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are you looking for clear, factual, no b.s. answers on covid? disinformation about covid-19 can spread just as rapidly as the virus itself. as tom begins a trip down the mississippi river for the “american neighbor” documentary by the nantucket project, he and rp discuss the different attitudes about the pandemic across the nation, from mask wearing to conspiracy theories and how disinformation can counter productive disease control. meanwhile, as vaccines are rushed to be created, nationalism comes into play: how could the united states have been more globally minded, and thus helped combat covid-19 at home and abroad?
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.
[00:00:19] RP, welcome. Good to see you. Good to see it. I’m going to start with this trip, if I can. We show you this. Over here about it. So we leave. I’ll leave tomorrow morning. I’m going to I’m in it for the first part of the trip. I’m going from here to Ann Arbor, Michigan, with another guy and we both have our motorcycles. We’re gonna do the first 14 hours. We’re gonna do a study of an interstate versus a blue highway. So we’re gonna do interstate day one in a U-Haul with our motorcycles in the back. And then from then on, it’ll be all blue highways and we’ll end up in Lake Itasca, which is the source of the Mississippi. And that’ll happen on the 21st of July. And then our first event at night is on the 22nd in Minneapolis. We have back to back shows. They’re not shows. They’re conversations in Minneapolis on the 22nd and the twenty third. And you can see all the dates here. And then we’ll end up in New Orleans. You’ll see there on August the 2nd. And then we’ll make our way back from there. You know, I want to thank the people from Sloan have been incredibly supportive to us. By the way, Arpey, they’re making all this possible, so I want to thank them. Oh, yeah. Great. Yeah, good. They’re the best. Yeah, it’s been great. Let’s let’s do can we let’s do a show. Let’s really keep talking to this. I want to do a show on Graham Allen, CEO Sloan’s message on Vimeo. To his employees and what he’s done with the mayors, the d.a.’s and police chiefs, the towns where they employ thousands of people. How he’s asked them what they’re doing to address police brutality. Cool.
[00:01:57] Yeah, I like that.
[00:02:01] And, you know, the first the first our first meeting is with Keith Ellison, the attorney general of Minnesota. And then each night we have. A gathering of a mixed group of people in there, it’s conversation driven, Neil Phillips and Simon Greer, the two guys out front, Neil Phillips, who some of you may remember, RPN, I had Neil on a few weeks back. He runs Visible Men down in Florida. Just an amazing guy. And Simon Greer was. He was in the Obama administration. He was the chief community organizer in the Obama administration, but he’s played a variety of roles. But he runs these things called courageous conversations. He’s as good a conductor of a powerful conversation as I’ve ever. Yeah. Powerful conversation as I’ve ever seen. And then more travel with a whole group, 14 people. And then each night it’s relatively small because, you know, we’re trying to be koven safe. But the gatherings at night will be about 15 people more. Closer to 20 people. And then 12 of us will disappear. Those two will be in the tent and then we’ll back away just again, covered and trying to keep it safe. So this is exciting and it’s. It’s not easy when you’re doing something like this. In any case. And I’ve done a lot of live production work. It’s crazy. It’s really hard when you layer in covered. It’s it’s intense. It’s just intense. And this is probably since the big three beginning of the outbreak, been the most negative media about covered since the start of all of this anyway. So you and I haven’t checked in in a couple of days. But, you know, the news continues to be pretty profoundly not that hopeful. Do you see any changes over the last few days that are significant? Well, I mean, on the course of the disease, let’s let’s you know, look, we have all these numbers showing that case incidence is going up, right? So more and more cases are spreading. I think it’s like thirty seven states now have growth.
[00:04:19] If you look at the map of where the disease is growing, where it’s not growing, I think there’s two states where it’s going down. Connecticut and maybe like something north of us. Every other state, it’s flat are going up. It’s going to unfortunately almost certainly start to go from from down to flat, if not up in New York for obvious reasons. School getting back to work. New York is just impossible to really contain and too hard.
