Return to Transcripts main page
First Move with Julia Chatterley
G7 Leaders Expected to Urge President Biden to Extend His Afghanistan Mission; Airbnb Says it will House 20,000 Afghans at No Charge; Data out of Israel Suggests a Third Vaccine Dose is Having an Impact against Delta. Aired 9-10a ET
Aired August 24, 2021 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS ANCHOR: Live from New York. I'm Richard Quest. This is FIRST MOVE. And here is your need to know.
Under pressure. G7 leaders are expected to urge President Biden to extend his Afghanistan mission.
Offering aid. Airbnb says it will house 20,000 Afghans at no charge.
And get your booster shot. Data out of Israel suggests a third vaccine dose is having an impact against delta. It's Tuesday. Let's make a move.
A very good day warm, a welcome to FIRST MOVE. I'm Richard Quest, in for Julia Chatterley today. The latest on Afghanistan in a moment after I've
updated you on the financial world.
U.S. futures barely in the green, and when we get to it, I'll tell you what it all means. The NASDAQ is still set to rise to fresh records with the S&P
flirting with all-time highs. It's a do or don't in a sense, it's almost there and it's just a question of dotting I's and crossing T's. Europe is
Stocks rallied sharply on Monday. The F.D.A.' move to formally approved Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine was seen as a market --
And now we're going to Kabul. There is a press conference being held by the Taliban.
ZABIHULLAH MUJAHID, TALIBAN SPOKESMAN: ... for our press conference, and I would like to welcome each and every one of you. First of all, an
introduction to you. As you may be aware, Qari Muhammad Yousuf Ahmadi spokesman of the Islamic Emirate has been appointed as a caretaker Director
of the National Media Center, and will be working with you in the future and looking after the Media Center.
I would like to thank you and I am happy that our national media have been patient and also different segments of the society, so far, the government
has not been announced. But still, our countrymen and women, we are thankful to all of you for being patient. This is something we should be
The second thing, when it comes to this security situation across the country, thanks God, there is zero insecurity across the country over the
last several days, we haven't had any painful incident, any death.
This is something for all Afghans, a great pride for the last 20 years in the country where we are witnessing conflict and killings, martyrdoms,
sorrows, and sadness within the families, all these troubles over the last 20 years, unfortunately, we have been witnessing that kind of situation.
But now it's a moment for great pleasure that over the last 10 days, our country has been full security across the country, including Cape Kabul and
know death has been reported. No casualties has been reported. No young person has lost his life.
No mother has lost her children, no sister has been affected. This is something that we are proud of, we are pleased about, and it is something
all Afghans should be proud of and pleased about.
In the same way, there is another thing we should be happy about in our counter when it comes to criminal activities. The situation has improved
drastically in Kabul and also reports from other provinces. No reporting of any theft, any criminal activity, any kidnapping, any loss of property.
We can imagine what kind of situation we have. This is something we should be proud of, again, that Afghans when it comes to criminal activities, they
have suffered so much. We have the destruction has been chaotic.
QUEST: Well, I apologize. We had hoped because this is obviously an important moment to hear from the Taliban with that news conference taking
place in Kabul. And at the moment, we had hoped to get an indication on whether or not they would extend the August the 31st deadline for U.S.
troops -- U.S. presence to leave. But unfortunately, as you can tell, the audio is so poor. I mean, I could barely understand what Mr. Mujahid was
saying other than he did comment that over the last 10 days there had been no deaths reported, no young people lost their lives, which arguably is
because the Taliban isn't attacking anybody with terrorist activities. But that's another issue.
QUEST: Nick Paton Walsh is with me in Doha. Nick, it's a shame we couldn't stay with that. But it was -- the audio was unbroadcastable, we are
efforting to get that better if we do. But what do we need to hear from the Taliban in this press conference?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: Well, obviously, I think we're beginning to hear that effort to sound like a calm, sane,
rational governments who are trying to bring order into the country, and they're giving off the signals that they clearly want some sort of
international recognition, they'd do things like need to get the airport running, they need bank accounts functioning, they need food aid coming in.
The pressing question, as of now is the deadline referenced to the airport for 31st of August. That is Joe Biden's -- President Joe Biden's own
deadline that he made for himself to get troops out of the country, and it is very clear the Taliban want him to honor that.
Now, I am hearing from a source familiar with the situation at the airport, the Taliban senior figure gave a very direct indication to a senior
military official that that 31st of August deadline is simply not negotiable, they are not in the business of thinking about extending it and
they consider themselves to be at pretty high risk, if they stick around longer than that.
