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FAREED ZAKARIA GPS

Interview With White House's Trade And Manufacturing Director Peter Navarro; The Curious Case Of COVID-19 In Sweden; Jiayang Fan: I've Been Mocked More And Been The Target Of Racial Slurs; Jiayang Fan: Asian-Americans Are Avoiding Speaking Their Native Languages And Are Covering Their Faces; Anti-Asian Racism In The Age Of COVID-19; Erika Lee: Xenophobia And Racism Can Get Activated During The Times Of Crisis. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired May 3, 2020 - 10:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[10:00:28]

FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN ANCHOR: This is GPS, the GLOBAL PUBLIC SQUARE. Welcome to all of you in the United States and around the world. I'm Fareed Zakaria coming to you live from New York.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZAKARIA: Today on the show, from COVID to Cold War. The administration is making the case and strongly that Beijing's recklessness unleashed the virus on the world.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They could have contained it.

ZAKARIA: President Trump now threatens to hold China accountable. I'll talk to White House economic and trade adviser, Peter Navarro, the administration's so-called super hawk on China.

Also bars, restaurants and hair salons. Remember them? Well, in Sweden they never closed. And its COVID infection rates aren't as bad as you might imagine. Why? We'll find out from the country's chief epidemiologist.

Then, how do you protest in the age of COVID? We have images and answers.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAKARIA: But first here's my take. For all those of us who have watched with mounting terror as President Trump offers the public a series of his half-baked ideas and hunches on how to handle and treat COVID-19, the solution seems obvious. Follow the science.

Trump's detractors have taken up this mantra.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Follow the science. Listen to the experts. REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): Science. Science. Science.

GOV. LARRY HOGAN (R), MARYLAND: We're going to follow the doctors and the scientists.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: But what does that mean? After all it was Dr. Anthony Fauci who initially downplayed the dangers of the coronavirus. On January 26th he said it's a very, very low risk to the United States. It isn't something the American public needs to worry about or be frightened about. A few days later, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALEX AZAR, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY: The risk of infection for Americans remains low.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: To be fair, he was merely reflecting the views of the government's public health officials. At the same time, Trump adviser Peter Navarro, a non-scientist looking at the same data coming out of China, warned in a January 29th memo of the risk of the coronavirus evolving into a full-blown pandemic imperiling the lives of millions of Americans and urged aggressive action.

It looks like the layman was right and the scientists were wrong. But putting it that way is too simplistic. The reality is that science does not yield one simple answer. Especially not with a new phenomenon like the coronavirus.

Dr. Fauci came to a reasonable conclusion given the initial evidence. As that evidence changed he changed his mind. We tend to think of science as providing one definitive answer to a question. But that isn't really how it works.

Science is above all a method of inquiry. The posing of questions and the rigorous testing of these hypotheses against data. With new and better data, we should arrive at new and better conclusions.

Now, there's certain fields of study, climate change, for instance, where scientists have researched the topic for decades, collected mountains of data, published thousands of peer reviewed studies and arrived at a consensus. COVID-19 is entirely different. It's a phenomenal that is barely four months old with little definitive research.

In an excellent piece about the pandemic posted last week, Bill Gates had a whole section on a number of key things we still don't understand. And these are central to fashioning the right response. One example, why do young people tend to do so much better with the disease? The answer after all would help us to decide how soon and under what conditions to reopen schools. Other questions, which activities make infections more likely? Does

weather affect the virus's spread? Keep in mind that we do not have accurate numbers for the virus' rates of infection or spread or death.

As we go through the process of locking down and now opening up, scientists around the world are gathering data at a furious pace. We should welcome this and use it to refine, even reverse views about the pandemic. We should welcome those who have heterodox approaches.

T.J. Rogers, the founding CEO of Cyprus Semiconductors, ran an analysis of the available data that led him to conclude that the speed with which cities locked down had little appreciable effect on lowering the death rate from COVID-19.