[00:04:47] So so there’s the bad news is the other numbers are going up for cases. Right. What we have to watch extremely closely is the death count. Obviously, that’s an ultimate measure of what matters. There’s a lot of hope out there. There’s people writing. There’s there’s the people on the edge. You keep saying, you know, the doubters. One way or the other, they keep saying, where’s the death? Where’s the death? And, you know, the testing is only going up. The number of confirmed cases is going up because testing is going up. That’s actually a good thing. And the deaths aren’t following. And I want so badly for them to be right. But they’re not. And unfortunately, the death numbers are starting to come in. So the deaths are starting to come. Unfortunately so, but let’s, you know, literally pray that a lot of the cases right now that are positive and people that are getting hospitalized. Let’s pray they don’t become ICU patients. Let’s pray that if they’re on the ventilator, that dexamethasone works. Let’s pray that if it doesn’t. That the remedies Vere works. Let’s pray that they don’t die. And that that’s the ultimate fatality rate continues to go lower. It is going lower. The case fatality rate. That’s the small denominator number. That’s the people who present to doctors. People present to hospitals or alternate people. Ultimate die are counted as cases. Let’s hope that the fatality number there goes down. So it was very stubbornly in America, five point six percent, then 5.2 percent. And it could be dropping into the fours right now, which would be great. Obviously, five point six to four point six is not a one percent drop. That’s like a 20 percent drop. That’s a big deal. So let’s hope that that happens. If it does, it’s because of the innovation and the brilliance of our health care workers and also because younger people are getting infected. And because more testing. So let’s hope that that’s optimistic, too optimistic. That’s what we have to hope for. And then, you know, masks. Right. Let’s get the masks on. And there is some real changes there. We have Governor Abbott of Texas, who initially was almost ridiculing his lieutenant governor. The his guy was really killing mask wearing, ridiculing the disease a month and a half ago. Now they’ve come around and they might mandate mass burn. And they’ve talked about doing lockdowns. So lockdown suck lockdowns about the economy, bad for humans. But anyway, I think what you’re seeing on the optimistic side is people are getting more responsible. I think debates about masks are going away. People who are arguing it’s masks are being exposed for the idiots that they are.
[00:07:10] You know, password, but true. And let’s wear masks and let’s distance and. But ultimately, no, not a big change. We’re still on a negative trend.
[00:07:21] Do you. Have you been following it all this this European Union? You know, Trump talked about it as a travel restriction. No, no, I’m talking about it. I fear I’m going to blow the word to use, but that, you know, it’s set up to be a foil to us.
[00:07:39] And, you know, described the relationship in such a negative terms. But I’ll tell you where this came from. Just logic. I’m sitting here and I’m I’m trying to get my head into the place of wearing a mask as bad, because that’s part of what we’re dealing worth with here.
[00:07:57] I mean, you look at, you know, Brian Kemp from governor from governor of Georgia has said that counties and municipalities can not because certain municipalities within Georgia has mandated certain mask wearing requirements. Horrible. Hoover and the governor says they can’t do that.
[00:08:21] It’s a I don’t know what Georgia law says, so go ahead. Well, so it’s core like what’s happening here.
[00:08:27] And all I can think is this is like a tribal behavior. Because it’s very hard for me, you know? Yeah, I’m assuming in Georgia you have to wear a seat belt. This isn’t like an unprecedented thing to ask someone to wear a mask. So what is happening? What’s at the core of this? What’s the motive to be, so to speak, so negatively of the European Union?
[00:08:52] And is it just a hatred of all things left, like what’s happening here?
[00:09:00] Let’s say there’s three reasons. So let’s say. There’s probably three buckets of people who don’t want to wear masks. And one thing we’ve talked about before is that the massive, massive majority of people don’t make up their own minds. Ninety nine percent of people do not do their own research. They do not do their own reading. They do not do their own writing. And they don’t make up their own minds. They follow their rabbi. They follow their priest. If all union leader, they follow their sports team. They follow the celebrity. Maybe they follow a politician. Maybe they follow you, they follow a parent. And the folks in the world who decide, hmm, okay, here’s some points of view. I’m going to research them, take the time to make my own point of view. It’s it’s a scary, tiny number. And it gets to the evolution by all evolutionary biology of us being herd animals, you know, 90 percent of our brains as a herd animal brain, 10 percent as a human brain. Right. Those are just facts in that site. You got a lot of folks are just following someone, and that’s like that’s their native instinct, you know, nose in the tail of the horse in front of them.
