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Showing Revision 6 created 05/28/2020 by Erin Gregory.

  1. David Biello: It's now
    my great honor and privilege
  2. to introduce Dr. Georges Benjamin,
  3. who's the executive director
    of the American Public Health Association,
  4. who has a long and distinguished career,
  5. both as a medical professional
    and as a public health professional.
  6. Please give a warm welcome
    to Dr. Georges Benjamin.
  7. Georges Benjamin: Hey, David, how are you?

  8. DB: I am good, how are you, Dr. Benjamin?

  9. GB: I'm here. (Laughs)

  10. DB: Hanging in there. Good.

  11. GB: Hanging in.

  12. DB: We know that the theme of the moment
    is reopening, I would say.

  13. We just heard one possibility for that,
  14. but obviously,
  15. a lot of countries have already
    reopened in one form or another,
  16. and I believe, as of today,
  17. all 50 states here in the US
    have reopened in one form or another.
  18. How do we do that smartly,
    how do we do that safely?
  19. GB: Yeah, we really do need
    to reopen safely and carefully,

  20. and it means that we have not
    got to forget these public health measures
  21. that really brought down
    the curve to begin with.
  22. And that means thing such as
  23. covering up your nose and mouth
    when you cough or sneeze,
  24. wearing a mask, washing your hands,
  25. physically distancing yourself
    to the extent possible from others.
  26. Thinking about everything we do,
  27. you know, before we go to work
    in the morning,
  28. while we're at work.
  29. And being as careful
    as many of us have been
  30. in the last two months,
  31. as we go into the next three months,
  32. because this thing is not over.
  33. DB: Right.

  34. There is the chance of more waves,
    as Uri [Alon] mentioned.
  35. It seems like it's kind of
    incumbent on all of us then
  36. to take public health
    as kind of a second job.
  37. Is that right?
  38. GB: You know, I've been arguing a lot

  39. that now that everybody really knows
    what public health is,
  40. that everybody should always recognize
    that their second job is public health,
  41. whether you're picking up the garbage
    or working in a grocery store,
  42. or you are a bus driver,
  43. or you're, you know,
    like me, doing public health,
  44. a physician or a nurse,
  45. everybody needs to put
    the public health mantle
  46. into what they do each and every day.
  47. DB: What do you think --

  48. So we're all public health
    professionals now,
  49. what do you think
    the new normal we might expect,
  50. as countries reopen?
  51. What is that going to look like,
  52. or what do you hope that looks like,
    as a public health professional?
  53. GB: If I could wave a magic wand,

  54. I would clearly recognize
  55. that people are going to be doing
    a lot more of the public health things,
  56. in terms of handwashing
  57. and thinking about what they do
    around safety when they go out in public.
  58. You know, it was not too long ago
  59. when you got in your car
    and you didn't put your seat belt on.
  60. Today we do it,
  61. and we don't think anything about it.
  62. Most of us don't smoke,
  63. because we know that that's bad for us.
  64. Most of us look both ways
    before we cross a street.
  65. Most of us, you know,
  66. do things in our house,
    that are -- fix trip hazards.
  67. So as we go forward with this outbreak,
  68. I'm hoping that people will pay
    a lot more attention
  69. to things that can cause us
    to get an infection.
  70. So you know, cleaning things,
    disinfecting things.
  71. More importantly,
    not coming to work if you're sick.
  72. I'm hoping that employers
    will put in paid sick leave for everybody,
  73. so people can stay home.
  74. Yeah, it’s an additional cost,
  75. but I can tell you that we've now learned
  76. that the cost of not doing
    something like that
  77. is billions and billions
    and billions of dollars.
  78. Paid sick leave is pretty cheap
    when you do that.
  79. DB: Yeah, we are, I think,
    envious in the United States

  80. of all the countries that perhaps have
  81. a more all-encompassing
    health care system than we do.
  82. Would you agree that masks
    are kind of the symbol
  83. of adopting that "public health
    professional as a second job" mindset?
  84. GB: Well, you know, it's funny.