And of course, things are possible. You know, we've heard that Bill Burns, the C.I.A. Chief has been in Kabul for talks with Mullah Baradar, and that
may have changed some of this dynamic. But I have to say the Taliban have been waiting for this moment for sort of 20 odd years or so.
So, the notion that they would just say to 6,000 U.S. troops, you can just keep doing what you're doing at the airport, taking out the people who've
been loyal to you from the country would shock me a little, which brings us, Richard, to the extraordinary choice ahead for Biden in the coming
He essentially, it seems, is going to find his troops having to start the business of packing up their stuff, retrograde, not necessarily leaving,
but doing the things that you have to do before you leave, and that may, I understand, have to start as early as tomorrow for them to meet the
deadline of the 31st of August.
So this shocking, extraordinary airlift that we've seen over the past 48 hours, you cannot deny that getting what seems to have been something like
30,000 plus maybe 36,000 people out of the country in pretty much since some time on Sunday is utterly staggering, and you know, is a testament to
the phenomenal work of U.S. airmen and people on the base that that's managed to happen.
The U.S. could be victims of their success, frankly, people hearing of this, they all rush to the airport and try and get on the next plane. It
doesn't seem like that's happening at the moment. The last numbers we heard were 4,600 actually on the airport, thousands at the gates trying to get
in, but it's a very slow trickle, and so the essential question the Americans have to answer now is, do they fill up the base and fly them out?
Or begin to think about leaving -- Richard.
QUEST: Okay. But then once the U.S. has done that, then other countries will not be able to operate from there because they have the
infrastructure, the air traffic control, the 6,000 troops, which is why the importance of today's G7. Do you think there's any pressure that other
countries can put on Joe Biden that would change his mind?
PATON WALSH: I have to say there have been signals from U.K.'s Boris Johnson and his employer, a part time employer, "The Telegraph" talking
about how he would like to pressure Biden for that. I don't think we've heard open public statements from those European NATO allies that they
really do feel they need to stick around. They practically simply cannot. They need the Americans there to keep this going.
But we've heard too, from the British Defense Minister talking about hours, not weeks for the operation. This is really hard stuff. I mean, there are
British soldiers seeing people crushed to death in front of them.
So, the Spanish, too, have seen the main indications as well that they don't think this is going forever. The European Union Foreign Policy Chief,
they're all giving the same signal that we'd like to do this for longer, but we're not sure that we can.
And realistically, unless that conversation between Mullah Baradar and C.I.A. Chief Bill Burns, essentially have the Taliban say, oh, don't worry,
take as long as you need, highly unlikely after 20 years of U.S. airstrikes targeting them, then I do think we're into a very small window here into
which things have to move forward.
QUEST: Nick Paton Walsh in Doha. We will continue with you, and you'll keep watching events. Please do keep an ear across. I know that the audio
is not good, but do keep an ear across the Taliban press conference and come back when there's more on what they've said particularly on that
Nick, thank you.
QUEST: The Airbnb Chief Executive Brian Chesky says that the fall of Afghanistan has led to one of the largest humanitarian crises of our time,
and he says it's time for more global firms to step up and lend a hand. The vacation rental firm is now saying it will offer free housing to some
20,000 refugees, and that begins immediately.
Anna Stewart is with me. Not the first time, they have an existing policy of getting people to help, getting homeowners and renters to help, but this
is on a much greater scale. How does it work?
ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: Well, logistically, Richard, how this is going to work is properties that are already listed on the Airbnb platform will
be made available for Afghan refugees with, of course, the permission of hosts, and not least when you think about it, these are likely to be much
longer term rentals than your usual tenants.
Now, you're right. The scheme has actually been in place since 2012. It will be funded by Airbnb working alongside their own nonprofit airbnb.org.
So, they're going to fund it. They're going to work with NGOs, with resettlement agencies on the ground. They will figure out who to allocate
The bits that we don't know yet though, Richard, how much money are Airbnb willing to put into this? This is 20,000 refugees. As you say, the scale of
this is much bigger than anything they've done before.
And just how long are they willing to support the scheme given this is 20,000 refugees, who are likely to need much longer term housing solutions.
QUEST: Anna, you will look more into this and find out more details. Thank you.
The F.D.A.'s full approval of Pfizer's COVID-19 shot has sparked a wave of vaccine mandates. The Pentagon, the New York City School District,
companies including CVS, Disney and United Airlines are among those now requiring vaccines.
Clare Sebastian is with me. This was -- I'm guessing this was because so many vaccine hesitant said it is because the F.D.A. hasn't given full
approval. This was if you like the greenlight for mandates.
CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Right. Richard, I think this is what some companies certainly, The Pentagon had said that it was waiting
for. This is the difference if you think about it between the COVID-19 vaccine and the vaccines that are required, for example, for children to
attend school, the likes of measles, mumps, and rubella and tetanus, and all of those ones that most of us got as children.
This is now full approval for this vaccine, so they can go ahead and mandate it in many cases. A lot of what we're seeing, though, won't come as
a shock to the employees of these companies. A lot of it was trailed, a lot of it as expansions or accelerations of current timelines.
For example, United Airlines employees must be vaccinated by September 27th, previously, it was October 25. Disney has now reached a deal with its
unionized workers that they have to be vaccinated by October 22nd. Previously, they had reached a deal with nonunion and corporate employees,
and CVS and Chevron is saying this is for some employees, CVS saying it's for staff that interact with patients and corporate staff.
Chevron is saying that they're going to mandate it among those who travel internationally, mariners on U.S. flagships, people in the Gulf of Mexico
So many expansions, many accelerations and definitely not a shock to these employees, but it is still controversial, in some cases -- Richard.
QUEST: Controversial, yes; inevitable no.
SEBASTIAN: Right. I mean, look, even before F.D.A. approval of Pfizer, we'd seen a lot of companies do this. A lot of people are mandating it for
people to go back into the office. Walmart, the biggest private sector employer in the U.S. mandated -- court mandated for corporate staff but not
for frontline workers.
So, this has definitely been a trend that had been accelerating. A statement though, from the Business Roundtable today, Richard, said, they
applaud companies who have made this decision, but they also encouraged policymakers, including at the state and local levels to support not impede
company's abilities to make such a decision.
We know across multiple states in the U.S., particularly those with Republican governors, there has been some backlash. There have been efforts
to try to stop employers from doing this and to make sure that they don't discriminate on the basis of vaccines.
In terms of Federal law though, most experts will tell you that it is legal as long as you don't discriminate on the basis of religion or other beliefs
QUEST: Clare Sebastian watching that story, appreciate it. Thank you, Clare.
Now as really continue, you and I, on FIRST MOVE. Conquering COVID by the spring, Anthony Fauci's new prediction on the pandemic in the U.S.
And preparing for takeoff, the satellite launch of Virgin Orbit is going public. The Chief Executive explains the route they are taking first.
QUEST: And now, other stories making headlines around the world. Vice President -- U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris has accused China of
coercing its neighbors was taking claims to much of the South China Sea. She was speaking in Singapore where the Vice President said Beijing's
actions were undermining a rules based international order.
China responded by slamming U.S. operations in Afghanistan and accusing Washington -- excuse me -- of bullying.
A new you study estimates Germany's deadly floods in July were up to nine times more likely because of human caused climate change. The study also
found that the more extreme rain was a once in a 400-year event. The summer flooding killed at least 220 people across Germany, Belgium, and other
In Israel, early evidence now suggests COVID-19 booster shots are having an impact. Sadly, so is the virus. Health officials report that on Tuesday,
nearly 10,000 people tested positive for COVID-19. That's just below the highest one day tally.
Elliott Gotkine is with me now from Jerusalem. The numbers that are increasing, Elliott are because of the efficacy of the vaccination starting
to wane. Explain more.
ELLIOTT GOTKINE, JOURNALIST: It certainly seems that way, Richard, and one of the reasons why Israel is suffering perhaps more than other countries
that have already got quite an extensive vaccination campaign successfully underway is that Israel was leading the world in the original vaccination
So it follows that if the effectiveness of the vaccine is going to wear off over time, that Israel having vaccinated earlier than many other countries
is going to feel the impact of that. And as you say, the number of cases over the past 24 hours yesterday, hitting almost 10,000 that is what the
highest rate -- well, it was the second highest rate that Israel has ever experienced.
Now, there is one million people in Israel that have that have been infected with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and there are just over
one million people who have yet to be vaccinated. So those are the kind of scary numbers.
On the plus side, we are beginning to see some encouraging signs that a third dose of the vaccine is having an impact. So first of all, there's the
R rate, this is the number of people that one infected person can expect to infect that has been declining, those declined from 1.36 to 1.15 since the
third dose was approved on August the first. Initially that was just for over 60s, it was extended to over 40s and from today, over 30s can also get
The other encouraging sign is a study by MaccAbi Healthcare. This is one of the big healthcare providers in Israel. They did a study and they found
that for over 60s who would receive the third dose seven or more days -- after seven or more days that the third dose enabled them to be 86 percent
effective in protecting them against infection.