[00:09:59] And so then you get to the why would leaders argue, no, no masks, no one, perhaps simply a cognitive capacity issue like this is a brutal thing to say. But studies show folks that literally have less education and less cognitive capacity tend to correlate to folks are anti mask. They just don’t get it. They don’t believe it. They don’t understand it. That’s part one. Part two would be the don’t tread on me mentality, which is one I hold like I am a don’t tread on me guy. Yeah, forcefully. That flag is now. That was a flag of America, by the way. That was legitimate American flag. It’s now being taken over by right wing extremists and even neo-Nazis. But the don’t tread on me ideology of America like individual liberty libertarianism. This is me. I’ll do what I want. I see some argument there, except to your point about it’s not that you’re wearing a mask. I’m not forcing you wear a mask. Protect yourself. That’s up to you if you wanna protect yourself or not. If you want to. You know, a libertarian would say you can’t tell me not to use heroin, for example. Right. Libertarian point of view would say, I want to do whatever I want to do. I’m in charge of my body. I’m a cog. His adult cabined as an adult. And the relation between me and my government isn’t that you, nanny state me and anything. I do what I want. Cool. As a libertarian, my leanings, that instance, I get it. But when you’re putting other people at risk, no dice. You can’t stick a hairy needle in everyone else’s arm. Right. You are the master of the people. So the don’t tread on me thing falls down, obviously, because you’re harming other folks. But that’s that’s that’s a third or second argument. And the third argument is this conspiracy’s. Right. And so the conspiracy theory that and remember, we talk about before conspiracies come out, everybody’s the hero of their own novel. No one’s a black hat in their own story. Right. And conspiracies come from us trying to own trying to put sense in a place where we don’t have control or sense. So you name the conspiracy. It’s actually someone’s attempt to understand and control things they don’t control. So the conspiracy around Maskin, around the disease is, oh, my gosh, why is America in so much trouble? Why is the president. I like the conspiratorial person would say President Trump doing so poorly. Why? Why is all this data showing me that this is we’re failing compared to other countries? Well, it’s a conspiracy. And the only thing I can understand that locks in my own beliefs, the frame set that I live in. The things I can’t challenge, a certain set of beliefs trumps. OK, Republicans are right. You know, whatever that is, I can’t challenge those things without feeling a literal, visceral pain. That’s who I am. I can’t challenge it. These conspiracies allow me to go at a perceived reality and my deeply held beliefs. The conspiracy is what allows those to connect. So it’s a cognitive tool people use to make sense of a world they don’t understand. So, you know, at the end of the day, I don’t care what the reason is. Someone does wear a mask. There’s something about pandemics and epidemics where you all of a sudden realize that there’s a reason we have government and this is it. Right. The reason we have government is so that some collection of us can say we’re going to follow rules we naturally wouldn’t follow. We are going to now wear masks, for example. Unfortunate when a lockdown, certain stores and whatever it is we’re gonna figure out and protect the elderly. We’re gonna compile money to go build a vaccine. This is an instance where the immaturity of extreme libertarianism becomes obvious because you need to have some degree of humanity, humanitarianism, community to do this shit. And that’s what we have to do now. So I don’t care what the excuses. We went to a town in Connecticut yesterday. So, you know, our travel from Idaho across a number of states, the Midwest states, you know, you literally go from signs on doors that ridicule for wearing a mask. Don’t come in my store with a mask on unless you’re the Lone Ranger. And I told you I’d send that to you. I’ll your son to you. Don’t come. Let’s do it with a mask. Let your Lone Ranger. I walked in with the mask. The lady looked to me like I was evil. I mean, I was so negative. And then we walked into Pennsylvania in a store. A big sign. Thank you for wearing a mask to protect our coworkers. Do not enter without a mask. And then I was in. Connecticut yesterday. So we’re moving from west to east and they had blocked the street off and all the restaurants had put tables in the street. It was awesome. It’s great. It was awesome. Everybody had a mask on unless they were seeing the table. All the tables were socially distance. Nobody was screwing around. I mean, there were of course, there are teenagers out hanging out. They all had masks on. There is servers, everyone, Hamas on. I was so impressed. Now, what’s the one state in the Union that for the last few weeks and I don’t want to jinx it, that last few weeks has gone down and down and down in Casey’s Connecticut deaths, down and down and down, economic recovery up and up and up and up. So I don’t know what your argument is not to wear a mask, but you’re dooming your economy. You’re doing your job. You’re dooming your relatives. You’re dooming grandpa. I saw some sign. Some are like throw grandpa some love.
[00:14:55] Put on a mask. And that’s what we’ve got to think about our grandma.
[00:14:59] You know, I read something great, I’m going to read it here. I saw it the other day.
[00:15:02] Friend of mine put this up and it says, just wait until conspiracy theorists discover that they’re part of a conspiracy theory to use conspiracy theorists to spread disinformation via conspiracy theories.
[00:15:20] That’s what you know, that’s true, right?
[00:15:24] And it’s true, and I have friends who this is what they do. They don’t even know they’re doing it.
[00:15:29] You got it. And look, look, there’s a story that everyone should read. So there’s a take too long to do it. Comment. Ping-Pong pizza in Washington, D.C.. You know the story, Tom, right? Yeah.