  85. Our colleagues in Asia have had a mask --
  86. wearing masks as a culture
    for many, many years.
  87. And you know, we've always
    kind of chuckled at that.
  88. When I went overseas,
  89. I would always kind of chuckle
    when I saw people wearing masks.
  90. And of course, when this first started,
  91. you know, we only promoted masks
    for people that were infected
  92. or of course, health care workers,
  93. who we thought were
    in a higher-risk environment.
  94. But I think that wearing masks
  95. is probably going to be
    part of our culture.
  96. We've already seen it probably will not be
    part of our beach culture,
  97. although it probably should be for now.
  98. But I do think that we're going to see
    more and more people wearing masks
  99. in a variety of settings.
  100. And I think that makes sense.
  101. DB: Yeah, wear your mask
    to show that you care about others.

  102. And that you have this,
    kind of, public health spirit.
  103. So speaking of Asia,
  104. who has done well?
  105. Looking around the world,
    you've been doing this for a while
  106. and communicated with your peers,
  107. who has done well
  108. and what can we learn
    from those good examples?
  109. GB: Yeah, South Korea
    in many ways is the role model.

  110. You know, China actually,
    at the end of the day,
  111. did reasonably well.
  112. But the secret to all of those countries
  113. that have had less morbidity
    and mortality than we have,
  114. is they did lots of testing very early on,
  115. they did contact tracing
    and isolation and quarantine,
  116. which by the way, is the bedrock
    of public health practice.
  117. They did it early, they did a lot of it,
  118. and by the way, even though
    they're reopening their society,
  119. and they're beginning to see
    episodic surges,
  120. they then go back to those basic
    public health practices
  121. of testing, isolation, contact tracing
  122. and transparency
    to the public when they can,
  123. because it's important for the public
    to understand how many cases there are,
  124. where the disease is,
  125. if you're going to get
    compliance from the public.
  126. DB: So testing,
    contact tracing and isolation.

  127. That doesn't seem like rocket science,
    to use that old cliché.
  128. Why has that been hard
    for some countries to implement?
  129. What's holding us back,
  130. is it electronic medical records,
  131. is it some fancy doodad,
  132. or is it just maybe overconfidence,
  133. based on maybe the public health
    successes of the last 100 years?
  134. GB: You know, we are
    very much a pill society.

  135. We think there's a pill for everything.
  136. If we can't give you a pill for it,
  137. then we can give you surgery and fix it.
  138. You know, prevention works.
  139. And we have totally
    underinvested in prevention.
  140. We've totally underinvested
    in a strong, robust
  141. public health system.
  142. If you look at the fact
    that in the America today,
  143. you can very easily know
  144. what's coming off the shelf
    of a grocery store,
  145. Amazon knows everything
    there is to know about you,
  146. but your doctor does not have
    the same tools.
  147. At three o'clock in the morning,
  148. it's still very difficult
    to get a hold of your electrocardiogram,
  149. or your medical record,
    or your list of allergies
  150. if you can't tell
    the practitioner what you have.
  151. And we just haven't invested
    in robust systems.
  152. One of the interesting things
    about this outbreak
  153. is that it has created an environment
  154. in which we're now dependent
    on telemedicine,
  155. which has been around for several years,
  156. but we weren't quite into it.
  157. But now, it's probably
    going to be the new standard.
  158. DB: But it also seems --

  159. So, obviously,
  160. those countries with an incredibly
    robust health care system,
  161. like Taiwan, have done well,
  162. but it seems like even countries
    that perhaps would be considered
  163. to have a less robust health care system,
    like a Ghana in Africa,
  164. have actually done well.
  165. What has been the, I guess,
    the secret sauce
  166. for those kinds of countries?
  167. GB: Yeah, it's still pretty early
    in some of their exposures,

  168. and hopefully, they might not
    have a wave that comes later,
  169. that's still a possibility,
  170. but at the end of the day,
  171. I think, to the extent you have done
    good, sound public health practices,
  172. all of the countries that have done well
  173. have implemented that.
  174. Now we're a big country,
    we're a complex country.
  175. And yes, we didn't get
    the testing right to begin with.
  176. But we should not repeat the mistakes
    that we had over the last three months,
  177. because we've still got
    several months to go.
  178. And now that we know what we did wrong,
  179. I'm encouraging us
    to do it right the next time.
  180. DB: That seems smart.