[10:05:06]

That's a fairly crude model but it's still worth looking at. It suggests, for example, that high population density is eight times more likely to correlate with a high death rate than a late lockdown is. This might explain why densely populated cities like New York with crowded public transportation networks have been hit so hard and why states like Florida, despite waiting longer to lock down, has had relatively few deaths.

And while it always makes sense to be cautious and plan for the worst there are real costs to the precautionary principle. By canceling non- emergency medical procedures in anticipation of COVID-19 patients, hospitals denied care to many sick people who got much worse as a result, even though it turned out many facilities had the capacity to care for both.

Balancing such cost and benefits is ultimately not just about health. If we lowered the speed limit everywhere to 35 miles an hour, we would surely save lives, yet we try to strike a balance between costs and benefits.

Donald Trump's willful ignorance makes us all want to hand the country over to Dr. Fauci. But that is the wrong response. We need leaders who take responsibility and make choices, informed deeply by science, but also by economics, politics, ethics and other disciplines.

Just as war is too important to be left to the generals, pandemics are too important to be left just to the scientists.

For more go to CNN.com/fareed and read my "Washington Post" column this week. And let's get started.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: I just told you about Peter Navarro's impressions on the damage coronavirus could visit upon the United States. He is one of China's toughest critics in the administration as well. Navarro is the director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy and he joins me now from the North Lawn of the White House.

Peter, welcome. PETER NAVARRO, DIRECTOR, WHITE HOUSE OFFICE OF TRADE AND MANUFACTURING

POLICY: Good morning, Fareed. How are you?

ZAKARIA: Very well. Let me begin by agreeing with you. You say that China lied about the virus. And I think there's evidence, clearly, that initially there was a cover-up, whether at a local level or a national level I think is unclear, but certainly the Wuhan and Hubei officials misled people. But by January 30th here's what we know. We know that China had, by its actions, demonstrated that they thought this was incredibly serious. They had locked down the entire city of Wuhan, 11 million people.

The WHO had declared a global health emergency. There were confirmed U.S. cases of COVID, and most importantly you had written a memo to the president, to the Coronavirus Task Force, outlining why you thought this was a pandemic.

I want our viewers to see and I want to quote from that memo because it seems to be very relevant. You said, "Seasonal flu has an R naught of only 1.0. In contrast, China is reporting a possible coronavirus R naught of between 3 and 5."

In other words, China is reporting that this is much more serious than the seasonal flu. "The risk of a worst case pandemic scenario should not be overlooked in light of the information provided by the Chinese government that is specific to the coronavirus."

So it seems to me the best refutation of your thesis is your own memo which says on the basis of what the Chinese were telling the world you concluded that there was a real risk of a global pandemic as did the WHO but the president took six weeks to act. Isn't that the problem?

NAVARRO: Fareed, you're playing fast and loose with the timeline. Let's go through the timeline. Patient Zero in Wuhan was likely infected about mid-November. As early as December Chinese officials were well aware of the possibility of a pandemic.

And at that point, over the next six weeks, they started basically doing the biggest coverup in world history. They bleached the Wuhan market so we couldn't figure out what was going on there. They cleansed the records of the laboratories that were there. They made scientists from those laboratories disappear.

And the problem, Fareed, is simple. If China had been open and transparent at the beginning, we could have contained that virus right in Wuhan. Because of that six-week period that elapsed, hundreds of thousands of Chinese citizens got on planes, went to Milan, New York, all around the world, seeded the world with what became a pandemic.

When I wrote that memo -- hang on. When I wrote that memo on January 28th, the president had already decided at that point to put travel restrictions on China, and basically here's the thing.

[10:10:09]

A key date in this is January 15th. That's when the Chinese came here, Fareed, shook our hands, broke bread with us and signed a trade deal, and nobody at that point had been told by the Chinese government there was human-to-human transmission, the possibility of a pandemic. Shortly after that we found out a lot of things and that's when President Donald J. Trump, HHS and this White House began to operate at Trump speed and we've been moving ever since at that speed.

So I think it's unfair not to point out the culpability of the Chinese Communist Party in turning what would have been a contained thing into a pandemic.