[00:15:39] There was someone hacked in a John Podesta’s e-mail. He was the head of Hillary Clinton’s campaign. In his e-mails, he kept saying, let’s order a cheese pizza. Hey, what’s up? Who wants a cheese pizza? Who wants a cheese pizza? C, p, c, p. Apparently, that means child prostitution. So people were hacked in his e-mails kept reading cheese pizza. That’s an acronym for child prostitution. Oh, my God, the guy’s got a child prostitution ring going on. These guys are running child prostitutes. And the place he kept ordering pizzas from his comit pizza in Moshin, D.C., which has been there for decades. You probably been there. It’s got a ping pong table. Right. And so this poor guy in North Carolina, father of two young girls, again, the hero of his own movie, not a black hat, not not in his mind, a crazy and by the rest of his life, not a crazy. He got into this, got into this, got into this. Now, here’s a question. Who’s promoting this? Who’s the bot? Who’s pushing the story over and over and over Russia. So this guy in North Carolina thinks he’s his ultimate patriot. He thinks he’s going to go save a child pedophile. It’s a series of children from a pedophile ring. He thinks it’s up in Washington, D.C. He gets his car, gets an assault rifle, drives up to common pizza, walks in, shoots three rings up, rounds off. Boom, boom, boom. Says, where’s the basement? Because they’ve all convinced themselves on 4chan, inside their little conspiracy world that there is a child prostitution ring in the basement. It’s poor guy shoots the door off. This this thing he thinks is the basement. The guy’s like, there is no basement. There is obviously no child prostitution ring. This guy finally comes to his senses. The police around the area. He’s about to die. He walks out. He’s in prison now. So he of course, he is right. He thought he was going to he was a witting fool.
[00:17:15] Right. He was inside a conspiracy to build conspiracies to build a conspiracy theorist all fueled by Russia. It’s exactly what they wanted that happened. Read about the guy. Don’t be that guy to any extent. Don’t believe it. Don’t act on it. It’s all so much for it’s bullshit. And there are evil anti-American forces out there trying to drive us apart by using all the tender, all the gasoline we’re laying out in front of them to drive us apart. And I bet they were drinking vodka shots and high fighting in Russia when they saw this guy doing. This is exactly what they want. Right. So you got it happens and that guy’s in jail. His life is over and his two little daughters don’t have a dad.
[00:17:53] Yeah, well, so Russia stealing Corona virus vaccine information.
[00:18:01] I think you said it before, but of course. Right.
[00:18:07] There’s a part of me that says, of course, and part of me that says, man, oh, man. So we’ve talked before about vaccine nationalism. Right. So we talked about particularly China. If China comes up with a proper vaccine before we do that, that’ll be the equivalent of national pride to them as us putting a man on the moon. I mean, a humongous opportunity for national pride. The premier, the leader of China, she needs this, wants this. Every leader does. And they’re going whole hog to build one. China has already been caught with their hands in the cookie jar.
[00:18:42] Hacking American vaccine efforts.
[00:18:47] Russia, nowhere near the medical infrastructure of the United States. Nowhere near that of even China. They’re trying to hack our stuff, too. So I was in a conversation with an old colleague of mine, an old mentor of mine, one of the great national security leaders the U.S. government won’t name, because I didn’t ask if I could about this. And I wrote like, look what China’s doing.
[00:19:08] This is astounding. And he wrote back astounding, weird word.
[00:19:15] And I said, yeah, you’re right. It’s not astounding at all. Of course they are. China has been stealing American IP for 30 years. And Russia has tried as well. There isn’t as good at it. Look at Russia, as John McCain said, is a gas station masquerading as a country right there. They’re. Their entire output, their GDP. Everything is largely petroleum. They don’t. When’s the last time you saw a Chinese phone or Chinese TV? Sorry. Russian, Russian, Russian phone, Russian TV. That’s not their thing. All the tools I’m looking at behind you, Tom. Not one of those things was made in Russia. They don’t make anything right. And so they’re not going to be able to make a vaccine either unless they steal the whole plan from us. But I was astounded because, look, it’s a time of global shared horror. Can we please put these petty nationalist differences aside and work together for the betterment of humanity? The answer from my friend. You think it’s astounding or not? Of course not. Now, here’s the bad news. This government isn’t doing a great job being global in their thinking either. Now we’re not we’re not hacking anyone’s shit. We’re not stealing their IP. We don’t do that. We don’t do that. We don’t do that. But we’re certainly not being as helpful as I would like to other nations right now. Other efforts. We’re being more nationalistic as well. So it’s, you know, under under stress, we revert to type. We talked about this in our first call, under stress, revert to type. We bring in the defenses, we huddle up. America has been really good historically in not doing that. We’re doing it right now to our. To our. To our to our shame to some extent, but also it does us a disservice. America benefits when we’re out and engaged in helping. So no, I’m not surprised Russia is doing it all. They’re not going to get anywhere with that. Yeah, but they literally they literally might be and treat to get in and screw up our process. Right. I mean, they really, really want us to be in a mess. Back to my point about common pizza.
[00:21:14] Yeah. Fueled by Russia. So Arpey. And then internationally.
[00:21:20] South America apparently is. A lot of go on flager. Yes. And is that just.
[00:21:30] It’s poor leadership. So it’s there is a correlation, obviously, the density of people, which also sometimes correlates to poverty. So that’s one thing that leads to a spread of disease. There’s and there’s a correlation just to bad leadership is the most powerful correlation. Probably is.