  181. GB: And the next time is tomorrow.

  182. DB: That's right.

  183. It's already started.
  184. I mean, it almost seems to me,
  185. if I can use this metaphor,
  186. that some of these countries
  187. already had the, kind of,
    antibodies in their system,
  188. because they had experience
    with maybe Ebola or the first SARS.
  189. Is that the key, previous exposure
  190. to these kind of public health crises?
  191. GB: Well, this is a very different virus.

  192. And while there may be some early evidence
  193. that MERS and SARS one,
  194. we may have some
    early protection from that,
  195. there's some early,
    early studies looking at that,
  196. that's not the solution.
  197. The secret sauce here
    is good, solid public health practice.
  198. That's the secret sauce here.
  199. We should not be looking
    for anything, any mysticism,
  200. or anyone to come save us
    with a special pill.
  201. This is all about good, solid
    public health practice,
  202. because, by the way, look,
  203. this one was a bad one,
  204. but it's not the last one.
  205. And so we need to prepare
    for the next really big one.
  206. We think this one was bad,
  207. imagine what would have happened
    had Ebola been aerosolized,
  208. or MERS had been aerosolized.
  209. You know, pick a TV movie.
  210. Even though this was a bad one,
  211. we still dodged a really,
    really bad one this time.
  212. DB: Yeah, Middle East
    Respiratory Syndrome is no joke,

  213. and we should be thankful
    that it doesn't spread more easily,
  214. like SARS-CoV.
  215. Is this, though --
  216. So all these diseases are zoonotic,
  217. that means they jumped to us
    from the animals that are out there.
  218. Obviously, humanity is
    kind of encroaching on nature
  219. in an ever more, kind of, urgent way,
  220. whether that's climate change
    or going into the forests, what have you.
  221. Is this just the new normal,
  222. like, we should expect
    pandemics every so often?
  223. GB: Well, they do come periodically,

  224. so this is not, you know,
    the first pandemic, right?
  225. We've had several,
  226. 100 years ago, the 1918 influenza,
  227. SARS was a significant infection,
  228. even though it didn't get
    this bad, SARS one.
  229. And we had the avian flu,
  230. which was a challenge,
  231. and the swine flu.
  232. We had Zika.
  233. So no, we've had several
    new disease outbreaks.
  234. These emerging diseases happen a lot,
  235. and in many ways,
  236. we've been fortunate
  237. that we have been able
    to identify them early
  238. and contain them.
  239. But we're now in an environment
  240. where people can, by the way,
    make some of these things up.
  241. Now, this one did not happen,
    as best we can tell, it's not man-made.
  242. It did not probably come
    out of a leak in the lab.
  243. But we know that, when I was in school,
  244. to grow a bug, you had to be
    pretty sophisticated.
  245. That's not the case today.
  246. And we need to protect ourselves
    from both naturally occurring infections
  247. and from those that are created by humans.
  248. DB: Plus we have other,
    kind of, threat multipliers,

  249. like climate change,
  250. that make pandemics like this
    that much worse.
  251. GB: You know, I was saying climate change
    was the greatest threat human survival

  252. before this one.
  253. But this is rivaling climate change.
  254. But let me tell you,
  255. the big challenge we have now
  256. is that we have a pandemic,
  257. which we have still not contained,
  258. as we enter hurricane season,
  259. and we have climate change,
  260. which is exacerbating the ferocity
    of the hurricanes that we're having.
  261. So, you know, we're in
    for an interesting summer.
  262. DB: And here's Chris with, I think,
    a question from our audience.

  263. Chris Anderson: Many questions, actually.

  264. People are very interested
    in what you're saying, Georges.
  265. Here we go, here's the first one
    from Jim Young:
  266. "How do we deal with people
    who don't believe this is serious?"
  267. GB: You know, you just have to continue
    to communicate the truth to folks.