GOTKINE: And indeed the author of that study saying quite categorically, the triple dose is the solution to curbing the current infection outbreak.
And Richard, with the start of the school year set to begin on September the first followed by Jewish New Year and the Jewish holidays when families
and friends crisscross the country to spend time with one another, there is every hope that these encouraging signs will mean that there will be no
need for a fourth lockdown, something Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is adamant is something that will not happen.
QUEST: Elliott, thank you. Now, relating to this, of course, the Israeli experience has to be taken into account with a prediction from the White
House Chief Medical adviser. Anthony Fauci says the U.S. can get on top of COVID over the next few months. It won't be easy, and it can't be done
without more people getting vaccinated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: If we can get through this winter and get really the majority --
overwhelming majority of the 90 million people who have not been vaccinated, vaccinated, I hope we can start to get some good control in the
spring of 2022.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: So, let us square this circle with Dr. Stephen Hahn, the former F.D.A. Commissioner now serves as CMO - Chief Medical Officer for
Preemptive Medicine and Health Security at Flagship Pioneering, so there is Fauci saying, by the spring, if we all get vaccinated. And here is Israel
saying, well, yes, but those early vaccinations are now waning, and booster shots are going to be required or your numbers will go up.
Would you expect the other developed countries who are at this stage of vaccination to have the same experience?
DR. STEPHEN HAHN, FORMER F.D.A. COMMISSIONER: Well, I think that's a reasonable assumption, although we don't have a full dataset on this. The
Israeli experience is very important, and your reporter, I think, correctly identified that because Israel was very early on ramping up vaccination,
that perhaps what we're seeing is a declining immunity.
Now, it's really important, Richard, to address the issue of what is effectiveness mean In terms of getting infected with the delta variant, but
it does appear that even with the initial vaccination, that the vaccination is protective against severe disease and death from the delta variant, from
COVID, in general.
So we're talking about a couple different things here, but in general, I think that's a reasonable assumption to make and as the data come in, I'm
confident the F.D.A. will make a decision about boosters for select Americans and others around the world.
QUEST: Doctor, but the Israel experience, you know certainly shows, those 10,000 most won't have serious effects. But it also shows that there is an
increase in hospitalizations, and the number of dying. So, if you extrapolate the Israeli experience, we can surely say that numbers of
hospitalizations and deaths among vaccinated will rise as well elsewhere.
HAHN: Yes, I think there is a possibility of that. And, you know, I think that is the concern and I'm not attempting to minimize the fact that
boosters might be necessary. Just that, I want to make sure that people hear the message that getting the original vaccine is still very important
and mostly protective.
But the waning immunity, we know from other infectious diseases in the U.S., for example, you need a booster for tetanus shot. So this is not
unexpected and we need the data to come in so that we can make the best decision for public health.
QUEST: I want to talk about future pandemics. The problem with -- and I know you're doing much work in that at Flagship, but the problem with
planning for future pandemics is it always feels a bit like shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted because the entire scenario that we
will be presented next time could be so radically different from what's happened now or before.
HAHN: Richard, it's a superb point, and we have to be better prepared for the next pandemic, for the next infection wave than we were for this one.
It's why I joined Flagship Pioneering and part of their health security effort because what if we could predict what would be the next pathogen, or
for COVID-19, what if we could predict what is the most likely next variant?
Let's be more proactive, and less reactive. Let's build a personal security health shield to protect against these things. You're spot on with that
QUEST: You see, I wonder, to be cynical, is it going to work? I mean, certainly. We can prepare for a vast amount of PPE, that sort of and
ventilators and all the sorts of logistics once it's happened and we can be ready with lockdown plans and those sorts of things. But can we really
predict which animal is going to be the next crossover of virus?
HAHN: So I don't know, I can't predict the future. But if we don't try, if we don't use all the science and the analytics that are available to us, we
will never know the answer to that question.
Richard, I'm confident that we can get there. It may take several years, but I am confident. I think this is the way to go. We must be better
I'm fearful of the fact that other pandemics, other sort of infections will come forward, and we just have to be able to figure this one out.
So, when I left the F.D.A., it's one of the reasons that I joined Flagship, because I think this is such an important issue.
QUEST: Finally, I just want to talk about what life might look like. Every time there's a variant you move or the Israeli experience, or whatever it
is, you can feel people go, "Is this never going to end?" And then you have Fauci saying, well, by next spring, you know, we could be back to the
I mean, what does it look like? What does 2022 look like to you?