[00:21:48] You know, I would actually be worth doing this properly, like getting the real answer, the real answer is the countries that have listen to the health care experts, the public health experts, the epidemiologists, those are the countries that have fared well. The countries that have doubted the experts. The countries that have fared poorly. And then there are some anomalies. Right. So India, listen to the experts. India is having more trouble than they had before. But they they aren’t asking. Think God the way a lot of people predicted they would. And it’s because they did listen to experts. But they have massive density, massive poverty, but they’re doing better. Brazil is a horror show. Venezuela is a horror show. Those are also countries led by really inept, basically corrupt leaders who doubted the disease. So no doubt the disease. Don’t listen to experts and people die. Your country gets crushed. Believe the experts have a plan. Act on it right away. Don’t doubt the science. You’re South Korea or New Zealand. Your Australia. Your Germany. You do well. So it’s that. And remember, get on it early. And these countries haven’t gone out early. And the fact that they are they are not so much Brazil, but other countries are poorer obviously means it’s going to be much harder for them to come out of it. So they’re probably headed for, you know, take the population, those countries, multiply it by times four and then subtract 30 percent.
[00:23:17] And that’s probably number people who might die in those countries as they head towards. You know, a forced herd immunity. It’s going to be dismal.
[00:23:27] Do we have any do we have any news yet on the immunity itself? I’m about to get my tan.
[00:23:34] Well, there’s a big question on immunity. So there’s a whole list of what we call known unknowns. Right. So just all the things we wanted to learn about this disease, we need to know. Right. Remember, it’s like January, December disease. So it’s a six, seven month old disease, really intensive study in last four or five months, meaning brand new. Right. And let’s not forget that most vaccines pre coded and we haven’t figured out recovered yet.
[00:23:57] Take many, many years. Six, seven years, decades or never. You know that HCV HIV vaccine that hasn’t shown up yet? You know, HIV has been around since the 80s. So it takes a long time to do this stuff. Right. We’re hoping that this massive accelerated effort by and a lot of nations will change. You know, what history tells us should happen. But one of the known unknowns, one of the things that we need to learn more about is what’s called conferred immunity. Right. So I have some friends. It’s a couple. They got they got Saras Kobe, too. They got Koven 19 really early. They had the antibodies in their blood. How long will they be immune? Now, when you get here, for example, that one of the vaccines that every kid gets in America called the MMR vaccine. Right. Measles, mumps, rubella, mumps, rubella. And that vaccine, basically, you don’t need a booster. Don’t don’t quote me on this, but I don’t think I need a booster to get the MMR vaccine as a child. You might have to get one more booster in your you’re done for life. You will not get measles like that vaccine as you have conferred immunity forever.
[00:25:09] It it appears, unfortunately, that. People who have had the disease. At some point, maybe within a year or two, we’re less can get the disease again. We don’t know if they’ll be as sick. We don’t first. We don’t know if that’s true. We’re not sure. But there’s a lot of reason to think that might be the case. So other Corona viruses tend to have a very short conference of immunity. Conferred immunity for a short period of time. It’s why you get the cold. People get the cold every year now. It’s a different cold every year. But the cold is a kind of virus. That’s why there’s no cold vaccine. So the bad news is people walking around who say, hey, man, I got it. I’m good. You might be good for a while. I hope you are. If you want to get a little more complicated, I’ll add one more paragraph. So people who it turns out that the worse your disease was like, the sicker you were, basically the more antibodies are in your blood over time. So if you were, you know, super sick at death’s door, you may still have a let’s call it a large amount of antibodies in your blood in three, six, seven months or six months. Been the longest we have to study. If you were asymptomatic, you may have no antibodies in your blood and three, six, nine months, you may have no evidence that you had it. And if you’re lightly symptomatic, again, you may have no evidence. So then the question is, you know, so eighth grade science says or maybe freshman year, science says no antibodies, no immunity. It’s not quite that simple. You could have other mechanisms in your body that still give you immunity that we can’t test now. So either we don’t know what I mean, antibodies to test for, which is very possible, or t cell or other immune system activation could give you a leg up. We just don’t know. So but it is unfortunately possible you can get this disease twice and you can get it. It’s unfortunate. Possible it could be within a year or two or less.
[00:27:02] And you would that same set of would it be the same for and for the vaccine? Is it is essentially the same.
[00:27:10] Thank you for that. Obviously. Great point. We don’t know. Depends what the vaccine is.
[00:27:16] It means it’s very possible that a vaccine that shows up either. So, you know, pray to God we get a vaccine that works. Pray to God that we don’t politically get pressured into launching a less than perfectly effective vaccine like we you know, we we we don’t rush out something that’s we don’t wanna make the perfect, the enemy, the good. But we need to have good versus not good. Right. We have to find that measure where it’s effective enough because the distribution of manufacturing capacity will largely get. Built, used by one vaccine. So let’s hope that we get the right one and we just don’t know yet how long. Now, by the way, it’s possible there are some sciences. There’s different types of vaccine science being used right now and some that are novel. There’s there’s, in fact, the two most.
