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Fareed Zakaria GPS

Bill Gates On Today's Tech Giants: Are They Too Powerful; Bill Gates On President Donald Trump, Microsoft & TikTok; Tom Frieden: We Must First Get COVID-19 Under Control & Then Adapt Schools; The Big Question: How To Reopen Schools And When; Tom Frieden: Beating COVID- 19 Isn't That Complicated, But It Is Hard. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired August 09, 2020 - 10:00   ET



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.


ZAKARIA: Today on the show, a special report on fixing the COVID crisis. President Trump may say the pandemic is under control in America, but that is just not the reality. The country has per capita about 15 times as many deaths every day as the European Union and 25 times as many as Canada. So, what went wrong and what can we do now to get the coronavirus under control?

I will talk to Bill Gates about that, plus vaccines, treatments, the U.S. economy, TikTok and more.

And school is back in session, or will be soon. For most kids that means bus rides, packed hallways and overcrowded classrooms. Can that be safe in the midst of a pandemic?

I will ask the former director of the CDC, Tom Friedman.

Also, Beirut, the bustling and beautiful city by the sea, was hit by an extraordinary explosion. As the political tragedy of Lebanon finally reached its heart-rending rock bottom? I will explore.


ZAKARIA: But first, here's "My Take." This week the Trump administration explicitly announced its intention to work toward a new bipolar world of technology, carved up between the United States and China. It announced a sweeping clean network initiative which seeks to ban virtually all Chinese IT products, phone carriers, apps, cloud service, even undersea tables. Then Trump issued executive orders officially banning the Chinese video app TikTok and the messaging app WeChat from operating in the U.S. unless they are sold by mid- September.

Taken together these moves suggest a reversal of decades of American policy. Instead of favoring a global internet of open systems, open architecture and open communications, the U.S. now envisions a restricted internet that is cordoned off by governments with political considerations dominating economic or technological ones.

Let's be clear. There are legitimate concerns about China's technology strategy. The company has walled off its cyberspace like no other country. The government can force any Chinese company to hand over data and it routinely engages in international espionage to steal intellectual property, technology and data from other countries.

In 2018 ByteDance, the Chinese company that owns TikTok, was forced to shutter a different app. The young tech savvy CEO Zhang Yiming published a letter of self-criticism that read like a confession at a Stalinist show trial. Quote, "I profoundly reflect on the fact that a deep-level cause of the recent problems in my company is a weak understanding and implementation of the four consciousnesses of Xi Jinping. All along, we have placed excessive emphasis on the role of technology and we have not acknowledged that technology must be led by the socialist core value system," unquote.

Yet fears about TikTok do seem overblown. The user data on it, names, e-mail addresses, phone numbers, location data, are easy to get through other mechanisms. Other apps collect the same information and sell it to anyone who's willing to pay. Meanwhile, the fear that the Chinese Communist Party could spread its values through TikTok videos is silly. Does anyone believe that Soviet propaganda films from the 1950s and '60s brainwashed Americans?

And to the extent the app could be used by espionage by the Chinese, the U.S. and its allies need to defend against those kind of intrusions from all quarters anyway. The Russians, for example, have used foreign countries and apps as gateways to enter the networks of other countries, including the U.S. Banning one Chinese app won't meaningfully reduce that threat.

The ban on WeChat is a bit more complicated but again it remains unclear what the administration's concern is and whether a blanket ban is the best strategy.

The Trump administration's decisions on TikTok and WeChat, like so many of its decisions, look like arbitrary, impulsive ones made in the heat of the moment, prompted by the timing around the presidential election more than anything else.


The Clean Network Initiative does not even pretend to put forward neutral principles to determine which companies would be banned. It is an explicitly anti-Chinese strategy, one that will be impossible to implement consistently. By its logic, for example, American companies and embassies around the world would have to stop using local phone networks that rely on Chinese equipment. Since dozens of countries, many in Africa and Asia, use Huawei, how are Americans supposed to communicate without the phone system? Carrier pigeons?

The Trump administration has recognized an important danger that emanates from China. The smart way to address it would be to set up rules that promote transparent, open systems and then to mobilize a coalition of like-minded countries to pressure Beijing and other violators like Moscow.

Eric Schmidt, who used to run Google, told me, America benefits enormously from having a large, open global economy, especially in the technology space. It means greater integration, faster transactions, more innovation. If all this starts eroding, we will face unknown and potentially huge consequences.