  268. One of the things
    about this particular disease
  269. is that it does not spare anyone.
  270. It does not recognize political parties,
  271. it does not recognize geography,
  272. and we had lots of people,
    particularly in rural communities,
  273. that were not seeing it,
    because it had not yet come to them,
  274. and they didn't believe it was real.
  275. And now many of those communities
    are being ravaged by this disease.
  276. And so we just have to --
  277. You know, it's not appropriate
    to say "I told you so."
  278. It is appropriate to say,
    "Look, now that you see it,
  279. come on board and help us
    resolve these problems."
  280. But this is something
    that's going to be around for a while.
  281. And if it becomes endemic,
  282. meaning that it occurs all the time
    at some low level,
  283. everyone is going to have this experience.
  284. CA: Thank you.

  285. Here is one from Robert Perkowitz.
  286. "We seem to have been ignoring
    and underfunding public health,
  287. and we were unprepared for this virus."
  288. Look if the question
    is going to pop up there,
  289. I think it should, by some magic.
  290. "What should our priorities be now
  291. to prepare for the next
    public health crisis?"
  292. GB: Well, we now need to make sure
    that we've put in the funding,

  293. resources, training,
    staffing on the table.
  294. And by the way,
    our next public health crisis
  295. is not 10 years from now,
    it's not 20 years from now,
  296. it's the potential co-occurrence
  297. of influenza, which we know
    is going to happen this fall,
  298. because it comes every year,
  299. with either continued COVID
    or a spike in COVID.
  300. And we're going to have a disease process
  301. which presents very much the same,
  302. and we're going to have to differentiate
    COVID from influenza.
  303. Because we have a vaccine for influenza,
  304. we don't yet have a vaccine for COVID.
  305. We hope to have one in about a year.
  306. But that still remains to be seen.
  307. DB: So get your flu shots.

  308. CA: Yeah.

  309. Indeed, in fact, David Collins
    asked exactly that question.
  310. "What is the likelihood of a vaccine
    before the next wave?"
  311. GB: Well you know, the fastest vaccine
    that we've ever developed was measles,

  312. and that took four years.
  313. Now, a lot of things are different, right?
  314. We have started on a SARS-one vaccine.
  315. So it had gone to a lot of animal trials,
  316. it had gone to some
    very, very early human trials.
  317. As you know, we just got some announcement
  318. that at least it does seem to work
    in monkeys, in rhesus monkeys,
  319. and there's some evidence that at least
    it may be efficacious and safe
  320. in a very, very small number of people.
  321. When I say very, very small
    number of people,
  322. handful of people.
  323. So now it's got to go to phase two
    and phase three trials.
  324. So, yeah, [David] held up two hands,
  325. so yeah, yeah, it's a small
    number of people.
  326. What that tells you is either
    that those folks were very lucky,
  327. or it works.
  328. And we won't know until we put this
    into the arms of thousands of people.
  329. CA: Here's an important question
    from a TED Fellow.

  330. "How do we actually train people
    about what public health means?
  331. Especially in the context of folks
  332. who don't believe they have
    a responsibility to 'the public?'"
  333. GB: Well, you know, I remind folks

  334. that when public health does its best job,
  335. nothing happens.
  336. And of course, when nothing happens,
    we don't get credit for it.
  337. So the reason that everyone
    in this country
  338. does not have to get up every morning
    and boil their own water
  339. is because of public health.
  340. The reason that,
    if you get into a car accident,
  341. you know, get into
    an automobile collision,
  342. and you wear your seat belt,
    and you have airbags,
  343. and you're not killed
    from that automobile collision,
  344. is because of public health.
  345. The reason that the air
    is safe to breathe,
  346. the food is safe to eat,
  347. is because of public health.
  348. The reason that your kids
    are not in clothing that ignites
  349. is because we have
    fire-retardant clothing.
  350. And that is a requirement.
  351. The reason that you don't trip
    walking down the stairs
  352. is because we've actually looked
    at how to build the stair
  353. so that people don't trip
    when they go up or down it.
  354. That's actually
    a public health intervention.
  355. So the built environment,
  356. medicines, all those kinds of things,
  357. vaccines, those are all public health,
  358. and that's why public health is there,
  359. and you may not believe
    that it's that important,
  360. but we couldn't live without it.
  361. CA: Maybe one day we can all
    envision a health care system in America

  362. that actually has some incentives
  363. that point towards public health.
  364. That would be very nice.
  365. David, I've got to just keep going
    with some of these questions, if it's OK,
  366. because they're pouring in.
  367. There's one here from Jacqueline Ashby.
  368. Important question for every parent.
  369. "What are your recommendations
    about sending children back to school?"
  370. GB: Yeah, I'm struggling with this one,
    I've got three grandkids.