[00:28:04] The two vaccines I’d be most optimistic about. Are using M r RNA, a technology which we’ve never used before to vaccine. So it’s a novel technology. It makes tons of theoretical sense. It appears to be working up to almost phase three trials. That’s really, really good news. There’s a variety of science has been used for vaccines. I don’t know yet. I don’t think we know yet if those will give you lifelong immunity or how long will confirm it. We just don’t know yet. And that’s part of what you figure out in the trials of us. You’ll never. You’re not going to know perfectly. But, you know, they can build models around how long the media will be conferred.
[00:28:39] We don’t know. When you think about the acceleration of the effectiveness of the treatments. Are you there? I am.
[00:28:50] Treatments versus vaccines, so Gramme Disappear is proving to really be effective in severe cases that it shortens amount of time that you would spend in a hospital. That’s the best study on it right now. And there’s some extrapolated data that it reduces fatality, which what we care about. So that’s positive. There’s dexamethasone, which clearly reduces fatality in severe cases. That’s great news. So these are existing compounds, existing molecules that. And again, this is an example of accelerated science. So decades ago, even maybe 10 years ago, we wouldn’t have been able to study all these compounds so rapidly to see what works. But because of A.I. and a variety of other tools, were able to look at certain compounds now and identify potential candidates to help with the disease. So dexamethasone is a steroid. Right now, I’m disappear. Makes sense as an antiviral that didn’t work against Ebola. But those work. So I’m optimistic about those. So those are first of your cases. And then you have what are called monoclonal antibodies, which is the synthetic creation of these antibodies I mentioned before.
[00:29:54] That is promising. It’s too bad that it’s not accelerating further. But, you know, if we for example, if we end up with no good vaccine, that’s another track that could help confirm any for a while. It could help with treatment for a while. So that’s positive. And then there’s very some of the monoclonal antibodies. There’s basically there’s a more technical name for it, but basically the transfusion of non synthetic antibodies into people, which is, you know, as old as the 1918 Spanish flu, we were using this idea. It’s how we used to treat smallpox and other things where you literally take the blood of a recovered person and put it in the blood of a sick person. And that actually works because you’re again, you’re bringing those antibodies in. So those are all looking positive. And as I said before, the death rate, the CFR, the case fatality rate in America is going down. That’s partly because of more tests. So, so bigger denominator. So a bigger numerator. That’s partly because of.
[00:30:57] A younger cohort, which we know is definitely healthier and exposed this disease, and it’s probably because of better treatments. So it is going down.
[00:31:08] I read an article in the journal, and if you saw the one about the doctor in the Rio Grande Valley, but it reminded me of. Those letters I used to read from Zach, my friend at Columbia Hospital, back when you were there. They’re in there in that stage now where the hospitals are filled and people are dying each day and they’re dealing with the issues related to people dying alone, you know, not with their relatives.
[00:31:36] There’s something. There’s this beautiful irony of the Internet that is all of a sudden all over the information once our fingertips and all the sudden the information became less useful because we know this. We know this exists.
[00:31:49] But for some reason, if you live in Texas and you don’t feel well, let’s say New York, if you live in New York and you don’t know what’s happening in even though you can find out what’s happening in Milan, Italy, it somehow doesn’t impact you the way it might. Until it’s actually right in your neighborhood.
[00:32:05] So in these parts of Texas now, the culture starting to react to it because it’s come home and people are feeling it and seeing it and understanding what it is. And it’s just it’s a it’s an interesting phenomenon. It’s the same story going back to what we were talking about earlier, this question of masks and unfortunately, this question of masks gets all mixed up with politics.
[00:32:27] You know, they do mixed up with things that in many ways it has nothing to do with.
[00:32:33] And it’s so information overload creates these scenarios whereby these things happen. And by the way, there’s another side of that argument. I’m sort of speaking to the need for safety, which I’m all about.
[00:32:42] I’m all about that. There’s another side of me, too, that is with an understood baseline of what safety is. You can make good decisions on the things you should do because I’m I’m pro try to open the schools, let the kids go to camp, let people go to work all intelligently. And for some reason, it’s turned into this either or battle. Not entirely, but largely, which is just a bummer. All this information and we can’t get a good plan together.
[00:33:11] Well, yes. All this information. Sometimes too much information and too much disinformation. So. Again, if you have a deep seated need to believe that this.
[00:33:33] Uses example that, like Donald Trump makes the right decisions, like if you like. Look, I believe I’m thirty nine percent of Americans that say this is my guy. He’s a hero. You know, I trust what he says. I have a Rambo T-shirt, you know, a T-shirt of Donald Trump dressed as Rambo holding a 50 cal. He’s my hero. And I saw those T-shirts in South Dakota.