Already we can see that the United States' new approach has had an effect. Countries around the world from Britain to India are now embracing the idea of internet sovereignty. Local companies, of course, use this concept to try to maintain their dominance and squash competition. So, Facebook raises alarms about TikTok, which has become a fierce competitor. Expect more such petitions to Washington in the future.

The United States government is now comfortable slapping tariffs on foreign products using bogus national security justifications, selecting companies for special favors often granted personally by the president, and exercising intrusive control over the internet. Instead of the Chinese adopting the American model, America is adopting the Chinese model.

Go to for a link to my "Washington Post" column this week. And let's get started.

There are almost 20 million confirmed cases of COVID around the world and five million of those are in the United States. That means America, with about 5 percent of the world's population, has 25 percent of the cases. The question many are asking is, how did the U.S. do so badly?

I wanted to talk about that and more with Bill Gates, who now dedicates most of his time to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is in the forefront of fighting the pandemic.

Bill Gates, pleasure to have you on again, sir.


ZAKARIA: So, if somebody, a space alien, came down and said, Mr. Gates, you understand everything. How do you explain the fact that the richest country on earth, that spends per capita maybe two to three times as much on health care as all the other rich countries in the world, seems to be kind of at the bottom of the pile of the advanced countries in the world in being able to handle this pandemic, what would be your answer?

GATES: Well, it took a number of mistakes. And I wouldn't have predicted that we would do so poorly. You know, our Center for Disease Control is the best group of epidemiologists in the world. In fact, everyone relies on them. You know, they're a part of our polio eradication work, they're very embedded at WHO headquarters. You know, they're very good, but a variety of missteps by the U.S. and then the political atmosphere meant that we didn't get our testing going.

You know, it's nonsense that any sort of travel ban we did was at all beneficial. That, you know, doesn't pass the common sense test in terms of the waves of people that U.S. citizens that were allowed to keep coming in. And now, you know, we've executed our lockdowns less nationwide and with less fidelity than other countries. So we're paying a pretty dramatic price, and not just in deaths. You know, we also pay it in terms of the economic toll, which is up in the trillions.

ZAKARIA: And so when you look at the charts -- the United States and Europe suffered about the same kind of curve, you know, upward climb of infections and deaths. And then the Europeans start to go down and U.S. starts to go down. But then we start to climb up again.


And around that time, I remember you coming on this program and saying, the lockdown has to be national. The only way this works is if it's a real national lockdown, otherwise with border travel among states it's not going to mean anything.

Was that the crucial mistake that you had that much variation? And isn't the problem -- there were parts of the country that felt like they had no infection, they had no outbreak.

GATES: Yes, what's impressive is that Italy, France, Spain, who had a wave before us, managed as they fell off to keep even the parts of the country that hadn't had the intense epidemic from creating a second wave. And so it's pretty focal in all of those countries. And so they've fallen to the paradox that we did, which is that the regions that it had the least burden in the first wave were ripe for that second wave.

So in the case of the United States, they opened up their bars, they didn't do much in the way of wearing masks. And so those areas became this second wave. Not a rebound out of New York, New Jersey, but instead those regions. And so that's where Europe and the U.S. are quite different.

Our testing, of course, to this day, it's mind-blowing that because you can't get the federal government to improve the testing because they just want to say how great it is, you know, I've said to them, look, have a CDC Web site that prioritizes who gets tested. That's trivial to do. They won't pay attention to that. I've said, don't reimburse any tests where the result goes back after three days.

You're paying billions of dollars in this very inequitable way to get the most worthless test results of any country in the world. Then you've created this incentive for the commercial guys to have long lines because you do not -- you just want to waste government money. You pay as much for the late result as the timely result. No other country has the testing insanity because they won't talk about fixing it because they're -- you know, they think they need to just keep acting like they've done a competent job. ZAKARIA: So, this seems to me to be the critical systemic problem that

we have. You look at Germany. They use the period of the lockdown to then put in place a good testing regime, which -- you know, which is rapid, which then has some tracing element. And we just have not been able to do this.

Can you explain to people very simply why a test result that comes back to you three days later is almost worthless, because you're really just testing whether somebody has COVID that minute, that second, right?

GATES: Yes. Your period of infectiousness can start a couple of days before you would feel the symptoms to seek out a test and extend to about four days after. That's almost all of your infectiousness. So the value of the test is that when you get that result that your positive, that then you quarantine yourself and you don't infect members of your household or other people that you know.