  371. And the good news is that my grandkids
    are more technically proficient than I am,
  372. and right now are getting
    their lessons remotely.
  373. I think it's going to be a challenge
  374. as we think about sending
    kids back to school.
  375. We're going to really need to know
    how infectious kids are
  376. and how well they do
    when they get infected.
  377. Now, right now, it seems,
  378. except for a very small number
    of children who get a very rare disease,
  379. that they tolerate this disease very well.
  380. But the central question is,
  381. how many of these germs
    will these kids bring back to you
  382. and to grandma and grandpa.
  383. So that's going to be important.
  384. And you know, trying to tell
    an eight-year-old
  385. not to interact with their friends,
  386. is a real challenge.
  387. By the way, trying to tell a 17-year-old
    not to interact with their friends
  388. is going to be a real challenge.
  389. So, we've got to properly
    educate these kids,
  390. we've got to figure out
    how we stagger their schedules.
  391. Uri's idea for the workforce
  392. might be an interesting
    concept for schools,
  393. because the idea is to try to decompress
    the number of kids in the classroom.
  394. By the way, if you get smaller class size,
    you get better education, anyway.
  395. So, we've got to have
    enough teachers, though.
  396. So that may be the rate limiting step.
  397. CA: Alright, last question here for now
    from [Steven] Petranek.

  398. Masks. Advice on masks --
  399. I switched that off, here we go.
  400. Advice on masks seems to have shifted.
  401. "Would most Americans
    who live and work in cities
  402. be better off wearing masks
  403. to also help reduce
    the air pollution particles
  404. they encounter every day?"
  405. GB: It may help some, absolutely.

  406. But let me tell you
    what I would prefer we stopped doing:
  407. burning fossil fuels.
  408. And doing all those terrible things
  409. that we are doing to destroy our climate.
  410. You know, everyone's talking
    about the fact
  411. that we've had this amazing reduction
  412. in CO2 because we're not driving cars.
  413. I've got to tell you,
  414. that is the best evidence
    that climate change is man-made.
  415. All those climate change skeptics
  416. who don't think
    climate change is man-made,
  417. we have just had a worldwide demonstration
  418. on what people do
    to create climate change.
  419. And so what we need to do is stop
  420. and move to a green economy.
  421. DB: Here, here.

  422. CA: Thank you so much for those,

  423. I'll dip back in at the end
    with maybe a couple more.
  424. Thank you for this.
  425. DB: So we're waving the flag for masks.

  426. But also, one of the things
  427. that has become clear from this
  428. is that COVID-19 is not the great leveler
    that maybe some had hoped it was.
  429. Some communities
    are experiencing much worse,
  430. significantly worse outcomes than others.
  431. Why is that?
  432. GB: We're talking principally
    about the African American

  433. and Latino communities
  434. that seem to be disproportionately
    impacted if they get the disease.
  435. And it's because of exposure, primarily.
  436. Those populations
    have more public-facing jobs.
  437. So, you know, bus drivers,
  438. grocery clerks,
  439. working in long-term care facilities,
  440. nursing homes,
  441. in meatpacking facilities, chicken farms.
  442. So that's why they're much more --
    going to be exposed to the disease.
  443. Susceptibility.
  444. Lots of chronic disease.
  445. So we know that particularly
    African Americans
  446. have disproportionate amounts
    of diabetes, heart disease,
  447. lung disease,
  448. and because of those chronic diseases,
  449. we found early on that that virus
  450. is more detrimental to those populations
    that have those diseases.
  451. And so that's the big issue here.
  452. That is what's causing
    those differentiations
  453. and it's really a challenge,
  454. because in many ways,
  455. those are many of the people
  456. that we have decided
    are essential employees
  457. and have to go to work.
  458. DB: That's right.

  459. So what is, in your view,
    the public health intervention
  460. to protect these essential workers,
  461. if you have ideas on that front?
  462. GB: I absolutely do.

