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Hi, I'm Molly John Fast and welcome to The Daily Beast, the new abnormal. I'm a left wing pundit and an editor at large at The Daily Beast. We're here to have fun, sharp conversations with some of the smartest people in media, politics and science that help make what's happening in the country and the world clear. Our world has been turned upside down on the new abnormal. We'll talk about the people who got us into this mess and figure out how we get ourselves out of it.
And I'm producer Jesse Kennen, and I'm here to make sure everything doesn't go too far off the rails while we have fun discussions about our world gone mad and why I took that dude seriously ourselves. Not so much. On today's episode, we have the legendary James Carville, as well as a blockbuster interview with Andy Slavitt, who's currently the White House senior adviser for covid response.
Can we talk about last week and the impeachment OK? How do you think it went? Extremely well. OK, explain.
OK, first of all, the Democratic Party was united. They were split and continue to be split. I mean, there's nobody not from Joe Manchin to whatever extreme you want to take the Democratic Party to. We're all very enthusiastic about this. I thought the presenters didn't have much talent that we uncovered. We even know we had. Right. And they're just on the defensive. And, you know, now you've got, you know, Nikki Haley saying this and you got McConnell saying that if that was happening on the Democratic side, people would be freaking out.
And I would, too. Yeah, I think I think the thing was a massive success and not hurt Biden at all. Certainly has not helped Trump. So I would call it a massive success.
It's almost like Trump has declared war on Mitch McConnell and he's declared war on everything and everybody down, that it's not part of this cult. And they are a significant part of McConnell, the Gang of Seven. I guess it is the 11 House members, something that that's the most bipartisan impeachment vote in history. And there's not a lot of different people. And I think what you do is you just you know, there's no saying in politics is not very creative if your side's in trouble.
So the water recedes in trouble, is just passing over and they're burning right now.
So what do you think Biden's best tactic is now?
Ignore to do exactly what he's doing, leave it to the Congress and leave it to the Justice Department. I would tell the new attorney general when he's confirmed is I want the law followed and administered without favor or any other way. And if you conclude that any person had broken the laws of the United States, for God's sakes, you know, do what you can about it. And I thought at that point, I go about my business.
Do you think that what is happening with this sort of internal war with Mitch and Trump is going to keep going? And where do you see I mean, we have twenty twenty two. It's a bad map for Republicans. Could you see this playing out there?
I guess to an extent I could. You know, I think this conversation, I'll never speak to him again. And I guess there's some hope, a realist and maybe it'll just go away. I doubt that it will. And what they've got to worry about is real trumping people running in the primaries in twenty twenty two. I mean, that's the great fear that they have. And if they could gloss over this and you're right to map it in this, you know, they're going to compete in Florida and North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Iowa, a lot of places.
And it can't take a divisive primary to some Trump person gets nominated cost in any number of Senate seats. And that's what they're mortified of right now. And who knows what he's going to do going forward. But he doesn't have the same forum at the same platform. They don't have the same influence. But you also have influence over a good seventy five percent of the Republicans, which causes a huge heartburn. Yeah.
Can we talk about Bill Cassidy? Sure. What do you think was going on there? Because I'm just curious. It's so unexpected.
I have to say they're pretty sure it's right. I think his wife had a lot to do with this. I have no idea. But I noted miscast is like a thing. She teaches special needs kids. You know, she's very popular in South Baton Rouge, which is the kind of, you know, more affluent part of Baton Rouge. And I know a lot of people I know not great, but she's just strikes me as the kind of person would not be impressed by an armed insurrection.
Yeah, I don't I don't think that it would be very impressed by again, I have no and talked to a friend of ours who told me that. Yeah. That human nature, MacNamara or whatever you want to call it, is pretty good and. I think it's all pointing at. She might have been the tipping point here, that vote. How do you survive politically after something like this? Like these Republicans did the right thing and they were very brave and they.
But wait, how do they survive this?
Let's look right now. Biden is making the most massive bet in modern American politics, and that is that this one point nine or whatever, two point one trillion dollar relief package he has, that that will work and that will result in inflation. And if they if they're right and if the economy comes back like a lot of people think it will, because there's pent up savings, demand and pouring all this new money into the economy. And they're right.
The Democrats are going to have a very good run here, a very good run. However, if they're wrong and it produces inflation and something else happens and mismanagement is a new variant that starts going wild in the country and is going to be real trouble in the city. So just understand, this is this is a this is a huge bet. They're going to pass this. And if it works, the Republicans are in deep trouble. I mean, there's a reason that the people say the Republicans only care about deficits when Democrats in office and the reason that they care about deficits are spending with a Democrat and they do it themselves.