[00:33:56] Yet this yet somehow I keep seeing on the media that he’s doing a really poor job with this disease. Then how do I make those two things work? Well, the Internet not only has the right information, it’s also got lies and disinformation. So I can go to the Internet and I can find sources that tell me what I want to tell me. Tell me what I want to read that still keep me comfortable and make me not have to confront uncomfortable truths. So, yes. And, you know, there are theorists of the Internet. As soon as this thing popped out that said this is going to happen and they were right. So if you and that’s where you get to this question of expertize ism. Right. Who are you going to trust? And that’s a cognitive skill. Right. Want to know what you don’t know? And to to know who knows it. And three, to know how to listen to them and how to learn. And that takes time. Like, you know, you and I were educated on those things. Like a good school. When I look at schools for my kids, my boys. That’s what I want them to learn. I want them to learn how to learn. It’s what you just described. What don’t you know? Who knows it? How are you going to learn it? And the Internet makes that hard because, my God, there’s all sorts of people pop up that seem super credible and hard to know if I should listen them or not. And my God, I fall for it. You know, my family certainly falls for it and a lot of people fall for it. Now, you and I both probably spent a lot of time fielding. I got one yesterday from a fantastic senior Wall Street analyst who sent me an article. It seemed great and it was this whole thing about you, only 20 percent for herd immunity. It was so well read. It had graphs and everything else. And it took me. I haven’t replied yet. It’s going to protect me another half an hour to show why it’s wrong. And it is. But it was so well done. And not by a kook, by a person who’s trying to help.
[00:35:42] I end up in those things. I find these things so curious. I mean, it’s it is the story of our lives that curiosity matters. And at certain times. Yeah. You make certain bets on certain people for sure. I think that’s a good lesson. And yet I’m still always curious about, you know, the thing I always say I always say this to my team. Like, all the sudden someone will come along and say, that’s not what a black hole is. It’s this. Well, I didn’t know either time when it was the old way or the new way. I have no idea if they’re right or they’re wrong.
[00:36:10] But when someone comes along and says they were wrong, well, then I think, well, OK, well, then just about anything could be wrong.
[00:36:17] And that keeps me curious. I keep reading those kinds of things because I’ve read a lot of those articles. I’ve read articles and, you know, stories about 20 percent here, herd immunity. And and as you say, by the way, is not like the plan Demick video. That was crap. It was crap. It was poorly made to. Some of this stuff is actually pretty well made. And by the way, some of this stuff is scientific and just may be bad science and some of it’s not a scam.
[00:36:42] So if it’s not intentional disinformation, it’s people who are, you know, God love them. They are doing their own thinking. Right. But they just are wrong. And I’ll give you an example. There was a P HD from Woods Hole, which is an Oceanographic Institute, Massachusetts. I’m sure you’re familiar with it. Right. They study the oceans, marine life. And that’s what this guy’s an expert in. He was the first sighted author in a. Massively red piece from JP Morgan, I think it might be Morgan Stanley always getting confused. That was a month and a half old. That said, shutdowns don’t work. The disease isn’t so bad. Shutdowns hurt more than they help.
[00:37:26] And Sweden’s got it right. Basic is what this piece said and the first stated study. And there was a non peer reviewed study about a virus written by an oceanographer. Now, is that oceanographer a bad person? Of course not. Was that oceanographer trying to help? I think so. Was that oceanographer? You know, like a peach and some degree of fiscal science and has some credibility test chop numbers. Yes. Was he right? No, he was wrong. So what do I do? Right. Like, here’s a piece. Who who can, you know, do. You know, fantastic Bayesian modeling and argue, you know, all of a sudden get outclass me in the science, he’s arguing. And he seems compelling. What do I do? Well, I probably go you’re oceanographer. Like, I’d prefer to listen to a viral epidemiologist, epidemiologist. And it’s hard to know how to find the right folks. And that’s that gets back to our book about Cassandras. Right. Like. There’s a lot of examples of these. So we all kind of go for always APHC. He must be right or she’s a general. She must be right. No, not always. Are they specifically expert for decades? And the topic in which you’re asking, do they have a clean track record of prognostication and leadership on this issue without a lot of false warnings and without getting it wrong? Oh, listen to them. And here’s bad news. The head of the CDC, Redfield, does not meet that criteria. He has a bad record on policy leadership as relates to public health.
[00:38:53] He was on the wrong side of some critical issues on HIV AIDS. He’s the head of the CDC. That’s partly why he’s not in the mainstream right now in the media. It’s why Foushee, who’s head of a different institute, is the one who least was the leader of the scientific conversation, America for a while. Till the Trump people decided to try to malign him, which is absurd.
[00:39:17] You know, yesterday I spoke with a friend who’s very senior in the real estate world.
[00:39:28] And long story short is that when you get into the realm of commercial real estate in America right now, it’s a bleak picture.