  463. We started this by a testing strategy
    based on symptoms.
  464. And now that we have enough tests,
  465. we need to make sure that not only people
    get those tests for clinical reasons,
  466. and people who have symptoms,
  467. but also begin to prioritize people
    who are public-facing,
  468. who are essential workers.
  469. So, certainly people working
    in nursing homes, hospitals, etc.,
  470. but bus drivers, security guards,
  471. grocery store clerks.
  472. They need to be tested,
  473. and they need to have testing
    with the periodicity
  474. that will secure them, their families,
  475. and give everyone the trust
  476. that they're not going to be infected
  477. and we're not going to infect them.
  478. People who work in meatpacking plants,
  479. as an example.
  480. And we've seen the real tragedy
  481. of what's going on
    in the meatpacking plants,
  482. because they are working in an environment
    where they're shoulder to shoulder.
  483. There are some other things
    they need to do
  484. in terms of figuring out how to give them
    physical distancing on the assembly line,
  485. that's going to be important.
  486. But again, Uri's idea is not a bad idea
  487. for this nation to consider,
  488. for many of those industries
    to think about.
  489. DB: Yeah, we have to make sure
    that these truly are folks

  490. who are treated as essential workers,
    not sacrificial workers, it seems to me.
  491. And obviously, this is not
    just confined to the US.
  492. GB: Oh, absolutely.

  493. We're seeing these disparities
    not just in the United States,
  494. but in other countries as well.
  495. And they have a lot to do
    with race and class
  496. and the types of jobs that you do,
  497. the occupations that you do.
  498. And quite frankly,
  499. we should have thought about this
    when we saw the first data
  500. that showed that in China
  501. people with chronic diseases
    were much more at risk
  502. and had worse health outcomes.
  503. We would have sped up
    our actions right away,
  504. because, look, that's happened
    with every new disease
  505. that's come into the country.
  506. DB: So it seems like a lot of this
    goes back to that potential --

  507. it's not an oxymoron,
  508. public health is everybody's job,
  509. and we need to adopt that.
  510. What does, in your view,
  511. a robust public health
    infrastructure look like?
  512. What would that look like?
  513. GB: Well, you know,

  514. anytime a new health threat
    enters our community,
  515. we ought to be able
    to rapidly identify it,
  516. contain it,
  517. and if we can mitigate it, for sure,
    and eliminate it if possible,
  518. and then put in
    all the protective measures
  519. that we had before.
  520. So that means having a well-staffed,
  521. well-trained governmental
    public health entity,
  522. just like we have for police, fire, EMS.
  523. It means that they've got to be well-paid,
  524. it means that they've got
    to be well-resourced.
  525. You know, we still have
    some of our contact tracers
  526. out there using pen and pads.
  527. And sending things to Excel Spreadsheets.
  528. No, we need the same kind
    of robust technology
  529. that the folks at, you know,
  530. any of the online retailers are using,
    whether it's Amazon, etc.
  531. We're still looking at data
    that's two years in the rear
  532. to make data-driven decisions.
  533. We need to be able
    to make immediate decisions.
  534. By the way, Taiwan,
  535. you mentioned them earlier,
  536. I remember being in Taiwan
  537. watching data come
    from infectious diseases, real time,
  538. from their electronic
    medical record system.
  539. So, you know, we can do this,
    the technology exists.
  540. DB: Imagine that.

  541. Wow, real time health information,
  542. what a difference that would make.
  543. Do you think that technology
    can help us here,
  544. whether that's the Google-Apple
    collaboration or whatever else?
  545. GB: Technology can help us,

  546. but it's not going to replace us.
  547. We're nowhere near where we can sit back
  548. and have our electronic avatar
    do our work for us.
  549. But the technology can outstrip our work.
  550. It can give us situational awareness.
  551. It can give us real time information.
  552. It allows us to send information
    from point A to point B
  553. for data analysis.
  554. It allows us to do second thinking,
  555. so we're doing all this modeling,
  556. it allows others to check
    our numbers right away.
  557. So it could speed up research.
  558. But we have to invest in it,
  559. and we have to continue it,
  560. because obsolescence is always
    the evil part of technology.
  561. DB: And it looks like
    Chris is back with more questions.