But don't let Democrats do it is because they know that this ship works, right?
It works every time. If you buy it, you spend more, the government spends more and they give you people a tax cut. It's going to boost the economy. Now, some people will tell you that a good enough economist to say, well, is it a sugar high or you come back and pay for it later. I have no idea. But Reagan was the great Keynesian president there ever was. But they cut taxes and boosted the defense more to spend it on people eating.
But it's still a dollar that goes and that's what's behind this. And if this thing, if it pays off and Democrats have a good a good couple of cycles and if it doesn't, it'll be it'll be not good. But that's why that's so interesting.
I mean, I hadn't even thought of, like, quite the gamble that was going on. There is a theory that if you lose three different elections, you start to sort of rethink your position. So if we looked at Trampas like they lost, they've lost, they lost in midterms, they lost this last election. So if they do get a shellacking in twenty twenty two, do you think that that could finally be the end of Trump?
Yeah, because it could happen. If they get a shellacking in twenty twenty two, the same thing will probably happen to them in twenty, twenty four. That happened to Democrats and 20 20 reason that Joe Biden you know, go to waltz to the nomination. Democrats just want him to win. Somebody said they will for Medicare for all and it didn't matter what they thought it was a lose in a general election. Ask Elizabeth Warren just fell off a cliff because they were just looking at how can how can we win?
And when you got when itis who cares if he's how old he is or who cares if I don't agree with his position on, you know, bank loan debt forgiveness. We've got to win this goddamn election. Are you kidding me? When I have time to. Well, if they get beat in twenty, twenty two, that's going to be an appealing message for somebody to say we want to go down this road again. You want twenty eighteen.
You want twenty twenty or twenty twenty two. Maybe we ought to try something different, you know, going to come up whatever slogan principle conservatism or against Bush compassionate or whatever but that, that will whet their appetite a victory where they do well in twenty twenty two presidential candidates will say, you see once people got to look at the alternative, they like what Trump did like we did, period, 2016 18, you know, more pollution and more inequality.
The country craving for that.
Eight and a half a million dead Americans in country loves it.
Yeah, that that's going to be that's going to shape the direction and go. I would hesitate to say. I think Senator Cruz can't come. Yeah, let's can we.
I was just about to ask you about that. Texas, do you see a world in which this helps Democrats in Texas?
You know, it's hard to see how it hurts. If so, you know, this has got some ways to go because there's a new thought coming through and trying is kind of rolling outages. And, you know, it depends, but it's impossible to see how this hurts. Right. That is I don't see that is a possibility. So I can't give an event like this. It'll hit. It'll have some effect.
Ted must be really happy. It's not up for re-election in twenty twenty two is very happy. It is exceedingly dry up there. Twenty four degrees. Got to get to twenty four but he can deal with that. But this was a true fiasco going to Cancún and turning around and coming back. Oof! How do you think he came up with that idea? I think just actually they don't think about it. I mean, I don't know how you spin this.
It can't you know, it was Lyndon Johnson, somebody here, Vietnam, boy, it was a disaster. And the guy said, you know what if I say this?
He said, Sonication ship something sometimes just can't.
There's nothing, no spin on this. And I mean, he got down and waitlisted himself and turned around and came back to Houston. You know, I just one day even thought about that would be the question. Do you think about this might not be the best kind of optical that you can come up with at all? This is not a great idea. I would bet the question that I'd love to know.
I don't know. I mean, but it is kind of it's kind of amazing. I watch that Biden Town Hall, and he would I thought he was really he's so compassionate and you really see that. And it feels very stark compared to Trump, do you think? I don't think he's a gifted orator. Like, I'm not sure him unscripted is so great, but I do think his interaction with constituents is amazing.
He's always been that way. The brilliant thing about Joe Biden and his advisers is they are not brilliant and they are brilliant and they don't come out to be brilliant, which would be a colossal mistake. So if they put him in that, they they know he's going to score high on empathy. He's going to connect with people. And look, is he going to ramble some. Yeah, but, you know, he's he's been that way. That's the thing about him.
He's never succumb to well, if we do these three things, if we pivot to this, that we do that shit.
Well, that's I think that's good because he can he can't play one row and that's Joe Biden. And that's OK, because it's kind of a rogue people right now. And the one thing is certain to be more Melber and I said, look at forty one, Biden at 61. And I said, Trump is a joke and Biden is not. That's worth 20 points in American politics. I people like an orange are significantly better than to go like a jerk.