It's every day that goes by, that peak of infectiousness is going down, down, down. And so by the third -- even the third day, the value is, you know, maybe 20 percent of a timely result. Now, you know, very wealthy people have access to these quick turnaround tests or they get ahead in line. And they're getting more of those overall tests.

And so, you know, the one breakthrough we did -- the foundation did get pushed through is that instead of a health provider having to jam a swab to the super back of your nose that you could just self- administer the tip of your nose. And that's equally accurate and doesn't risk infecting the other person and it can speed up the activity.

ZAKARIA: So, at this point, what could be done to really substantially change the trajectory in the United States?

GATES: Well, the trajectory over time will go down because, you know, we're learning that there's some protection from earlier exposure to other coronaviruses, and that's helping drive the numbers down. There's natural infection, particularly the people who move around a lot. They're disproportionately infected. And once they recover, they're taking out of that transmission pool. And then the vaccine will come along, you know, maybe towards the end of the year, certainly within the first half of 2021.

And if the first vaccines that get chosen are good at transmission- blocking, you'll very quickly get up where the multiplication rate, instead of being above one and growing exponentially, will be below one and you'll have diving number of cases and just a few pockets left.


So because of the innovation, the therapeutics will get the death rate and the vaccine will dramatically, once we roll it out, it will cut the infection rate. So, you know, by the end of 2021, the U.S. in terms of its own epidemic, will largely be through it. But in the meantime, you know, trillions of economic damage and hundreds of thousands of lives lost.

ZAKARIA: What would be your message right now to the president, to governors? What can they do now? As you said, there is a natural cycle, but how can you get to a point where you are -- because it seems to me you could differentiate risks in terms of the people, the population, in terms of the activities. Right now nothing happens. You know, people who I know were flown into the United States and they say it's like no other country in the world. Nothing happens. You're told nothing. It's as if there is no COVID.

GATES: Well, because we're one of the most infected countries in the world, people coming here on average will reduce our infection rate. So it's not -- you know, now, the day will come when the U.S. has its act together and that's partly why, to avoid reinfections, I'm spending a lot of time trying to make sure money for buying the vaccine for the developing countries is included in this relief bill.

You know, it would be about $8 billion for therapeutics and vaccines, so less than 1 percent of the total. But that's the money that more than any other would save lives, strengthen our strategic position with our allies versus China, and allow us to not have these constant reinfection events that people like Australia or South Korea who did a competent job, they still have Americans and others when they come in starting new chains of infection.

ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, we'll talk about the countries that have weathered COVID well. What did they do right? Bill Gates tells us when we come back.



ZAKARIA: So let's talk about the rest of the world. When you look at COVID from a global standpoint, what strikes you? Because it still, to me, seems odd that you have such variation. You know, if you look at a place like Sri Lanka or Pakistan, Pakistan which has done almost nothing as far as I can tell, you know, infections are not going crazy, death rates are not going crazy, there may be some underreporting, of course.

Then you have the fact of places like Vietnam or Taiwan, where they have really a stunningly low death rate. And then you have, of course, northern Italy, New York. What is all this telling you? Are you drawing any conclusions about the nature of the virus?

GATES: Well, there's a few patterns. Countries that had MERS or SARS episodes realized that in their checklist if a respiratory disease came along, they needed to reach out to the commercial testing groups and get capacity and get turnaround. And because they caught it early with competent testing, which the U.S. did not, they had such low level of cases, then contact tracing works. South Korea being a fantastic example of that.

Some, you know, people have very good health systems like Vietnam. We also believe now that the related coronavirus exposure, because there's so many bats in -- as you get into Southeast Asia there, that they probably, you know, within a few months will really understand this. They probably had this cross-protection that meant the spread of the disease was not as strong there.

Also having a young population, you know, was beneficial. Pakistan had a pretty bad peak in Karachi, but now they look like Europe. Those numbers come down. India is still, sadly, in a growth phase as is lots of South America. Africa, we know South Africa is tough. The rest of Africa we've been funding a lot of testing there because it's a bit opaque what goes on. And the lungs in Africa, you're more exposed to indoor and outdoor particulate, so it looks like even at younger ages you can get a serious disease compared to, say, a rich country.

ZAKARIA: Do you worry about just how bad it's going to get for these poor countries? Because not only do they face, of course, the health care issues with a weak health care system, but then they are inevitably going to be -- the loss of economic activity. I mean I think they said that India is going to have a 5 percent shrinking of its economy this year, then the debt that they'll have to take in. It just seems like there's going to be a kind of cascading set of crises here.