HAHN: So Richard, I was a cancer doctor before F.D.A. I knew better than - - I don't have a crystal ball. I knew better than to make predictions. But I can tell you that we probably are going to have to adjust to what the
normal in the future will look like, and I think COVID has told us that many times over, particularly because we have a lot of immunosuppressed
individuals around the world. Those are folks in whom infectious diseases can sometimes mutate and become variants and change.
So, this is why protection looking forward, creating a health shield is so important because it's very, very difficult to predict. But I do agree with
Tony that if we can get more people vaccinated and get to the point where the majority or overwhelming majority, great numbers of people around the
world, not just in America are vaccinated, then we'll be in a better place.
QUEST: We'll talk more. I'm very grateful Dr. Hahn that you joined us this morning and given us some hope and some realism both at the same time. Good
to see you, sir.
The markets will be opening very shortly in New York. It could be record. It could be records hour before the day is finished.
We'll have that after the break. It's FIRST MOVE, and it's a Tuesday.
QUEST: It is FIRST MOVE. Julia is off today, I'm with you this morning and we're live in New York, where U.S. stocks are up and running, higher start
and fresh records. The NASDAQ is at a record.
I am just wondering whether the NASDAQ is going to hit 15,000 during the course of today's session. It's already up a third of a point. We're
looking to hit 15,000 -- I'm talking nonsense here, before I finish my sentence, at the rate, it's moving up at the moment. We'll keep an eye on
that as the morning moves on and if I talk long enough, it might be there.
Investors are shrugging off the lofty valuations in Q2, and despite those lofty valuations, they are coming on strong.
Best Buy is rallying after beating on earnings and raising its guidance for the second half of the year. Nice four percent move there. The electronics
retailer says the stay-at-home trend boosted results, and it is not going away, which is interesting as we go back to work. People are continuing to
spend on home office equipment -- excuse me -- and in home entertainment.
Walmart is launching a delivery service for other businesses. That means it's going to be delivering other business goods, carrying goods from local
retailers to consumers and taking advantage of its last mile delivery network.
Paul La Monica is with me with more. Interesting. Why? Why are they doing it? Is this a sort of we will go and pick it up from them? Or is this a
fulfillment center where these other businesses will deposit with Walmart and deliver from there?
PAUL LA MONICA, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER: Yes, I think it's probably going to be a mix of both. But what's interesting Richard is it really shows that
Walmart over the past couple of years has built out this last mile network, this delivery logistics giant that is trying to go toe to toe with Amazon.
And that's obviously, I think, being a bit of a problem for the likes of FedEx, UPS, and the U.S. Postal Service.
But last mile delivery, on-demand delivery is really all the rage. You're seeing it not just with Amazon and Walmart, Target has its own Shipt
service S-H-I-P-T, cute spelling. You've got Uber and DoorDash increasingly delivering more than just restaurant orders. So, it is obviously the way
right now for online retail, last mile is all the rage.
QUEST: Right. But it is interesting. It's a revenue stream for Walmart to be delivering other people's goods.
LA MONICA: Yes, they will take a cut of whatever the sales are for the companies that they are partnering with. They did not disclose who these
initial partners are, but it is expected to be a mix of small local businesses as well as even larger retailers that you know, many of whom do
not have the transportation wherewithal of Walmart. There are only a few companies out there, Walmart and Amazon, first and foremost that really
have this national network of drivers.
And it's going to be interesting to see that they're calling it a white label service. So you're not going to see a Walmart delivery van come and
you know, give you these goods. It's going to be the brand name of whoever the partner is.
QUEST: Interesting. Paul La Monica, thank you. Let's take that and talk to Charlie O'Shea, the Vice President and Senior Credit Officer at Moody's.
Interesting, this has a feeling, Charlie, of a bit of a gold rush. Yes, there are those who can do it because they have the logistical ability, but
is the demand sufficient for all?
CHARLIE O'SHEA, VICE PRESIDENT AND SENIOR CREDIT OFFICER, MOODY'S: Richard, that's one of the key questions facing retail right now is: What
is the demand for this type of stuff? How much will the consumer pay for it if and when the retailers realize that they need to start charging for
I mean, Amazon is spending $60 billion a year on shipping. They're getting some of that back. But at what point do the curves kind of cross and the
retailer say, okay, we've given it away for long enough. Now, we've got to start charging and will the consumer be willing to pay whatever it's going
to cost for instant gratification? And that's one of the open questions in retail right now.