Right. And that's one thing that Biden comes across as he's not he's not a jerk. Might be things that people some people don't like or something is different, but not that. And I think that he will do more damage because I think he will conclude, as will the people around him, that, hey, this worked out pretty good.
A lot of people say that Obama was sort of too smart and that he didn't he sort of overthink himself, if that makes any sense. Do you think that the Biden administration is countering that in a way?
Well, you could say the paralysis of analysis. I think that Biden has figured out what we can't look back. We got to, you know, in that there's a lot of bad history about the Obama package was to insufficiently big and they should have gone bigger and one vote or passed it by one vote. How could have gone it? But I think that yes, Biden, you know, they took Obama away to get a C or more in the middle of a horrific financial crisis that.
So I think Biden out of the chute is, you can say is more definitive than President Obama was. And, you know, Obama had a more a plus debate. And, you know, Oprah, on the other hand, and I think Biden is like, hey, if the plan stroke switch and go back and look again, as I pointed out, got he's got an awfully big bear out that he's inherited the worst.
I mean, have you ever heard of a president inheriting a pandemic, a financial crisis and a and, you know, enormous reckoning with policing and race and Blair on top of that, you know, bitter political divisions within the country.
So now he's in if you go on and on and you think about the climate crisis, the rise of China, the fall of American influence over four years, we don't have a lot of time to to second guess himself. I mean, he's he's got to go and to his credit. But we can see so far he's going I mean, that makes pretty good decisions so far. A lot of credit for that.
The climate stuff seems really scary.
It's so scary. I mean, living in the region, I mean, it just it literally ground zero. We five hurricanes last year. I mean, I can't imagine what all of this is like in all of this, again, in the middle of a pandemic. And it's not going to get any better, I promise you. But everybody knows that. So I think they've got some good people they've appointed in some of these positions. I think the vaccines are starting to go a little better.
They're not quite that crap out as fast as they can see.
I keep thinking that even though things are. Run in a way, you know, the conversation has shifted from like the president is about to do something insane. I don't mean boring, I mean boring with quotes, but, you know, shifted from is he going to blow us all up to what's he going to do about covid relief? I don't think American democracy is safer than we'd like. It still feels like there's really scary elements at play.
Yeah. I mean, look, you know what we've learned if we just kind of become a totally new but everything kind of attitude must end with problems that, you know, all crises. And we had 9/11 and we had Katrina and we had you know, I'd never like crossed my mind that the United States, as I knew it, would not be there in the future. Boy, that cost a lot of minds here in the last four years.
And, you know, there's this kind of sense where, you know something, it's a close call. We're not over. This is not you know, this call has not been made that our survival, the kind of within the framework that we're accustomed to, is going to continue. I could see Biden's economic plan. Sometimes things don't go well and a new value comes in and there's an economic collapse, and that's game set, match for the United States.
We knew when we came very close to throwing a whole goddamn thing over the fence. Yeah, we just kind of had a last minute dive and catch it. We caught it, but we're not out there. Yeah, we dodged a bullet. But then democracy as we know it, the Supreme Court is sitting on Trump's tax returns. There's no earthly reason in the world that they don't issue that order, that the New York authorities are entitled to it.
They just keep sitting on order. I'm I don't trust the Supreme Court to protect our institutions at all. At all. And what I see right now, that's a bad.
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Now we're going to speak to White House senior advisor for covid response, Andy Slavitt, and his story is so interesting in that he went from being the head of Medicare, Medicaid for the Obama administration to podcasting his way through the best ideas of how to solve this pandemic during the Trump administration. And the Biden White House was then smart enough to take him on and bring them back in to be this lead on covid response. And so today we're going to get some answers on what's going on with the vaccination process.
Hi, Andy. Welcome back. Good to be back. We're excited to have you. I've been watching your briefings. You have? Yes. So what is it like to inherit the covid response after having seen it from the outside to go right in and baptism by fire? Get going with that?
The first two days were a little bit scary because we we didn't really realize how much had been done and what we thought had been done hadn't been done. And we didn't really have a plan to belittle the people that were working on it. They were really good people working on it. But there wasn't support from the top. Really? Yeah. Yeah. So, Jared, this plan, I thought Jared had it handled.
Yeah. Well, I mean, let me put it to you this way without taking your. If they had a plan, it was a plan to create vaccines.