I say one more thing about this, Fareed, you called me a layperson at the beginning which is fine. But I did write a book in 2006 called "The Coming China Wars." On page 150 I predicted that the Chinese Communist Party would create a viral pandemic that would kill millions of people worldwide. And it is now beyond my wildest nightmare what China has inflicted upon this world.

ZAKARIA: Just to be clear, Peter, I just meant you were a layperson in comparison to a scientist.

NAVARRO: Sure.

ZAKARIA: Both of us have PhDs in political science. My kids always said --

NAVARRO: I didn't take it -- I didn't take it as a criticism.

ZAKARIA: Yes. My kids tell me I'm not a real doctor, and I take that point. So let me ask you.

NAVARRO: Sure.

ZAKARIA: You said in an interview with FOX, they started it, they spawned the virus. And you said it was likely from a bioweapons lab. Now the scientists I've talked to all say that it's highly, highly unlikely that this came out of a lab, and it is certainly not a bioweapons program. That most likely, you know, the scientific consensus is that this came from a wet market in Wuhan.

Do you have evidence that suggests that the Chinese intentionally -- the words you used, they started it, they spawned the virus. Do you have evidence that the Chinese intentionally let loose this virus in the world?

NAVARRO: Fareed, you and I must be talking to different scientists and experts on this. What do we know? If you just take an Occam's razor approach, and you -- that the most simplest explanation is the most likely. What we know is that ground zero in this pandemic is where a P4 biological weapons lab resides. We know that.

We know that the bat virus, no bats within 800 miles of that wet market that have that virus. Sure, they had bats, but not that kind of bat. That bat was imported by the famous China bat lady into the lab. But I think -- I think we're going to -- we should let the question of whether it came from the lab or whether it came from the wet market ride for a little bit, and simply stay with the fact that China hid the virus from the world. That's number one.

Number two, while they were hiding the virus from the world, they went from a net exporter of personal protective equipment to a huge net importer, basically vacuuming up all the world. That killed people because public health officials at the front lines from Milan to New York didn't have that. And even as we speak, they are now profiteering from that. This is -- we can hold accountable.

Now this morning American citizens won't go to church because of the Chinese Communist Party. This afternoon there's no baseball games. Tomorrow, American adults won't go to work. American children won't go to school. Cruise ships around the world are sitting out in the sea like flying Dutchmen. And we have these great, big, beautiful flying machines sitting on the ground gathering dust.

That's all because China hid this virus from the world. It could have been contained. And instead it turned into a pandemic. And I think it's important that the question be asked, should China be held accountable and there would be a lot of other people asking that question, including yourself, to search for a good answer to that.

ZAKARIA: We're going to take a break. We're going to come right back with Peter Navarro to talk about China and more, when we're back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:17:40]

ZAKARIA: And we are back with the Trump administration's economic and trade adviser to the president, Peter Navarro.

Peter, in that interview with Neil Cavuto on the 25th of April, you said, when asked -- when Cavuto asked you how do you explain the president's many, many statements praising the Chinese. It's not -- you know, it's not one, two, three, it's tweet after tweet saying they've been transparent, praising Xi Jinping, thanking the Chinese for their cooperation.

You said, well, there's a difference between public pronouncements and what you actually know. Are you implying that the president's tweets are not truthful?

NAVARRO: Fareed, look, President Donald J. Trump has made it a practice of getting along with world leaders, including Xi Jinping, Putin, Merkel, all the leaders in the world. And it's useful when push comes to shove for the president to be able to pick that phone up and talk directly to the leaders. That's all I'm saying.

I can also tell you that there's no one who understands the China problem better and longer than Donald J. Trump. He precedes me in terms of my research dating back to the early 2000s in understanding the problems with China.

[10:20:03]

So, please, let's not go there. But one of the things I'd love to talk about, because I'm not into the gloom and doom stuff, is something that happened Wednesday, Fareed, which I think is a historical event. I was in Kokomo with the vice president visiting a plant. There was a combined venture with General Motors and a small high tech company from Seattle called Ventec, and I saw the future.