I think that you know, we saw what jet.com did and you know, we're talking about Walmart. We saw what Jet's model was pre-Walmart where if you wanted
next day, it was X, if you wanted it you know, two days it was X-minus, if you want it three, it is X minus-minus.
That model was working pretty well. Give the consumer the choice as to how fast they need it. If you're going to give it to me free same day or next
day, I'm going to take it. But if you want to charge me, then I might -- then, I'm going to have to think about it.
[09:35:14] I QUEST: Charlie, I want to go back to the Amazon chart. Amazon is down. It's about 14 to 15 percent. Is it just happenstance that it's after Andy
Jassy has taken over? Is it worries or is it just profit taking after a good run? The chart shows a strong solid up and a solid down, what's going
O'SHEA: Yes. Richard, I'm a fixed income analyst, so I don't get into the equity game that much. But from a fundamental perspective, Amazon is really
rolling. You're talking about a company that's got roughly $90 billion of cash and marketable securities on the balance sheet, that's a staggering
amount of money. And AWS is rolling, AWS is growing.
AWS remains the engine that allows the retail part of Amazon to make the investments it is making to kind of keep up with brick and mortar, which is
kind of the way we view it, where we think Amazon is asked to compete with Walmart and Target and Best Buy and the rest of the world rather than the
reverse, because Amazon's trying to grow that last mile.
And the brick and mortar guys already have it. You know, it's called stores. And they've been getting product to consumers for years using that
model. They've adapted online.
But Amazon, I don't see any problems at Amazon right now that would give me any pause as a credit analyst. Again, you've got a staggering amount of
liquidity there, and the company continues to really run on all cylinders. They've had some issues with delivery times, but that's a nice problem to
have, because it shows that the volume is there.
QUEST: And if we talk about the credit aspects of this, when you look at the bricks and mortars, Best Buy's numbers this morning, very, very
encouraging. They've managed to cross over between store and online in an effective way, and if we look at some of the discount stores, now those
discount stores were vogue during the pandemic. Is discount still in demand?
O'SHEA: I think so, I think that the consumer is always looking for value. And the consumer is also looking for convenience. And now, when we start
talking about discount and then Dollar Stores as well, I guess, the Dollar Stores are basically carpet on the U.S. with location. So they are where
the consumer needs them to be, and that's a really good model.
You know, the discount stores in my world anyway are Walmart and Target. You can throw the Warehouse Guys in there as well and they've been
functioning or focusing on their food businesses. And the Dollar Stores have done that as well.
But you know, the key to Walmart's growth has been the food business. The key to Target's growth has been food, as well as an expanded and enhanced
private label business and exclusive brand business that takes advantage of the store traffic.
So I think that you know, the consumer has been -- during the pandemic, the consumer had a lot of options, believe it or not. They could do a lot of
things online that they had never done before. A lot of consumers shopped online for the first time and they're going to stick around. Are they going
to stick around a hundred percent? No, but they'll keep a meaningful amount online.
QUEST: Charlie, let me be the first person -- probably not by any means -- who says the word Christmas to you. I know, we are not even at the holidays
here. We haven't even got past the summer. How important will this Christmas, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, everything that follows on from
that. How important will it be?
O'SHEA: Richard, you're hitting me with a Christmas question before Labor Day, but that's okay. It's critically important to a lot of retailers right
now. I mean, we have a lot of retailer that I'm not going to name anybody, but we've got a lot of retailers are effectively on life support and they
need to have a solid holiday.
The problem for the stronger retailers, and this is kind of, you know, a contra-argument is for a strong retailer, your toughest competitor is
usually your weakest competitor because of desperation. And I could throw a bunch of sports analogies in here, but I won't.
So, I think for some of them, it's critically important. For the larger guys, the Amazon's, Walmart's, Costco's, Best Buy's you know, Target's, you
know, pick some other ones, BJ's has done really well. They're going to do really well this holiday. There is just no way they won't.
They've got the logistics networks in place. They have been able to adapt their supply chains to handle any sort of a shot. Walmart just did some
container ships the other day. You know, that's something that a smaller retailer can't do. So size has advantages. Credit quality certainly has
advantages, you know, we talked about Amazon and $90 billion in cash, they can buy almost anything they need to buy to get through any sort of an
So, that's what we're going to see. You're going to see, you know, a barbell either bought or whatever. You know, we've used a bunch of
different descriptions at our shop over the last several years to describe retail, but the strong guys are going to be just fine.