It was not to vaccinate people. Right. So it was like like other things that they had done where it was like we do our part, the federal level, but it's all on the states. And if it doesn't go well, we're not going to take accountability. And that's an uncharitable description that I'm not really saying this to be political pressure point fingers, because the truth is, I don't want people thinking about whether to take a vaccine or not to say I'm a Democrat.
I said I'm a Republican. I shouldn't do this. That doesn't matter. It shouldn't matter. But, you know, I think personally, like coming from the off to the sidelines where I was, you know, a critic to actually doing it was good. I mean, it was you feel like we all feel much better when we can actually affect the outcome and sit on the sidelines. And so it was nice to join a team of people that had been comparably chomping at the bit to try to solve these problems.
Yeah, it feels like Foushee has been given permission to do his job.
I think we hear that across the government from scientists and civil servants, people in FEMA who just say, I feel unleashed. Yeah, but you do well, is logistics management. Don't do it. What do you do? Well, it's scientific discovery. Go do it. And places that you watch these briefings. We do. And we set them up so that people could hear straight talk, scientists, public health people consistently repetitively like it, by the way, Germany did from the beginning.
And then, you know, then they get to hear our strategy on top of it and we answer questions. So there's plenty enough smart people to solve this problem. We just need to let them do their jobs, organize them and create a sense of urgency around this. And that's what we're we're that's what we're trying to do.
It seems like you guys got a lot more vaccines. Can we talk about that? Yeah. So, you know, when we got here, there were three things that hadn't been put to bed. Not enough vaccines, not enough vaccinators, none of the places for people to get vaccines. So the president directed us to purchase enough vaccines sufficient to vaccinate all Americans, repurchased six hundred million vaccines, and they will be produced and ready to be out the door by the end of July.
And those are from Pfizer and Madani. That's exactly from Pfizer return only. So if other vaccines are approved, approved, as we hope that'll be on top of that. So we should hear in the next week or so from Johnson and Johnson and that vaccine that would that would obviously be great news, but that's been a bit disappointing.
I feel like they've tempering expectations on the timetable of production, you mean? Yeah. So let's start with that's the important thing is the efficacy and safety of the vaccine. And FDA is going to opine on that. And I think that's going to be knock on wood every other day that we've seen. So it sounds like this is going to be very positive, but they'll come out with their recommendations. Yes, I think like with all the vaccine manufacturers, I was under the impression coming in, as many Americans were, that there were big stockpiles of vaccines waiting to go out the door that were produced over the course of the last year.
And that has been much, much less the case then. I think we'd been led to believe what it is. But I would love to tell you we were going to be starting with a huge stockpile of Johnson Johnson vaccine. The truth is, we're starting with a small number and we've got to build it as quickly as possible and put in plans to build it as quickly as possible.
But the JNJ is exciting because it's a one, is it? It's a one shot right at one shot.
They're actually testing it now to see how it works with two shots as well. But the numbers from one shot are pretty good.
And also it doesn't have the same supercold. It's not as. Fragile, right? Right, exactly. It doesn't need this what they call this cold chain set of freezers and so forth. So that's a the positive, but it also means that the good vaccine for the world. Right, because you've got to get it to remote places.
Can you explain to me what's happening with AstraZeneca? Because that seems like very much a cluster fuck. Sorry, is that a scientific term? I don't know if you heard it.
Well, so AstraZeneca is approved by the WTO and the EU. And it's a it's a very low cost. Simple, but it's simple. It's a very low cost vaccine. You know, I think the challenge, the challenge as you point to is that in South Africa, it didn't appear to do very well against the South African variant. The CEO of AstraZeneca tells me they will be able to adjust the vaccine to make it work for South Africa. So we'll see.
Hopefully that's the case. That would be very good news because we got a vaccine when we're going to vaccinate billions and billions of people because it's absolutely around. So we're very hopeful in terms of the US. They don't have complete US data yet. They haven't submitted right then submitted yet. So we're not taking in any of our plans and looking for other vaccine candidates approved by the FDA.
So the FDA will if they do make a submission, the FDA will do its work, the data will be publicly visible and we'll all get a chance to to see. And then they'll they'll make a decision based upon that. But right now, that's not it's not what we're dealing with.
Can we talk about variants? I'm sorry I get so excited about this. I know it's you know, as a trial participant, I just want to talk about it all the time, all day long. These variants. So the UK variant and the South Africa variant are different strains. There's a lot of information out there. It's not clear. Some of it is very scary. What is your take? And it sounds like from what she was saying yesterday, it sounds like it's definitely coming here and it's definitely here.
