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Fareed Zakaria GPS
Interview with Senior Trump Adviser Jared Kushner; Mass Protests Continues In Belarus After Contested Election; Imagining A future Filed With Frequent Instant COVID-19 Tests; Dr. Mina: You Would Use These Rapid COVID-19 Tests Once Every Day Or Two; Dr. Mina: South Korea Is Already Producing Two Of These Types Of Tests; A Key Step In Getting Life Back To Normal. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired August 23, 2020 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: And what's important to keep in mind at this point in our nation's history, a politician bereft of empathy and decency, that someone by definition who is willing to literally do anything, to sink to any depth to win.
Thanks for spending your Sunday morning with us. The news continues next.
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.
ZAKARIA: Today on the show, Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and senior adviser. I'll ask him about Israel's peace deal with the UAE. Is Kushner rewarding the Emirates with F-35 stealth fighters. Also, we will talk about the 2020 campaign in which he is playing a major role. Then the world's eyes were on Russia this week after the suspected poisoning of Alexei Navalny, a major thorn in Vladimir Putin's side.
Plus, will Russia take advantage of Belarus, the former Soviet nation that has been racked by unrest after a contested election. Also, Bill Gates told me America's COVID tests are worthless and an insanity.
BILL GATES, CO-FOUNDER, BILL AND MELISSA GATES FOUNDATION: The most worthless test results of any country in the world.
ZAKARIA: Well, a Harvard epidemiologist has a plan to fix the system. He says we can have millions of instant tests administered daily. He will explain how.
ZAKARIA: But first, here's my take. The Democratic National Convention began with a mosaic of Americans reciting the preamble to the U.S. Constitution. It's a striking display of ethnic, racial, and gender diversity. But
more importantly, this time around, the Democrats took care to celebrate the kind of ideological diversity that is crucial to winning the White House on November 3rd. The convention prominently featured progressive icons like Bernie Sanders and Stacey Abrams, moderates like Hillary Clinton and former Republican Michael Bloomberg, conservatives like John Kasich and Colin Powell.
Many on social media reacted furiously to including Republicans with one user sarcastically asking, "What time is Dick Cheney speaking?" But Joe Biden seems to understand that Twitter will not cast the deciding vote in this election. He is returning to a winning formula for the Democrats which is to be a big tent party. The humorist Will Rogers once quipped, "I am not a member of any organized political party, I am a Democrat."
The joke expressed an important truth. The Democrats dominated American politics from the 1930s through the 1960s because they included all kinds of people from southern segregationists to northern liberals. It was a Faustian bargain but that coalition rescued the country from the Great Depression, passed Social Security, Medicare, food stamps, Head Start and a host of other programs that helped whites and minorities alike.
It wasn't just a Democratic formula either. When Ronald Reagan reshaped the Republican Party in the 1980s, he repeatedly pointed out that he had been a Democrat and a union organizer, that he respected rank-and-file Democrats and that he understood how hard it was for them to break with a decade's long sense of political loyalty. He courted the religious right but from a distance, literally. In his eight years as president, he never attended the annual anti-abortion rally, voicing his support by phone instead, even though the event was held just half a mile from the White House.
Earlier this year when asked what role she might play, if Biden became president, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said, "Oh, God, in any other country, Joe Biden and I would not be in the same party." She's probably right. But America is different. For one thing, it's very big. In fact, it worried the country's founders that in the past, democracy had flourished only in small city states. They believed a large, diverse country like America could pose critical challenges to the democratic process.
And they were thinking of just the 13 colonies nestled east of the Allegheny Mountains. In a vast continental nation of 330 million with wide variations in geography, economic activity, history and culture, it should be obvious that not everyone sees things the same way. For some ideological warriors, to accept this reality is to make sordid compromises, but it is the way to durably get things actually done. Bernie Sanders is a powerful voice in America and he has raised many important issues.
But in his three decades in Congress, he has been the lead sponsor of just seven bills that have been enacted, two of which named post offices. If you want to translate ideas into action, you have to grapple with the political realities of the country. Whether on immigration or infrastructure, you're likely to make enduring changes only if you can build a coalition.
Ezra Klein makes the case that the Democrats in particular need to have a broad appeal. Their constituency is more diverse than that of Republicans to start with, from northern whites to southern blacks to Latinos in the west, add to this redistricting and the electoral college, which helped Republicans gain power even when they cannot get a majority of votes. And Democrats have a compelling practical reason to be a big tent party.
There may be a larger virtue in this kind of broad approach. One recent study found that ideologically diverse teams produce better work that homogenous ones. Summarizing in the Harvard Business Review, the researchers noted that at the individual level, bias can lead to foolish investments and erroneous conclusions but people with strong political biases are also passionate and hardworking and dig deep for information to prove their case.