Where you'll see it as the weaker guy and the challenge for those in the middle will be, which way do we go? Do we try to compete price with a
stronger retailer that can, you know, really outlast us, or do we go after the market share of somebody who's already weak and that's going to be the
be the decision that a lot of management teams have to make over the next several weeks and months.
QUEST: What a fascinating discussion and point you make. Thank you, sir, we'll talk more between now and -- I won't use the word again, but you
know, the holiday that has the man -- the fat man with a beard, and I'll talk about that another time. Thank you, sir.
After the break, Denmark's Dr. Fauci, scenes of normality on the streets, not a mask in sight, testing everywhere. And the head of the Health
Authority tells me why they were able to end the mask mandate, an exclusive interview after the break.
QUEST: Earlier, we were discussing the rising COVID cases in Israel, and that of course, sent a somber warning to other nations you heard relying on
vaccination programs to get back to normal.
In Europe, the Danish authorities are focusing for now at least both on vaccines and testing. And really, there's no -- well, not really, there is
no mask mandate. You don't need to wear a mask in public any longer.
On my visit to Copenhagen, I asked the head of the health authority who sits on the Executive Board of the World Health Organization why masks were
abandoned for now.
SOREN BROSTROM, DIRECTOR-GENERAL, DANISH HEALTH AUTHORITY: In the current Danish context, we don't believe that this is what we should be doing. If
we achieve a different assessment, we'll certainly reintroduce masks, but I don't think that is the thing we will be doing now.
We are fairly confident that we can control our epidemics with vaccine coverage.
QUEST: There is now a view that we are moving from pandemic to endemic and that we are going to have to learn to live with COVID in a way that getting
it if you're vaccinated is like the flu, some will be unwell, some will not even notice it. Is that your view on the future of this?
BROSTROM: It might be a possible scenario. I think that for many reasons, it is difficult for us to get rid of this new coronavirus because it also
has animal reservoirs. We got it from animals, it's changing into humans, it's probably going to revert back to an animal reservoir.
So it's not like measles, or polio, or smallpox that we can actually eradicate. This is also why I'm not so focused on a hypothetical herd
immunity, but more on containment and I'm very focused on preventing preventable disease. So this is in some way, how we are aiming at other
vaccine preventable diseases, childhood immunization programs, seasonal influenza.
QUEST: But, you do agree then that, you know, maybe people don't want to nail their colors to the mast, but you're basically saying this is going to
be with us. And the way we will handle it is through vaccinations, which will keep the vaccinated well, even if they catch it.
BROSTROM: Vaccines is going to be the center pillar of containing this from a public health perspective, meaning how to prevent disease,
preventable diseases solution. There are also other instruments, which I am very much focused on -- antiviral drugs and also antibodies.
I see also potentials for better treatment of breakthrough disease. So, even in fully vaccinated people, it can be people with a compromised immune
system or vulnerable people, even if they're fully vaccinated, even if we boost them with a third shot, they will still get sick.
So can we also treat them better when they get in the hospital? So, I'm not telling anybody or promising that I can keep everybody out of the hospital,
even with a high vaccine coverage. Even with very effective vaccines, I will not be able to keep everybody out of the hospital. But can I offer
them a shorter course of disease, less severe disease, and better treatment? I think so.
QUEST: Booster shots. The U.S. has just announced that a third booster shot will be available for those who have had eight months since their
second shot. Is this something you will also look at and recommend?
BROSTROM: We are certainly considering it very carefully. We're looking at the evidence, we're looking at what other countries are doing. We are not
there yet where we have decided to offer a large part of the population to be revaccinated this year.
I am expecting that a larger re-vaccination campaign in this country is probably next year. I might be surprised by evidence for waning immunity
and breakthrough disease, then I'll decide otherwise. We had the strategies and we'll certainly employ revaccination early.
What we are already doing, which will be our startup revaccination, this country's offering it to very specific patients.
QUEST: I need to talk about the rest of the world. On "Quest Means Business," we've looked at it numerous times, and I think you would agree
since you are part of the -- you are a member of the W.H.O., you sit with them.
It is an appalling situation in the world, where we're at 75 percent, 80 percent, 60 percent, 70 percent, 80 percent and parts of Africa are barely
in double digits or are in the low 20s. How concerned are you?
BROSTROM: I'm very concerned with the global inequality in vaccine distribution. I mean, like the Director General of the World Health
Organization is saying that nobody is safe until everybody is safe. Basically, until every person at risk in this world is immunized against
COVID-19, we still have a global pandemic that can spill over even in this country.