What do you think this means for us?
Let's talk about short term and long term, short term to be one one seven variant, which is the one found in the UK. That's the one that's most in abundance here. It does spread faster. That is the bad news. And it might be more lethal, although unclear. And if it is, it is not dramatically more lethal, but it is more contagious, which means that it will be more lethal, fewer particles. If it's more contagious, it'll end up killing more people, which will make it more.
So the good news is that all of the vaccines work very well against the English. The UK would be one one seven variant. So that's that's good. The South African variant. And there's another one that looks like the South African variant called. That's the Brazilian variant. That one. It's interesting. There is a degradation of performance of the vaccines against that, against the South African variant. However, that degradation is thankfully still above the scientific threshold for effectiveness.
So it's like it was beating it by a lot. Right. It still generates antibodies. It doesn't generate as many, but that's good. So that for the near term, that's the picture I I've talked to all of the vaccine manufacturers since I've been here about what their plans are to keep updating their vaccines because there will be more mutations and we need to make sure that science wins the race against the variants. And so the FDA is coming out with guidance not just for the vaccines, but also for the monoclonal antibody therapies and and the diagnostic tests to make sure that they can as rapidly as possible and as safely as possible, continue to keep up with and stay ahead of the variants.
So it is both a short term question as well as the ability for us to have science continue to move fast.
I want to go back to the vaccine effectiveness against the variants for a minute, because this is a question I think I know the answer to this, but I want to know if I'm right in these vaccines still prevent severe disease from the variants, even if they don't prevent infection, is that correct?
Well, yes. And again, the variants are all a little bit different, but they they prevent both mild and severe against the UK variant, and they do it not as good a job, but still a good job against the South African. And more so certainly severe disease is a very smart question, Molly, because most of us could live with a runny nose and a slightly elevated temperature. We don't want us to be hospitalised, need to go on oxygen and die.
Those are those. So they call these clinical trials. They call these the endpoints. We may have done a little bit of a disservice to ourselves when with with Moderna and Pfizer vaccine, we talked about the endpoint as including modern and mild. Yeah. Because we really don't care as much about the mild. And so we get very fixated on the fact that there are ninety five percent percent effective I. Both right, and we probably should have stepped back and said, you know what, that's just measured against more severe symptoms, in which case the Johnson Johnson does very close to comparable.
And we've seen. Oh, that's interesting.
I didn't realize that I should say most of these questions I have I sourced from people who can't find answers to this. I figured you're the perfect guy to ask. So my best friend just got the vaccine. And she's concerned, though that seems to be a lot of information floating around that these vaccines only may be effective for three to six months. Is there, as a frontline worker, a way to get tested and find out how effective your vaccine is and if you need a booster after you get your second shot a few months later.
So we don't know durability yet of the vaccine. It's obviously too early to know.
I think the scientists are look, I mean, everybody is rightfully conservative about releasing information. They don't know the facts. I think people feel pretty good that the duration of these vaccines is good. And what that means, how frequently will you need a booster? Will it be like the flu? And every year, will it be two years? Will it be more than that? No one really knows the answer to that just yet. But I'd say that people should be confident that whatever that answer turns out to be, the scientific agency and the pharmaceutical companies are very focused on making sure that that's at Molly.
What was your experience and the outcome of of the vaccines you took when you did when you did that, when you participated in the trial?
So I was given the placebo and then Pfizer vaccinated me, OK? And it was great. It was like the best thing ever. But I was so thrilled and and I didn't have any I wasn't particularly sick or anything from the vaccine. Got it. Because I'm such a loudmouth. I became like friends with all my doctors at the study site and all the other, you know, I just had a blast. And now I you know, I'm friends with the Pfizer.
You know, I just talk to everyone because that's, you know, America's grandmother.
So each state is handling this rollout differently, some to greater success than others. And this could be obviously pretty disheartening if you're one of the people who lives in one of the states. Is the federal government doing anything to, like, give some of the best practices that are working these states to the states that are not doing it as well?
Just your sauce and some great questions. I appreciate that.
So when we got here January 20th, one of the things we learned is that only forty six percent of the vaccines delivered to states had actually made its way into people's arms. Now, you would expect that to be one hundred percent, but forty six percent, that's pretty low. The good news is states are doing a lot better today. All of them are doing better and that number is now around seventy five percent. And I can go into the reasons why that is.