GATES: Yes, it's crazy because you've got so many of the developing countries having these huge setbacks. And not only do you have the direct death and sickness from this disease, but their health systems have no extra capacity.


And the fragility of people's incomes, you know, losing a bit of money there, means that you don't have enough money to eat, it increases malnutrition. And these are governments whose very stability is always right on the edge. And so these setbacks can lead to instability, you know, complete breakdown in governments all together. And so, yes, the developing countries, even if their death tolls aren't gigantic, will pay far greater price for the pandemic than the rich countries.

ZAKARIA: You've talked about the vaccine. When we talked earlier, you talked about treatment and you were actually somewhat more optimistic that there would be treatments before there were vaccines. Where do we stand on that?

GATES: There's a lot of good things in the pipeline. The two that are out are the antiviral from Gilead Remdesivir which, you know, we're trying to formulate that to be the lower cost. It's still hard to make and administer. There's two other antivirals that are coming along that could be done by the end of the year. Perhaps most promising are monoclonal antibodies and we still don't know how large the dose will be.

But within a few months, a few Eli Lilly, AstraZeneca, which will probably get emergency authorization. And those, if they work as well as we think, could bring the death rate down by, you know, 70 percent or even 80 percent. And then finally we have immune modulators. You know, we funded a trial in the UK that proved, one called dexamethasone, work well, but there's a variety of others in figuring out exactly for which patients how to use those.

So in combination, therapeutics could cut the death rate a lot even before the vaccine gets out, even though we'll still want the vaccine to stop transmission.

ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, I will ask Bill Gates whether today's tech giants have gotten too big.



ZAKARIA: Back now with more of my interview with Bill Gates on his other field of expertise, technology. One of the things Americans have been surprised, you know, amazed by, is in the midst of this economic paralysis, you know, with some metrics worse than the Great Depression, some companies have done unbelievably well.

The major technology companies and they've been called before Congress and there are concerns that they're becoming too powerful, too dominant, monopolies. You know a little about that whole story. What was your reaction to the four companies that were called before Congress? Are they too big? Do they have monopoly power that needs to be regulated?

BILL GATES, CO-CHAIR, BILL & MELINDA GATES FOUNDATION: There are definitely legitimate issues. When you're super successful, the idea that Congress is going to ask you tough questions from time to time, that comes with success.

In my case, I was all alone, you know. They - you know, there were four at a time. I don't know why they didn't take them one at a time. Definitely diluted the coherence of what was being asked. But yes, the idea of these marketplaces, should they be able to offer their own branded products, should they unbundle the logistic capabilities in those networks to poster competition?

There are lots of structural issues, competition issues, to look at. My general view is that even though there may be some things there, you know, like not letting messages be encrypted so you can see conspiracy theories and child pornography or making sure these markets are fair and let competitors come in. Perhaps rethink some of the acquisitions.

Overall, it's easy to underestimate how naturally competitive technology markets are? Not on a day-to-day basis, but over time as new platforms, new approaches come along. So Congress has an important role to play there, but also the natural competitive dynamics should make sure that prices keep coming down and innovation moves at high speed.

ZAKARIA: And do you think the United States government should be in the business of banning a consumer technology product used to make dance videos? I know Microsoft is going to possibly buy TikTok, but what I'm asking you, in a sense, the broader question. Is there a real vital national security threat to TikTok being owned by a Chinese company?

GATES: Yes, we need principles that are applied broadly and in a predictable way. You know, is a messaging service where you have private messages, you know, is that more invasive than, say, the video watching.

So, some principles will have to be crafted. It's fair to say that for a variety of reasons the social networking companies in the U.S. never really had a chance of success in China. And so when people talk about reciprocal things, you could say that's unusual that that opportunity was provided.

I think with China - we're in this for the long haul, so really figuring out where there are still win-wins and how to behave in a predictable fashion that will be important. Both parties want to think about how we connect with China over time and.


GATES: So they - so there are opportunities to preserve what's good and, you know, act in a way that we are principled, a country would operate in an illegal basis. That will be interesting to watch because it's a very important relationship.

ZAKARIA: Bill Gates, always a pleasure to have you on, sir. Thank you.

GATES: Thank you.

ZAKARIA: Next on "GPS," the devastating explosion in Beirut. What caused it? The answer is tragic and illuminating.


ZAKARIA: And now for our "What in the world segment". On Tuesday the world watched in horror as an explosion caused by nearly 3,000 tons of ammonium nitrate ripped through Beirut. That is the same key ingredient used in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, but 1,500 times more of it.