So, we have as a rich country, a responsibility for sharing vaccines. So, I'm going to do a role because I represent -- I am on the board of the
W.H.O. and I'm also the top government official on health in this country. Of course, I have to take the responsibility of my own population with
vaccine coverage, and at the same time have the global.
My answer to your question is that we should walk on both legs as a rich country, responsibility to our own population and global responsibility.
So, we should donate vaccines. We are donating vaccines. This country has committed to donate three million doses and probably more through the COVAX
and other initiatives, as well as donating funds.
QUEST: It's not enough, you know that. You know that. The W.H.O. knows that? The G7 which couldn't even get to its own target. Now, I realize
you're not a political animal per se, but the healthcare executives like yourself know that more needs to be done.
BROSTROM: Certainly on a global level, and we will get there, but not quickly enough. We have to ramp up vaccine production all across the globe,
and then we have certainly to rebalance the current very, very unequal vaccine distribution. And it's in everybody's interest.
It's not only a responsibility that we have, global health; it is also in our own interest.
QUEST: The head of the Danish Health Service.
As we continue, it is FIRST MOVE. Virgin's satellite delivery firm flies into orbit and the NASDAQ in a SPAC deal worth billions. The chief
executive is next.
QUEST: How does Virgin Orbit spell space? S-P-A-C leave off the E.
It launches -- Virgin Orbit launches rockets into space strapped under the wing on especially modified jumbo jets and now delivering commercial and
civil and national security satellites with going public on a SPAC deal, so-called deal, which values the company to over $3 billion. Dan Hart is
Dan, we've talked before. I need to know, why a SPAC? Why was not the best way of doing this?
DAN HART, CEO, VIRGIN ORBIT: You know, a SPAC is a very efficient way to get to the public market, and we did it with a great partner in Next Gen,
as well as bringing Boeing and AE Industrial Partners on board. So, it's gotten us to the right place to open up the door for the future of this
QUEST: Ideally, what sort of shareholding base would you like? I know the institutions always have the majority and the pension funds and the banks
and -- et cetera et cetera. But would you like retail investors to feel they have a bit of it, too?
HART: You know, I mean, from my point of view, I enjoy investors who have the vision for the future of this company. And that's really the most
important part. So having Virgin, having Mubadala onboard, having Boeing, having AE, those are great partners as we go forward. And we welcome, you
know, others to join us with a vision of moving space forward. Involvement in this really transformation that's going on in space, a hugely growing
QUEST: And that's really the difference here, isn't it, there between this and the other Virgin, perhaps Galactic and the other things. This has
already got -- I mean, you've done several flights. You've done test flights that have been successful. You have an order line, a potential
order line, and you're out looking for business. Who's your main competitor for launching the type of satellites you're wanting to launch?
HART: You know, as you say, I mean, we've gotten a great start. This year, we've done two commercial flights. We've put up 17 satellites.
There really are very few other competitors that have brought their technology and actually proven their systems. There are a few folks out
there trying to do so. There is an outfit in New Zealand that is a competitor. There are a couple of old outfits that have really old rockets
that are quite a bit more expensive than ours that are out there. But that's a pretty new fleet with a lot of people vying to get into it.
QUEST: Right. But in terms of satellites, the type of satellites that Orbit can put up is relatively small and relatively specialized versus
those that go up on very large, expensive rockets. I understand you're cheaper, but how niche are you in terms of the totality of satellite
HART: The one exception I would take there is specialized. What's happened in space is the same thing has happened with smartphones.
HART: Electronics, as well as ion propulsion, power systems have allowed satellites to be made small. Our rocket is small. But all kinds of
satellites now are moving to small forms in low earth orbit. Communication, earth observation, navigation. You name it. The trend in satellites is
smaller and smaller. And it's exciting for a small rocket to be playing into that.
QUEST: And from being private to being public, you don't think that will affect the way you're going to run the business?
HART: You know, it always affects how you operate to an extent. We have a very rigorous process currently. I mean, we're a launch company, so
understand process. We understand regulation, we understand discipline and execution. I think that's what makes a public company successful.
QUEST: Excellent. Dan, lovely to talk to you again. I do appreciate your time this morning. Thank you, you've gone SPAC launch on the day of a
rousing market. Good to see you.
And that is our FIRST MOVE for this morning.
Whatever moves you're making, look at the markets, I'm going to show you quickly, where we stand. The NASDAQ didn't get to 15. Still plenty of time
to do it between now and "Quest Means Business" which is five hours' time. Time to buy the lunch and we'll wrap up the market together.
Otherwise from me to you, "Connect the World" is next. And whatever you're up to in the hours ahead, I hope it is profitable.