I saw a president who had created the strongest economy in the world, have a pathway to rebuilding this economy, which now has manufactured unemployment, but which will have a manufacturing renaissance. And here's what happened. The short story is 17 days it took for GM and Ventec to stand up a factory and an additional three days for UPS and Admiral Polowczyk and FEMA to get those ventilators into hospitals in Gary and Chicago.

Here's the bigger story, what GM did was they went to Ventec's facility, 3-D imaged that. And then they 3-D imaged all 700 components of Ventec's supply chain. And they immediately replicated that plant in Kokomo. They went across their whole supply chain, repurposed that supply chain to make those 700 components. And those ventilators were made in 17 days, made in USA. 97 percent of the content that was in those ventilators was made in the USA.

What does that tell me as an economist? It tells me that as we move through the structural shifts we're going to have to navigate very carefully as the world has shifted and the economy has shifted, we see a path forward with this repurposing. The innovation, the manufacturing, the flexibility and the speed with which this was done was breathtaking. And I found it comical that a day which will be marked in the history books, on Wednesday, was not marked in the newspapers.

All the newspapers wanted to talk about is who and who wasn't wearing masks that day. But that, Fareed, when you go back in time 50 years from now, that will be the turning point in the recovery of the American economy, bringing its manufacturing capacity onshore and basically restoring this economy in a manufacturing economy that will make us stronger and more resilient.

ZAKARIA: All right. Well, you got a chance to tell that story. So let me ask you, every expert says that if we're going to open up, you need testing. You need testing on a mass scale, you need testing where people are getting prioritized correctly, access for those who need it. And most people -- Bill Gates was on the show last week, said the U.S. testing -- our system is chaotic.

Let me give you the test per thousand. Even now, when the administration and President Trump is touting the testing as great success, here's where we are. We're testing 20 per thousand. Iceland tests 146 per thousand. Germany 30, Russia, 27, Italy, 34, Australia 23.

Should we really be at the back of the list on testing if we're going to open up the economy?

NAVARRO: I think that you might be challenged on those statistics by some others in the administration. But let me look at this, Fareed, from where I sit. My mission here at the administration during this pandemic has been to focus on making sure we have a supply chain that delivers things like testing and ventilators.

So if you take the case of the ventilators, six weeks ago, people were saying we didn't have enough ventilators, and what I was doing across the street working with FEMA and HHS and people here in the building was making sure we did. And now by June we're going to have over 100,000 ventilators. Nobody who needed a ventilator has been denied one.

Now with testing, Fareed, it's important, there's virus testing, there's also antibodies testing. The more we can do of each over time the more we'll be able to surveil and protect the American people to keep our workplaces open. The good news here, and it's a very good news, is just as with ventilators, as that curve went up, with production, we are doing the same with virus testing and antibodies testing.

So I see a bright future ahead on that as we move into the summer and a way to a possible problem in the fall, we are doing what we need to do as fast as we can do it.

ZAKARIA: Well, Peter, we are out of time. And I really enjoyed having this conversation. I hope we can have more. I continue to feel that the countries that seem to read your memo, even -- you know, even though it wasn't meant for them metaphorically, the South Koreans, the Taiwans, the Hong Kongs, the Singapores of the world seemed to have done well by reacting quickly. And I just wish we had reacted as quickly as they did.

NAVARRO: We think we did. We're acting quickly and as President Donald J. Trump moves stuff in Trump time, we are moving mountains in this crisis.

ZAKARIA: We will --

[10:25:06]

NAVARRO: And Fareed, I appreciate the time today. I appreciate it, sir.

ZAKARIA: We would love to have you back. Thank you, sir.

NAVARRO: Any time.

ZAKARIA: Now, if you are wondering what the world will look like post- lockdown, so are we. And next week, we will bring you a special that looks at just that. What economics, politics, cities, and life in general will look like. It is called "POST COVID-19 WORLD." And it will air next Sunday at 10:00 a.m. Eastern.

Next on GPS, did you know there is a Western country that essentially never locked down and its COVID rates didn't skyrocket? We will take you to Sweden when we come back.