The scholars concluded, collectively, teams with mixtures of bias that are willing to engage and collaborate can yield superior performance.
Last year's Stanford scholars gathered 523 registered voters to talk to each other about their disagreements in small groups. After several days, liberals and conservatives had both changed their views significantly and the share of participants that believed American democracy was working well had doubled from 30 percent to 60 percent.
If the Democrats continue to embrace this kind of deliberative democracy, they will have an opportunity to make policy changes that endure and perhaps more importantly to heal this country's broken democratic culture.
Go to CNN.com/fareed for a link to my "Washington Post" column this week. And let's get started.
Ten days ago the United Arab Emirates became the third Arab nation to normalize relations with Israel. The signing of the so-called "Abraham Accord" took many by surprise. So this did revelation this week that there was a White House push to sell F-35 stealth fighter jets to the Emirates. CNN and many other outlets report that that push and the push for the agreement itself was led by my guest.
Jared Kushner is a senior adviser to President Trump, who's also his father-in-law.
ZAKARIA: Ten days ago the United Arab Emirates became the third Arab nation to normalize relations with Israel. The signing of the so- called Abraham Accord took many by surprise.
So did this revelation. This week that there was a White House push to sell F-35 stealth fighter jets to the Emirates. CNN and many other outlets report that that push and the push for the agreement itself was led by my guest.
Jared Kushner is a senior adviser to President Trump, who is also his father-in-law. Jared Kushner, welcome on the show.
JARED KUSHNER, SENIOR ADVISER TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you, Fareed. It's an honor to be with you today.
ZAKARIA: So let me ask you, your -- the president tasked you with a peace deal that was meant to be a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, that is the ultimate goal I still assume. And I, in that context, was wondering, this seems like a great deal for Bibi Netanyahu.
He has gotten this extraordinary concession, this -- normalization of relations with the UAE and had to give up nothing. He announced an annexation plan -- floated an annexation plan, which never happened, and then withdrew it, which seems like a brilliant bargaining strategy.
So, in a sense, didn't he outsmart you? And if he gets rewards for not doing anything, why will he make peace with the Palestinians? What is the incentive to make peace with the Palestinians if he's getting all these things without making peace with the Palestinians?
KUSHNER: Yes. So, first of all, Fareed, I'd say that this peace deal, which is the third peace deal in 70 years for Israel and the first peace deal in the Middle East in the last 26 years, is a big win for the whole world, not just for Israel.
It's a win for the United Arab Emirates, it's a win for America, and, quite frankly, in the region. It's a big win for all of the countries who want to see their societies advance, who want to see their people brought together in a society of tolerance around economic opportunity, and it's about people wanting to push back on the people who are looking to radicalize the region and use the old conflicts as a way to sow disconnection.
The last time I was on your show, we were talking about President Trump's vision for peace where we got Israel to make historic concessions that they hadn't been willing to agree to in a long time. We laid out a 180-page document which was a blueprint for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. It really showed -- you had Israel agreeing to a Palestinian state and it was the first time in history that Israel agreed to a map, which was based on the facts on the ground.
We have a practical background. We went in. We listened to all the different sides. And we were able to come up with what we thought a rational framework was for a final negotiated settlement.
Once we put that out, that showed a lot of the different people in the Arab world that Israel was indeed serious about making peace with the Palestinians and a lot of the relations that we've been stimulating over the last years were able to come to the forefront. So this was a great breakthrough. You know, negotiations are
different. The Middle East is obviously a complicated place. We had a lot of people who doubted that our efforts would bear fruit. But this peace deal is a great vindication for all of the unorthodox steps that President Trump has taken over the last three-and-a-half years in one of the most complicated regions in the world.
And I will say that this is obviously a big step forward, but I believe that it will be another turning point in the region that will lead to more prosperity, more shared opportunity, and hopefully more peace and stability for the long term.
ZAKARIA: So, I understand what Israel gets from it. And now it appears, if the reports are correct, the UAE is getting the F-35, which is something they've long wanted, have not been granted before. Is it true that you are pushing that that sale take place? And when will it take place?
KUSHNER: Yes, so, this has become an issue that I guess came up maybe as a political issue in Israel over the last week or so. But the UAE has been trying to get the F-35 for a long time. The person -- the group that wants them not to get it the most is obviously Iran because they're right across the Strait of Hormuz from there.
And the reality is, is that this new peace agreement should increase the probability of them getting it. But it's something we're reviewing. Obviously we'll look at the QME and we'll do everything in accordance with the right standards. But it's something that the State Department and the U.S. military is looking at.