But a lot of it is, as you say, Jesse, some of the best practices giving just clear visibility into how many vaccines they are, how many people are going to get, because when there's shortages, people hoard, just storing them away for the second shot to a shot at more.
And we basically said we are going to give everybody three weeks of visibility and that vaccines are coming. That's great. And that really helped. And then we kept increasing the amount of doses and so people started to feel more reliable. The second thing is we started standing up around states with their knowledge, of course, other programs. So we've been standing up these things we call community vaccination centers with FEMA. We've been standing up a program to deliver directly to retail pharmacies.
We have delivered now directly into mobile clinics and community health centers. So we're supplementing the vaccines within the states. And that that does even out some of the variability that you see in states, because we're just putting more in directly with a little bit more control. And that, I think, helps the cause. The other thing I think is important to understand here is it's quite obvious that just how many vaccines are being administered, but also how equitably, equitably they're committed.
Because, look, we all know there are half the population or more with Carl over broken glass to get the vaccine right. But the problem is they're calling over other people. They're getting online and going into communities, maybe neighborhoods they've never visited or visited a long time, or we put vaccines in the communities that are really hard hit by the virus. Right. People are coming in, refreshing their browser, going in and getting these appointments to us.
It's really important that we not just focus on how many people we vaccinate for that we do it as equitably as possible. And that's a big, big push for us.
Is there a way to prevent that, to make sure that the vaccine goes to the people who are who live in the area? Or is it just too complicated?
Oh, no, it's really important and we're trying to measure it. But unfortunately, most people don't enter race and ethnicity even that we know that it's disproportionately going to white people and privileged people. And unless you mean the way it's structural racism works, I don't mean to get on a soapbox, but health care at least is. Unless you actively do something, then that's what you expect to happen. So we ask people to reserve appointments for people from the community.
We're asking people to do outbound calling, arranging rides. A lot of it is access. Some of it is some vaccine hesitancy as well. And we address those issues, too. But a lot of it just pure access point.
Can we talk for a minute about West Virginia and if they want?
West Virginia was held up as kind of a model in a strange way. Is that still true? And have you been able to take lessons from it?
They are one of the states that's in the sort of the top five in terms of vaccine efficiency. I have talked personally to the person who runs the program in West Virginia. I like what they're doing. There are lessons we do every week with governors and on a pretty regular basis with all of the health directors and vaccine coordinators. And there are there are lessons that every lesson applies to every place. Some are local. But look, there are fifty eight states and territories.
There aren't 50 best ways of doing this.
Are you able to get into the indigenous people and vaccinate? Yeah.
I mean, it's too early to call it a success, but there's a special allocation for indigenous people. And I read a story this morning in the popular press saying that the native communities are embracing vaccines, which is great, fantastic. So, like, if you look at where some of the top performing states are, but not one of them is Alaska, largely because of the direct allocation into the native communities is a really good question. It's the first time I've been asked that question.
I'm so glad you asked that.
And I know this isn't going to be a big issue because it's not necessarily contagious enough to become another covid. But Ebola is there's now an Ebola outbreak, right. Or it's cooking.
Yeah. So, look, the good news now is hopefully that people realize that if something happens anywhere in the world, it affects us and we're connected. And I think the last time there was an Ebola outbreak, you know, I think at there there's a certain amount of that group of people. Well, as far away as over there, you know, I remember when I was in China and it was like, oh, well, that's so far away and won't be going to China for a while.
Right. That was sort of the kind of reflexive mindset today, I think understanding why having the best global resources out of the CDC and the WHL to identify these things as quickly as possible. And hopefully the world will be smarter, not just the world organizations, but all of us as individuals will understand that the diseases are a fact of life that we haven't thought about very much in a long time. Unless you are someone who is very affected by the AIDS and HIV epidemic here, those people who have been affected, the people who live in San Francisco, in New York and we have been here for a long time, will tell you they will never forget what that was like.
Right. And Foushee worked on that, that you worked on that.
But, you know, so many Americans and I I was I was not that old, but I was a teenager in 1980. But I think for a lot of us like it, you know, a lot of times if it's not happening to you, you feel safe, you ignore it. And I look back on this period now with some amount of horror and shame that as a country, we all of these people were dying under our eyes and we didn't do better.
And it didn't really enter everyone's consciousness because many people were able to run away from it. And I hope that never happens again.
So I have two different friends who are long haulers. And, you know, I'm getting really scared because, one, every doctor they go to would kind of just throw their hands in the air and says no one knows. They can't find resources. Ones abusing painkillers now, which leads to another crisis. Is there anything being done to create a resource about what treatments are working for long haulers and anything for support for them?