[10:30:00]

(COMMERCILA BREAK) ZAKARIA, GPS: And now to the very curious case of Sweden. The Nordic nation has not subscribed to most of the lockdown measures that the rest of the western world indeed much of the world has adhered to.

If you're hungry, you can go to a restaurant in Sweden. Thirsty, the bars are open as well. You need a hair cut? Not a problem. Just go to the next barbershop or salon. As for kids, the young ones at least are still in school.

The result, the death rate in Sweden is higher than in neighboring countries but not as high as Spain and Italy for instance. Parts of the scientific community in Sweden have been up in arms, but the man who came up with this approach is a scientist as well.

That man is Anders Tegnell, he is Sweden's Chief Epidemiologist and he joins me now. Dr. Tegnell, pleasure to have you on. Let me ask to begin - thank you. Let me ask you to begin by explaining very simply why did you decide, contravention of almost every other major country that you did not need to do a lockdown in Sweden?

DR. ANDERS TEGNELL, SWEDISH STATE EPIDEMIOLOGIST: I think because we really from very early on thought we would achieve the same kind of effect using the normal Swedish system for public health and working a lot with quarantine measures working a lot with giving a lot of responsibilities to individuals in our country.

ZAKARIA: And does that mean you think that you can achieve a large part of what you need to do that in other words, you can flatten the curve enough by just putting out some guidelines and you don't have to shut schools, you don't have to shut restaurants, et cetera? In other words you get enough bangs for the buck, as it were?

TEGNELL: Yes. I think so. I think so far six, seven weeks into the epidemic in Sweden, we have managed to do that. We have a very flat curve. Our health system is still working. It's a tough time for them, but they have never been overburdened. Actually, at any given time there has been at least 20 percent of the ICU beds have been empty.

Traveling in Sweden has been kept down by at least 90 percent. A lot of people are staying home. Our yearly flu epidemic usually lasts six or eight weeks suddenly it stopped after four weeks when we instituted these measures. So I think we get a lot of effect from the things we did.

ZAKARIA: Can you explain the death rate? Because you have in Sweden a death rate that is a good bit higher than in your neighboring countries, though as we pointed out not compared to the worst countries in Europe but why do you think - was there - you know, did this kind of - is this an unintended or accidental occurrence or is it, you know, is it a cost you had to pay?

TEGNELL: It's certainly an unintended occurrence. It's not something we counted on. Not something we wanted. There are two different reasons for this. One is that actually our incidence in Sweden has been much higher than in neighboring countries. We're quite sure about that. Our testing capacity has been limited. And I think the number of people in Sweden that has been infected so far has been quite a lot greater than our neighboring countries. That's one part of the answer.

The other part is an unfortunate number of introductions of the disease into our elderly in Sweden that caused a very high level of mortality in those places. And that's been very unfortunate. But a large part of our mortality has taken place in those institutions.

ZAKARIA: So, do you think that that means we should be approaching this disease slightly differently, particularly as we move into opening up in the rest of the world, which is there should be greater emphases in terms of guidelines and quarantine measures for older people?

Because in much of the western world, at least, 80 percent to 90 percent of the hospitalizations seem to be for people who are over 60 or 65 so rather than quarantining everybody, in a sense, is there a way to be a little bit more form in the quarantine measures for those people who are really at risk?

TEGNELL: Yes, I think so. We are all learning as we go with this disease, it keeps on surprising us in different ways. But I also think you really need to adapt measures to your - to the way your country works. I think that's what we have done in Sweden. We used to use we normally use in public health and I think that's the reason why it works so reasonably well so far.

ZAKARIA: What is your reaction to the American strategy of handling the Coronavirus?

TEGNELL: I think from my point of view, I don't know the details, you had an unfortunate start. I think that's - you can tell countries who had an unfortunate start like Italy and a few others. Then you're quickly getting into major problems.

When you have an able to sort of keep it reasonably low for some time, they can adapt and get your hospital system to scale up, get your testing system to scale up.