But the UAE has been a tremendous military partner for America for many years and so this is something that we could see potentially happening now as a result of this great breakthrough.
ZAKARIA: Stay with me, Jared Kushner.
When we come back, we will ask Jared Kushner about the Democrats and the Republicans. The convention starts, the Republican one, tomorrow. It's just over 10 weeks until Election Day. Lots of questions for Jared Kushner when we come back.
ZAKARIA: And we are back with the White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner.
Let me ask you before we get to the campaign, Jared, what -- would you predict that by November Saudi Arabia and Bahrain will also have normalized relations with Israel?
KUSHNER: So I don't want to make any predictions. I think right now -- I'm going to be traveling to the region. We want to make sure that we cement this agreement in place. We want to make sure this is a very warm peace. There is tons of doctors who want to start working together on coronavirus together. We have a lot of trade and tourism that want to happen. We want to get this embedded as quickly as possible.
But what I will say is that a lot of people around the region around looking at the tremendous economic opportunities that will now exist for the UAE as a hub for Israeli business to the rest of the Arab world and they want to make this happen too.
So I do think there'll be a lot of countries that will want to follow behind but, obviously, this is the first one in 26 years. The rest will come at their pace. But I wouldn't be surprised if others go soon.
ZAKARIA: So let me ask you about November. Clearly the big issue is going to be the pandemic and the handling of the pandemic. And the facts are pretty clear, the United States has 5% of the world's population, 25% of the world's cases. The world's leader. It has a death rate, COVID death rate, of 15 to 20 times higher than the European Union or Canada.
The testing system we have in place Bill Gates says is the most worthless in the world because of the long test times. And he argues it is entirely because of the Federal Government and its unwillingness to change.
That sounds like a tough record to run on.
KUSHNER: Yes, well, again, it's hard to disagree with Bill Gates because he's had a big success but I do disagree with him here. If you look at the amount of tests we've done, we've done more than any other country by a big factor. We've been able to --
ZAKARIA: But his whole point is --
ZAKARIA: But his whole point is those tests are worthless because you are infectious for two or three days around when you have symptoms and if you get the test results four, five, six days later, which is the average for the United States, they're essentially worthless.
KUSHNER: Yes, the average is now down to about 2.3 days and the reality --
ZAKARIA: That's not true.
KUSHNER: -- is that testing is a strategic tool. Testing is not a panacea. And we've (ph) been utilizing the fast tests that we have to really protect the vulnerable. And our case fatality rate is much lower than anyone else. And if you look at the U.S.'s versus Europe, and you look at excess mortality rate, we're below Europe.
So, look, we also have a lot of considerations. We've managed this way through where we've taken care of all the different groups that needed. We've gotten the PPE to the frontline workers. We've gotten the ventilators to everyone who needed. And we've ramped up the largest amount of testing of anyone in the world. And so, obviously, we have 50 different CEOs and the governors, some of them have done a better job than others, but our job has been to get them the supplies, to give them the guidance to share ideas across the way.
We've also developed a lot of therapeutics which have been helping keep our case fatality down. And today I think we're going to have another great announcement on that. And if you look at the vaccine, we've also (inaudible) the fastest vaccine ever to a Phase III trial was 13 months. We did it in four for the first one and we have three in Phase III that we're simultaneously developing.
So we're going to get to the other end of it. And I do think that out of this some countries are going to get stronger. Some countries will get weaker. With the work that President Trump's done to save our economy, coming out of this, I believe, we have an opportunity to bring a lot of our jobs back on shore, to emerge as a real globally dominant player, much bigger than before, and if we slow down and we do it in a different way, we could lose a lot of ground to the world.
So, obviously, this is a once-in-a-100-year pandemic. There's a lot of different challenges that have arisen.
We've done very well meeting most of those. And I do believe that we're going to rise much stronger thanks to the president's leadership.
ZAKARIA: But the public doesn't seem to agree. The last time you were on this show, you were feeling pretty good because you said the president had an approval rating around 46, 47 percent, the RealClearPolitics average. That approval rating is down to 43.7 percent with 54 percent disapproving. Those are pretty tough numbers. And what is the president's strategy to turn those around?
KUSHNER: Yes, so first of all, he was, I think, at about 37 when he won, so he's still above where he was last time. Look, because of the pandemic, a lot of the country has been distracted. I think these conventions are a real kickoff. We saw the Democrats last week, have a very dark vision for America.
You were talking about the great diversity earlier of their party, but a lot of the those Republicans are not -- I mean, those are people who are Washington elites, a lot of insiders, people who have, you know, made their lives and their careers off of Washington.