[00:39:37] And, you know, real estate is among the places where you can see some really good, you know, bellwether information.
[00:39:50] It’s scary. It’s scary and part of what we’re witnessing right now. You know, there were these immediate impacts and you see it reflected in jobs. But then there are a series of impacts at businesses, like a lot of businesses are pretty good at saving for a rainy day. Well, if it rains for 70 days, that’s a different kind of rainstorm. And this rainstorm that we’re in right now, it’s pretty intimidating.
[00:40:14] Where this could go, it’s going to have a profound effect on a whole variety of things. And economically speaking. You know, one of the things he said to me is like, I’ve been through all the recessions. He’s an older guy. He said, this is the one like we just don’t know how and when this ends, which makes it very scary. So I’m reading a lot of the news on the economy. There’s things we know, but there’s so many things we don’t know.
[00:40:41] Yeah, I mean, this is this is it’d be very fair for anyone, including your real estate friend or any major business leader, to say this is such a long tail event or what Nassim Taleb, if I’m saying is name probably calls a black swan event, meaning sort of like a totally random. Out of the blue. Holy Moses, where did this come from? Event. An unpredictable crisis. It would not be unfair to say that because that’s what most business leaders are saying, but they are wrong. This is not a black swan event. This is not a super long tail event. This is a super predictable event. And as you know, you know, Laurie Garrett, who came on our show, predicted this event in startling detail.
[00:41:34] I have I have it here because I’m reading this book by Larry. Right. The end of October, which came out just recently, predicts a event very, very much is a great novel. And it predicts an event very much like this right now. Bill Gates gave a speech in twenty seventeen. This book or 2015, this book, Twenty Seventeen lays out the risk of a viral pandemic. Specifically, the White House plan we made in 1996 lays out the risk of a viral pandemic. Specifically, Obama had a plan like this is so I spent a lot of time with business leaders for decades and government, a lot of time with business leaders and government leaders kind of looking at what’s the outlier event that we need to be thinking about and where do we take our limited resources and where do we invest.
[00:42:23] And the U.S. government had.
[00:42:27] In the late 90s and for a while properly invested into this outlier event, and then we started putting less and less money into it to the point where we didn’t have masks anymore. We now have ventilator’s anymore and we didn’t have the staff anymore. And here you are. So you get what you pay for. This is not a black swan event. I don’t think there are basically any black swan events, by the way. I would love. To have to lab, and I’m sure I’m not saying his name right now seem to lead to lab. I’d love to literally find one real black swan event, a totally unpredicted catastrophe. You could argue about this disaster that the Black Swan event is the economic shutdowns that were necessary to do this.
[00:43:08] But even that’s not that was Tilling predicted as well. So I don’t have a ton of actually I have no forgiveness for government leaders who weren’t prepared for this because this should clearly have been in their playbook.
[00:43:24] I have a lot of what’s the word, not forgiveness. I have a lot of sympathy for business leaders who weren’t prepared because you can’t run an efficient business and have six months of capital sitting by. Your shareholders will never stand for it. That’s not what you’re supposed to do. Their capital and any large corporation, there’s no way they can do that. It’s a little the tax structure of United States doesn’t allow that to happen, particularly for LLC is Escort’s individual proprietor, 80 percent America businesses. You can’t store money in the business, which is something we need to figure out. You can’t store money in the business. You have to get taxed on it every year. So you can’t put away or in a fund in an S corporate LLC or, you know, corporations like that. And that, again, it’s apes, American businesses. So I have a lot of sympathy for those characters.
[00:44:07] I don’t have sympathy for governments who are prepared for this.
[00:44:13] I’ve got to prepare for my next thing, Arpey. Thank you. We’re gonna. So our next one of these is gonna be on the road.
[00:44:20] Now I go out there. He just got back. Now I go again. But I look forward to seeing you.
[00:44:28] I’m so excited to follow your trip. I think it’s so cool. Yeah.
[00:44:32] Postulations. I’m really excited that Sloan Valve and Graham Allen, Jamal and Kirk Allen were supportive. That’s awesome of them. They’re my.
[00:44:41] My second family, really charitable people, too.
[00:44:45] Thanks to them and I look forward to doing this with you. It’s gonna be. I think it’ll be really interesting. And, you know, we’re we’re just if anyone anyone’s curious where we’re taking a lot of precautions. I haven’t gotten my test back yet, but everybody knows no one’s no one’s Koven positive yet.
[00:45:03] But we’re we’re going through all those steps and we’ll update you on all that. So they got tested yesterday. Oh, you did good. Yeah, good.
[00:45:12] Okay, guys, going to a new community next week and everyone who’s going there is getting tested before they go. Tom, have a great trip. I look forward to talking you on the road. Congratulations for doing this. I hope you get really uncomfortable in some situations, and I hope we all get stretch from it.
[00:45:30] All right. Thank you. Bye, guys. Bye.