[10:35:00]

TEGNELL: And so it's a lot easier to handle it even also then you will have high mortality and a lot of cases and a strain on your health system. But if you miss it in the very beginning then this disease can really cause havoc.

ZAKARIA: Do you think that having a highly decentralized health care system like the way the United States does makes it harder? I notice when looking at your system, you're able to make very quick and efficient decisions from the center.

TEGNELL: Yes. But that's only a part of it. Even in Sweden being small we also have a highly decentralized system, but the resource of possibility and there's a lot experience on working together when we have to. So even if it's highly decentralized, all the decisions are taken up in the regions. There are 20 regions in Sweden. Still, when we have this kind of crisis, we all come together and work together. So it looks like we're having a lot of critical decisions taken at national level, but actually all of them need to be repeated at the local level.

ZAKARIA: Would it be fair to say that your basic strategy was to try to find some way to deal with the Coronavirus that - where you allowed the maximum amount of economic activity while still getting the curve down so that it was sort of sustainable?

TEGNELL: Economic activity never played into our decisions. It has, of course, played into the government's decision. It is the government in the end that takes the decision. But our advice to the government has been completely focused on public health.

But sustainability is the important part of it. So we all knew from the beginning that this was going to be long haul. We're going to have to live with this virus, with this disease for a long time. So we need to find solutions that we can keep on doing for a long time.

We all know that we can't close schools for months. We can't close borders for months and these kinds of things. So we tried to work - start working with things that we believe are sustainable for a long time and then maybe add a few things when if it gets out of hand that we can have for a shorter time but to really start with the things that we can keep on doing.

ZAKARIA: Dr. Tegnell pleasure to have you on, sir.

TEGNELL: Thank you.

ZAKARIA: Next on "GPS" more on President Trump blaming and shaming China. My next guests will explain what effect Donald Trump's words have had on the Asian American Community. That story when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:40:00]

ZAKARIA: At the end of March the foreign ministers of the G-7 countries met to discuss how to handle the Coronavirus? These meetings usually result in a final joint statement from the ministers. But at this meeting there was no such thing because the United States reportedly insisted that the statement call it the Wuhan virus after the Chinese city where the pandemic began.

It's part of its pattern. Trump and his allies are intent on demonizing the Chinese. How does that feel if you're a Chinese American? Joining me now is Jiayang Fan a Staff Writer for "The New Yorker," and Erika Lee, the Author for "America for Americans: History of xenophobia in the United States."

Jiayang Fan, let me ask you what your sense of what the connection is between this kind of rhetoric and what - the way Chinese Americans perceive it you report on this a lot but also I wondered personally, has it affected you?

JIAYANG FAN, STAFF WRITER, THE NEW YORKER: Right. So as an Asian American who has lived in this country for more than two decades, I don't think that racism is new both you know the very older variety and the somewhat subtle variety.

But what I have noticed in the last few months is how pronounced that has become? For me personally, I live in New York City, one of the most cosmopolitan and diverse cities in America, in the world, I'm not Pollyannaish about not looking like majority of citizens in this city, but in the last few months I have experienced a very definite uptick of being mocked or thrown racial slurs for being Chinese.

The most egregious incident was one night when I was taking out the trash, after days of being cooped in as so many of us are, and being called a Chinese bitch. That was actually, I think, hours after President Trump referred to the new Coronavirus as the Wuhan - as the Chinese virus.

ZAKARIA: Professor Lee, is this the kind of big shift in recent decades between - from Asian Americans as being seen as kind of the model minority? How - what does this look like in history?

ERIKA LEE, PROFESSOR OF HISTORY, UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA: Unfortunately it's nothing new. What the President and many of his allies and many other Americans are doing is really building on a very long history of anti-Chinese and also anti-Asian racism.

[10:45:00]

LEE: Some rhetoric and narrative that has long associated Asian peoples no matter how long they've been in this country as foreigners, as threats as well.

ZAKARIA: In fact, I suppose one could go back to the Exclusion Act, which is the first time the United States had an immigration ban specifically aimed at a country or an ethnicity, right?

