’d share up an opinion that is pretty broadly felt. 


[00:37:32] And I hope. 


[00:37:35] That we can reserve space for that opportunity and covered challenges that for sure. 


[00:37:44] It does. It does. You’re absolutely right. But it it. I have to tell you, that day to day when I wake up in the morning and I think are, you know, are we going to go do this? It’s frickin hard. Like, I’m trying to keep a coalition together. And I get a new headline from California that says they’re closing down. And as you can imagine, it makes people afraid it should. 


[00:38:02] They’re human. And again, I, I you know, everywhere you have a lot of stress about getting this done safely. But back to this idea of, you know, this is a forced social experiment. As Ryan Holladay put it, and and for those was lucky enough to get to spend more time with their families sense than everybody or to dig into things that we miss or to slow our lives down. There’s lots to civil lightings. Your ability to have these conversations is partly enabled by this. But just think about that. I think we’re about 120 days or so into this lockdown. I think that’s about right. And if I look at what I have learned about not moving over to the race issues, what I have learned little I mean, look, I thought I was a pretty educated person. I didn’t know what Juneteenth was. I didn’t know about the black Wall Street massacre. I didn’t know I wasn’t taught these things right. And I didn’t I didn’t address I didn’t understand perhaps the systemic racism to the degree I do now, etc., etc.. Like just me. Right. Like, what have I learned? How have I evolved? 


[00:39:09] And I’d like to think I was you know, I have a long way to go, but a little less is the way that I think what you just said is right on, which suggests we have a ways to go. Right. 


[00:39:21] We have a ways to go. And it’s through conversations like, look, Tom, it’s been the conversations for you that I’ve and the people we’ve had on here and Neil and others that have given me, you know, all that education and hopefully others are sharing that with us. But that’s what you’re bringing. That’s what you’re doing. Hard, uncomfortable conversations. I remember when the phrase privilege was one I thought was obnoxious. Like, what do you what is this privilege thing? What a stupid word. Well, it’s not like I get it right. I understand what privilege means, not just as an example. So we now maybe a little more time to go through those conversations. You’re accelerating those. You’re bringing those to people. There’s huge value in that. I you have a big kind of public health burden. You know, you’re like surgeon general this trip. You’re the head of the CDC for this trip. That’s tough for you. Make sure it has good mass. Make sure everyone’s got a team spirit. Make sure you correct each other, have safety lectures. You know, I don’t know if you’ve ever shot split clay pigeons. Right. You know, if you ever shot a shotgun, if you were shot, a pistol shot a rifle, every time you do so, you need to have a conversation beforehand about safety. 


[00:40:19] You guys should do the same thing on your Arpey. Speaking of our trip, I have in 90 seconds. I have an organizational meeting on my trips, so I got to go. I look forward to seeing you on Thursday. I’m glad to see you back. Thank you, as always, for your time. And I’ve got a lot of letters of guys where I’d. Where do you go? 


[00:40:36] So no good. I’m glad we’re back. And I’ll have my coffee before the call tomorrow, so I’ll be a little faster on addiction. But great to see you. Good luck with your talk. And I look for talking to you soon. Thanks for everything. 


[00:40:47] Talk to you guys. Thanks, Arpey. 


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