First of all, Jesse, congratulations on having all these friends. Well, someone has to. Yeah, that's right. I know you're special. And look, I'm really sorry to hear about those situations.
Those are so challenging for people. And I have been numerous times on the Facebook support groups for of the long haul. And it's quite a community that I do think there are.
And there are answers around the corner. But what needs to happen is exactly you describe and it is it is happening, as you know, and at least in some cities now, there are covered centers for people with chronic illness from covid so that people can be treated, people can develop a body of expertise that can be studied. The NIH is focused on that. It doesn't get enough attention, but it is critical. You know, I have heard something well, I don't want to deal in rumor, but I have heard I read somewhere.
And one of the chat boards at the people who are long haulers that have got vaccinated, that's been health. And I'm telling you this, a completely non-scientific non government official way, and I'm sure that the people on the on the websites will will know more and get more depth about that. But I've seen some discussion around that. And, you know, I I have a family member who has had lingering symptoms, unfortunately, with Courbet. And I think they're improving and they're not debilitating.
But the mystery is is almost as much of a problem as the fact itself, because it it's a lot of concern among all of us mentality. And that's very real, because if you were I think if you were just feeling the symptoms and the Western mysteries surrounding them, we would all breathe a little bit easier. But the unknown is scary. Appreciate that.
I heard Foushee talk about viral load and he did work on HIV. I'm curious to know what the thinking is there with that, because he was saying that that it may be that these variants have an increased viral load and that the viral load may be may have some. You know, can you talk about what the science is saying right now on that?
Yes, I would I would do my poor version of Anthony Fauci about the Brooklyn accent. And, you know, if you haven't met him, he's like 10 times as delightful as he seems. No, I think what he said is, you know, we we are now we know first of all, the first the sad fact is that is we believe there's a correlation between viral load and infectiousness. So make sense. And we are now have some empirical studies, although they're not, you know, the huge, huge body of data which says that the viral load is decreased for people who are vaccinated.
So that would tell you that the question that I think all of us have been waiting for an answer for but have been hopeful on is that it appears to be pointing in that in a positive direction that these vaccines not only reduce disease and save lives, but these vaccines also will reduce the ability of people to infect one another, which, if it holds up, will be terrific news. So, you know, I think that's what he's sharing with folks.
You know, you mentioned the briefings that we do and and Kolinsky and others from the administration, you know, sharing honest answers when we don't know everything is part of science and it does sometimes make people uncomfortable. But it is our commitment. And he does I think he does such a great job at doing that and explaining things. But I think that's what he was saying.
It's so interesting. I mean, it just feels like the science is evolving so quickly.
Yes, it is encouraging. I mean, it is I will tell you just from the inside, look, talking to our scientists, the government, talking to the researchers that are doing this work within pharmaceutical and biotech companies, it is encouraging that you do get a sense that very smart people getting their hands around things. I'd say this without giving a false sense of everything is solved. And it's also true in almost all walks of this. I feel like we skipped a year and then we could have spent energizing the country and asking people to contribute.
And like, you know, I mean, we have companies and private sector, public sector that are just coming up, making commitments that are and doing really forward-looking things to help end this crisis that I feel like they've been very eager to do. And it's very encouraging because it's this will not get solved by one administration or the government as a whole. It'll get solved by everybody working together. And I think we just missed an opportunity over the last year to call people and say, hey, can you help?
It's a lot harder to do nothing than to do something. To sit around and feel victimized is is the worst feeling. But this country, I think it's starting to get mobilized. At least that's my perception. I know people are exhausted, but they're going to be exhausted from dealing. They're not going to be dealing with misinformation. They're going to be dealing with facts. And I think that will help sustain people until we get through this. It's so interesting.
I so appreciate you coming on. I just it was really great and so helpful for us. Thank you.
Yeah, it was great to talk to you both again. And Jesse, congratulations. I don't appreciate it. He's very popular. It's quite annoying.
Hi, Jesse. Hi, Molly. So excited to be here for the segment, you get to participate in our segment. We love to be here for the discourse. That's right.
We're all about the discussion because we're going to discuss such great people, some of my least favorite people in the entire world.
You know, what's interesting is sometimes when we record this, there's not an obvious fact that guy there's just a whole mess today.
It's like from the mess outside our homes in Brooklyn today of shitty snow.
I like my dirty snow because it's being covered by fresh, clean snow and it's also covering all the garbage. But I want to talk to you about the great state of Texas.