ZAKARIA: The blast was so incredibly strong, it was felt 150 miles away on the Island of Cyprus. We won't know the true death toll for a long time, but thousands were injured and hundreds of thousands were displaced from their homes. The first question on everyone's mind of course, was, is this bomb? No.

It turns out that that massive amount of explosive material had, for reasons that defy logical explanation, been stored at the port since 2014. And the central government has over the years ignored multiple warnings and requests to move it.

In a sense, it is a reminder of the tragedy of Lebanon incompetent, inefficient and deeply corrupt government. At the time of the blast, Lebanon was already in a state of major crisis. Fawaz Gerges a Beirut native, now Professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics says that the political establishment has been plundering the country for decades.

He estimated that more than 50 percent of Lebanon lives in poverty today. The signs of collapse are everywhere. Electricity is incredibly scarce, garbage collection barely takes place. Late last year the streets erupted in discontent, as they did this weekend, pouring onto the rubble-filled avenues to voice the concerns of the incompetence of their leaders.

To make matters worse, the port of the epicenter of the blast, thus utterly destroyed, was the main artery for goods to come in and out of the country. Some 60 percent of Lebanon's imports came through Beirut's harbor.

Remember that the country is surrounded by war on one side and enemy on the other most of its land borders with Syria, the rest with Israel so where to start on rebuilding this nation that was already so deeply damaged?

Let's start with the price tag. Estimates run into tens of billions of dollars to fix what the blast broke. Over the course of the week, nations across the globe have pledged their support and President Macron of France hosted a donor conference today.

But Fawaz Gerges doubts the integrity of Lebanese officials to distribute the aid without lining their own pockets. President Macron apparently has similar concerns. When he visited the shell-shocked city on Thursday, he pledged that his country's aid to its former colony would not go into corrupt hands.

Rami Khouri Professor of Journalism at the American University in Beirut tells "GPS" he has a plan to make sure all aid money gets where it is supposed to go. He proposes a competent of NGOs, academics, professional and civic leaders to work alongside the government to oversee fair and efficient distribution of the promised aid.

He says such an arrangement would help not only rebuild Beirut but also build back public confidence in Lebanon's leaders. Sometimes these kinds of crises can have the effect of a wake-up call and jolt a country to a change and reform.

Lebanon desperately needs such a shock to the system. The country was once a model for the Middle East. Beirut was called the Paris of the East. Today it is becoming more like Syria or Iraq mismanaged basket cases. In a different era, Gerges says the United States would have played President Macron's role, in organizing an international conference, gathering funds and pressing for reform and rebuilding.

In a post-American Middle East, this tragedy runs the risk of simply festering and becoming one more piece of detritus in an already embattled region. Beirut is one of humanities oldest settlements. A part of the heritage we also share. Its people are desperate need of medical attention and supplies. Please consider visiting to find out how you can help.

Next on "GPS" the question on the minds of every parent, grandparent, uncle and aunt perhaps more importantly teacher, how in the world do we send our kids back to school safely? The Former CDC Director Tom Frieden will lay it out for us.



ZAKARIA: On Wednesday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced that the Chicago public schools would be all virtual for at least the first two months. On Friday New York's Governor Cuomo gave the green light for all the state's school systems, including New York City's, to hold in- person classes.

And that seems to be the way it's going to be around the country, from preschool to college some virtual schooling, some in-person. The question is how do you have kids come to school and be taught en masse in the middle of a pandemic and do it safely for everybody?

Tom Frieden is a Former Director of the CDC and a Former Health Commissioner of New York City. Welcome, Tom. So, who got it right, Chicago or New York?

TOM FRIEDEN, FORMER DIRECTOR, CENTERS FOR DISEAE CONTROL & PREVENTION: Well, Fareed, it's not either/or. There are two things that every community has to do if it wants to not just open schools, but keep them open.

The first is to control COVID. If you try opening with lots of COVID spread, you're going to have to close schools again. And the second is to take a number of steps to adapt schools to the new reality that we're living in with COVID-19.

ZAKARIA: So, a lot of schools are trying to do this thing where they will have only 50 percent of the student body at any given time either doing it in shifts or Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, Friday. Is that the right approach, to kind of reduce the total number to begin with?

FRIEDEN: Any way we can reduce crowding, reduces the risk of explosive spread. There's still a lot we don't know about COVID, but it's clear that children can get the infection.