  562. CA: Yeah, I guess we're getting
    close to the end,

  563. but the questions keep coming in.
  564. There's one here from Neelay Bhatt.
  565. "What role do you see parks,
    trails and open space play
  566. in assisting larger public health goals?"
  567. GB: You know, green space
    is absolutely essential,

  568. and the ability to get out
    and walk and exercise,
  569. having sidewalks, so that you can have
    communities that are walkable,
  570. bikeable and green
    for utilization of all ages,
  571. it's good for our mental health,
    it's good for our physical health.
  572. And I always tell folks, you know,
  573. it's a great place to go
    when someone's gotten on your last nerve.
  574. CA: Indeed.

  575. Here we have one anonymous question.
  576. Where possible don't go anonymous,
  577. because we're all friends here
    when all said and done.
  578. Probably someone ... Anyway.
  579. Let's see, but it's a good question.
  580. "There are many who are highly suspicious
    of what the real experts are saying.
  581. What have you found to be effective
    in helping the highly suspicious
  582. be less suspicious and more trusting?"
  583. GB: Tell the truth.

  584. If you make a mistake, acknowledge it
    and correct it right away.
  585. Be consistent.
  586. And don't say stupid stuff.
  587. And far too often that happens.
  588. And you know, one
    of the interesting things,
  589. we've already been through this
    with the mask discussion.
  590. You know, traditional wisdom was
    that we only had people wear the mask
  591. if they were infectious,
  592. or you're in a health care environment
  593. where there was a high risk
    of getting the disease.
  594. And then we said,
  595. no, it's OK for everybody to wear a mask.
  596. And that's because we learned eventually,
  597. and became much more believable,
  598. in the science that we had
    asymptomatic spreading.
  599. But we did not communicate it very well.
  600. We said, oh, no, no,
    we're changing our minds,
  601. everybody can wear a mask,
  602. after telling people not to wear a mask.
  603. And then we didn't spend enough time
    explaining to people why.
  604. So we lost trust.
  605. So we need to do a better job of that.
  606. And then our leaders
  607. need to be very careful
    what they say when you have a bullhorn.
  608. And by the way, I've made mistakes,
  609. I've said things on TV
    that were just wrong,
  610. because I was wrong.
  611. And I've tried very hard
    to try to correct those
  612. as quickly as I can.
  613. All of us do that,
  614. but you have to be strong enough
  615. and have a strong enough personality
    to say when you're wrong
  616. and then correct it.
  617. Because at the end of the day,
    once you've lost trust,
  618. you've lost everything.
  619. CA: Well if I might say so,

  620. just the way in which
    you're communicating right now,
  621. I mean, to me, that is
    a means of communication
  622. that engenders trust.
  623. I don't know what magic sauce
    you have going there,
  624. but it's very, very compelling
    listening to you.
  625. Thank you so much for this.
  626. David, do you have any other last cues?
  627. GB: I've made lots of mistakes.

  628. DB: Yeah, no, but it really
    has been a real pleasure

  629. to have you join us,
    and thank you for that.
  630. Just one final question if I may.
  631. You've been doing this for a while,
  632. what gives you hope looking forward?
  633. GB: You know, let me tell you something.

  634. The one thing that gives me hope
  635. is when I see people taking care
    of their friends and family members.
  636. I mean, drive-by birthday parties.
  637. I saw that on the news today.
  638. People who are calling their friends.
  639. I've heard from people
    that I haven't talked to in years,
  640. who are just calling me to say,
  641. "I haven't talked to you
    for a long time. Are you OK?"
  642. So do more of that.
  643. And the trust we've had in one another,
  644. and the love we've shown,
    it's just been absolutely amazing,
  645. so that gives me hope.
  646. DB: Humanity for the win in the end.

  647. GB: Yeah.

  648. DB: Well, thank you so much, Dr. Benjamin,

  649. for joining us
    and for sharing your wisdom.
  650. GB: Glad to be here.

  651. CA: Yes, thank you.

  652. GB: You guys be safe.

  653. Your families be safe.
  654. DB: Thank you, you too.