LEE: Right. So the - to Chinese Exclusion Act is the first federal law that singles out an entire immigrant group for exclusion based on race and class. It was interestingly enough, it was considered a temporary measure, much like many of the executive orders that President Trump has signed into law, but it actually ended up lasting for 61-year years it had generational consequences.

It legitimized anti-Asian violence. They see an uptick and hate violence and massacres and wholesale driving out of Chinese Americans from little towns as well as big cities. So this kind of rhetoric, xenophobia and racism that is coming out from our leaders has really direct consequences. We've seen this in the past as a part of history and we're seeing it today in the number of rising hate crimes.

ZAKARIA: Jiayang, do you think this is something that seems to affect all Asian Americans? The President and his allies often talk about the Chinese; the Chinese Americans you may be perhaps most people would not be able to distinguish as easily between the Chinese and Koreans and Japanese-Americans. Do you think there is kind of a solidarity growing among all Asian Americans?

FAN: I think that for me, I do sense that it is not affecting only Chinese Americans. As you said, it's hard to distinguish between Korean Americans, Vietnamese Americans, and Japanese-Americans.

It's unsettling for me to hear the number of friends and co-workers who have said who are not Chinese but who look - who are of Asian ethnicity who have said, oh, I no longer speak my native language in public or I feel compelled to wear sunglasses or to cover my face to disguise the fact that I am ethnically Chinese.

I think that there is this growing sense of solidarity - solidarity is great but it's very unfortunate it's coming from this moment when we feel united by the - by this looming threat that being out in public, speaking a language that is not English might make us victims.

ZAKARIA: Professor Lee, how lasting are these kinds of attitudes?

LEE: It's absolutely very similar to that rise of hate crimes after 9/11 where Muslim, Arab-Americans, people who were mistook to be Muslim and Arab appearing was targeted with growing hate crimes.

What is interesting about the way in which xenophobia and racism works is it certainly can be activated during times of crisis, like the situation we're experiencing now, but it also needs to work with active promotion, with politicians and others really, you know, using this rhetoric very often and casting blame, creating certain racial scapegoats.

So in fact, many years after 9/11 and during the 2016 Presidential Election, the FBI and other organizations actually recorded a historic rise in the number of Islamophobic acts and hate crimes and that is totally connected to the Islamophobic statements of the President.

ZAKARIA: Erika Lee and Jiayang Fan, thank you fascinating conversation.

FAN: Thank you.

ZAKARIA: Next on "GPS," how do you protest in the age of social distancing? As it turns out very differently, I'll bring you examples from around the globe when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:50:00]

ZAKARIA: My book of the week is "Has China Won?" by Kishore Mahbubani. At a time when U.S./China relations have gotten more tensed than at any period in decades this is a very valuable book that presents views that most Americans will find challenging and controversial.

Mahbubani says that the best way for America to raise the standards of living in quality of life for its people is to cooperate with China. But he wonders if Washington is more comfortable with a more familiar model of conflict.

And now for the last look. Of all the activities that have been adapted to suit our new socially distant reality, one might surprise you, protests. As "The Atlantic Notes", Israelis showed us an early example of large scale socially distance protests late last month in Tel Aviv.

Thousands of people in masks stood six feet apart to Protest Benjamin Netanyahu who managed to form a Unity Government last month with his chief rival, Benny Gantz. The deal is opportune for Netanyahu because it means he will be power during his corruption trial which begins later this month.

[10:55:00]

ZAKARIA: The Prime Minister denied any wrongdoing. The Israelis are not alone though in March, millions of Brazilians took to their balconies and windows to protest Bolsonaro who has reckless down played the virus threat.

To be fair these are countries that are allowing their citizens to protest. There are of course others that are cracking down on the very right to assembly and against government critics in general. And COVID-19 makes it dangerous literally for people to assemble, to demonstrate or protest, which is a great boon to dictatorships.

So here's hoping the resourcefulness demonstrated in Tel Aviv and elsewhere serve as an inspiration to many. Thanks to all of you for being a part of my program this week. I'll see you next week.