FRIEDEN: It's rare but some of them can get severely ill. And undoubtedly teenagers and, perhaps, younger kids can spread the infection as well. That means there are tough decisions that need to be made in every school district and in every household.

Are there vulnerable people at home? Are there ways to separate a child who's going to school from those vulnerable people at home? If not, you have to think of what are the risks and benefits of in-person schooling?

But we have to be very clear, schools are important. All of us want kids to learn. There is not only too much education being lost, too much disruption in our economy, but also too much of an exacerbation of what has already been a really big educational gap with poorer kids, black and Latina kids not getting as good an education. Not having as much access to distance learning and not having the same possibility to shield themselves from people who have to go to work for essential jobs and have to have contact with others. So, this is something we have to try to get right. We're going to have to learn as we go along.

ZAKARIA: But you do believe we have to, in most places, open the schools, be very careful, experiment that there really is no other option?

FRIEDEN: Well, I wouldn't say it quite like that, Fareed, because I think in much or even most of the U.S. right now, there's just too much COVID for schools to be safely opened. Certainly what Governor Cuomo has outlined in New York State is an excellent way of thinking about it.

You have to be less than 5 percent positivity and to have a systematic plan for what to do. That's exactly what's needed. But in places like that have 10 percent, 15 percent positivity rates, I just would be very surprised if they're able to not only open but stay open because they're going to have outbreaks.

ZAKARIA: But you're describing potentially dangerous scenario because you know a number of those places that have infection rates, positivity rates over 5 percent are planning to reopen their schools, so you think this could add - this could look bad because you will see flare ups then?

FRIEDEN: I think it's almost inevitable that in many or most of those places you're going to see the spread of COVID and it's going to be very hard for those schools to reopen. Look, you either close your bars or close your schools. But you can't keep them both open. That's very unlikely to be possible.

ZAKARIA: Can you say something about the CDC guidelines, because basically the CDC issue guidelines about school reopening and then President Trump seems to feel they were too stringent. They then issued new guidelines which were more lax. Is the CDC being politically influenced in ways that worry you?

FRIEDEN: Well, the CDC has certainly been silenced in this pandemic. It's the first time in the nearly 75 years the CDC has existed that it hasn't been front and center, making the decisions and explaining to the American people what's going on.

And that's a problem. Fortunately, there are still great people working at CDC, working hard, following the science, posting good information. They've had 1.6 billion clicks on their website. If you look at the school guidance, there are good, useful tools for schools to use, for parents to use. They give practical guidance for what to do.

There was certainly at least one document that was written probably not by someone at CDC. It didn't have anything wrong in it, but it didn't have the full truth in it, which is if you open schools, you do have to be careful about what's going to happen to the teachers, to the staff, to the community, to the families of kids who go there if there are infection spreads from the school. Ignoring that is just going to backfire.

ZAKARIA: Tom, what have you learned about COVID and what strategies are successful when you look around the world, because there is - to me, it's a bit of a puzzle there are some countries that have done very well where there's little mask wearing.

I mean, for example in large parts of Europe there's not much of mask wearing. There are some places where no matter what the rates just seem astonishingly low. Taiwan, Hong Kong, places like that. What conclusions have you drawn?

FRIEDEN: It's pretty clear. There's no one answer here. Not travel bans, not testing, not contact tracing, not mask wearing and not even a vaccine. We need a comprehensive response. If there's one thing that unifies or a common denominator for all of the successful places, they have been guided by and have fully supported public health.

And really you can think of it as two phases. First, if it's spreading widely, you really do need to have people physically distanced. That means closing all indoor retail, dining, bars, churches, indoor spaces where you can get explosive spread.

And second, once it gets down to a more manageable level, you have to do what we call the box-it-in strategy test, isolate, contact trace, quarantine.


FRIEDEN: It's not that complicated but it is that hard because it has to be done very well, very quickly. And I think in this country, we didn't stay shut long enough and we didn't ramp up the box-it-in capacity effectively enough.

Because of that, we're paying the price. In the past week, people in Europe had one-eighth the risk of being killed by COVID as people in the United States. And yet there are parts of the U.S., like much of the Northeast, which look more like Europe in terms of controlling the virus.

ZAKARIA: Tom Frieden, pleasure to have you on.

FRIEDEN: Fareed, thanks so much. Nice speaking with you.

ZAKARIA: Thanks to Tom Frieden, Bill Gates and thanks to all of you are being part of this program. I'll see you next week.