I don't mess with Texas, but not in the way they say with like I don't mess with Texas is having one of the great humanitarian disasters of the year and maybe the decade. People are literally freezing to death. There is that power. There is not heat there. Boiling water. I mean, it's just like it's really sad.
I got very upset watching some tick tock of it last night.
Yeah. I mean, people are really, really suffering. And you know what people want their elected officials to do when they're really suffering. What's that? When you're suffering without power or heat, you want your elected to go on television, hopefully on a far right cable news network like Fox News and talk about how this is all the fault of AOSIS Green New Deal. Yes. Which doesn't exist.
And they tried to manipulate tons of statistics to say that it was all this clean energy.
That is actually the problem when that's the exact time is about clean energy makes up about 12 percent of Texas's energy and 88 percent is oil and gas. And this oil and gas was not winterized. But instead of going on television and saying stuff that was actually true, a lot of these people, including the Texas governor, Abbott, went on television and said that, in fact, this was the fault of wind power and not the fact that they never winterised the grid.
And so it failed because it froze and they have no regulations as we learn, like, you know, when China has these low grade earthquakes and it destroys whole villages. And yet when we have them, people don't even notice regulations get a lot of bad, bad raps, but they do really good things for making sure your infrastructure doesn't fail.
Yeah, I mean, I am actually, you know, pro regulation. But anyway, so when people are freezing to death and boiling their water and have no power or heat for days and days on end, they like elected officials to go to Cancún to have a vacation.
Yes, this brings me to my fucked up. But, you know, I'm not going to take the easy and go straight for Rafeal. Ted Cruz lying, Ted lying, Ted subdue, call him. And Canada's worst export. That is definitely the case.
I still think we got to go for one of my least favorite, just vile human beings, Dinesh D'Souza, who made a particularly bad tweet. Would you like to read it?
I mean, how can I not read this Dinesh D'Souza tweet? And you know, what's so interesting about this tweet I would like to point out is that do you think that Ted Cruz would die on a hill of defending Dinesh D'Souza? Because I do not know. I was reading and I was thinking Ted would not do this for you.
I think, you know, it really speaks a lot to the Trump party system that he gave to that. That was simply because there was oil that really showed that they because no one likes to show up for Trump, who likes everybody who likes him.
And, well, he has a wife, so I guess his wife. What could Ted Cruz do if he were here in Texas? I'm hard pressed to say if he's in Cancun, that means I'm doing a dramatic reading in case for those keeping track of him. If he is in Cancun, that means he's not using up valuable resources of energy, food and water that can be used by someone else. This is probably the best thing he could do for the state right now.
You know, the worst ones, though, to me were like the Erick Erickson ads who like we're like, who cares about elected officials? He's not going to do anything. Thinks it's like, you know, these people complain about out of touch elites all day. That's the whole thing of divide and culture war. And then when their elites are out of touch, it's time to go to bed defending. They've got to trot out all the best defenses because we can never, ever be owned by the Libs.
God forbid. You know, what's interesting to me is like I think about it, we always are given such a difficult time because people say Democrats turn on their own.
And that's sort of true. But it's also true that, like, if an elected Democrat did something like this, we'd be all over them, too. I mean, just because you're a Democrat doesn't mean you do the right thing all the time, in fact. Why don't we just give a bonus, fuck that guy to the people with that and say, fuck you two, are you and I's governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, Andrew Cuomo has recently been caught threatening a congressman from Queens.
And when asked our terrible Democratic mayor, Mayor de Blasio, I prefer build the bug.
That's the one right wing I like to use.
He was like, yeah, that's what for my dad. Yeah. And, you know, usually I could never have said de Blasio, but would he? He is definitely the person boastfully because at this calling that witness to the stand, I think is a fair game.
But Andrew Cuomo really did disgusting things here with these nursing homes and covid patients and then covering up things and then selling himself as the savior of covid when he's been just really, really reprehensible and has behaved like the thugs that Republicans characterize Democrats as he is the caricature of that. And we need to do better when we elect Democrats. And so for that, I think he gets a fuck that guy to.
I'm right there with you, I think. But that guy. On that note, we'll wrap this up as sort of the new abnormal from The Daily Beast and future episodes, we'll be talking to smart folks from The Daily Beast and beyond, from media, culture, politics and science will help us understand what's happening to our country and the world. We hope you'll subscribe to us on your favourite podcast app and share the show on social media. Thanks so much for listening and we'll see you again on the next episode.