President Trump represents the American people. He's the outsider president. And I think you're going to see a very hopeful version -- vision for America that he's going to be unleashing. You're going to see a real diversity of the Republican Party that he has built. You're going to see it's going to be different than how the media tells you.
And unlike the Democrats last week where there was a lot of complaints, they didn't offer much by way of policy or solutions, President Trump will be laying out, you know, real policies, real visions, real solutions for how he brings our country back and makes it stronger than ever before.
So, we feel really good about where we are. Again, the media misjudged the president's chance of winning last time. A lot of the public polling misjudged the president's chances last time. We feel like we're in a substantially better position now than we were four years ago. And we're quite excited about the convention coming up this week and the campaign that will ensue after that.
ZAKARIA: What I noticed though is that the president seems to be preparing ground for the fact that he might lose because he has begun to raise all these specters of ballot fraud, voter fraud, and things like that. And I just want to show you a few data points. I'm going to show the viewers and I'm going to read them to you, Jared.
But he has talked extensively about the dangers of mail-in voting and the fraud that comes from it. The first slide, which I'm happy to send you by email, is the list of the literally dozens of studies that have been done on voter fraud, all of which have concluded that there is none.
There is, in fact, a -- you know, there are -- Brennan Center for Justice study that says incident rates of voter fraud were at 0.00004 percent to 0.009 percent. That's the fifth decimal place. So it appears that there really is -- mail-in balloting is done in five states, including the heavily Republican Utah. According to a scholar who studies this: "Trump is simply wrong about mail-in balloting raising a tremendous potential for fraud."
Isn't this all very dangerous for democracy for a president to be actively delegitimizing an election, apparently because his poll numbers are bad?
KUSHNER: No, Fareed, so I'm really glad you brought this up. So if I was a civilian before I got into politics, and I've been living through this for five years, if I would have saw a study that says this, I would have believed it. Most of these studies are garbage and they're done with a real point of view towards advocacy.
Let's just look at the facts, right? I was reading an article in The New York Times the other day where they said that there was a lot of fraud in Paterson, New Jersey, and they were having a lot of trouble with their mail-in ballots. And then they said, you know, three paragraphs later, they said President Trump still, without any evidence, claims that there's fraud in mail-in ballots.
I'm in New Jersey. I have a lot of friends in New Jersey. I grew up there. One of my friends just got married. His wife got two ballots, one that was in her old name, one that's in her new name. In Paterson, New Jersey, they just had, you know, a whole situation with the city council.
ZAKARIA: But, Jared, that's an anecdote, that's not data. That -- you know, one example.
KUSHNER: Well, but...
ZAKARIA: The whole point of studies...
KUSHNER: ... Fareed, what I would say...
ZAKARIA: ... is that you do aggregate data. I'm sure there are 10 examples pointing to the opposite. The only way you can tell what the reality is, is to do aggregate data studies. And you know that. You're smart enough to know that.
KUSHNER: OK, so are you telling me -- so, Fareed, you're telling me that the Brennan Center justice thing is perfect.
ZAKARIA: No, I'm just telling you that...
KUSHNER: Look, this is the reality, people...
ZAKARIA: ... your one friend in New Jersey is not reflective of aggregate data.
KUSHNER: OK. Well, then you could talk to my other friend in New Jersey whose son died seven years ago and his son got a ballot. I mean, I just -- my point is I don't have that many friends in New Jersey...
KUSHNER: ... and I have two of them who are raising this with me.
And what I'll just say is this, Fareed. Look, the president wants a fair election. We have a way of voting that has been tried and true for many years. People are comfortable with it. The president tweeted the other day, "if you can protest in person, you can vote in person."
I think that there's a notion here, Dr. Fauci said it's safe to vote in person.
What we're seeing now is, if you look at the ballot harvesting that happened in California, there's a lot of dirty things that happen in politics. And the president is just making sure people have an awareness about it.
He wants to make sure that there's a safe way for people to vote and he wants to make sure it's secure and it's a fair election.
If that happens, he believes he has a very, very good chance of winning. Again, we're seeing the polls moving big in our favor over the last month. People want law and order. They want their communities safe. They want to put -- a president that stands up for law enforcement. He has a track record of taking on China and making good trade deals for America. And, again, he knows how to build an economy.
So we're starting to see our economy rush back after having shut down the economy to slow down the spread of the virus. That allowed us to have the hospital capacity, the resources to deal with it appropriately. And President Trump is very confident that the American people know that he's the right person to rebuild our country, to take on the other countries.
We were on earlier talking about how he made the first peace deal in the last 26 years. He's brought us out of wars. A lot of the people who are talking in the Democratic Convention these are the people who got us into these endless wars. And President Trump has not gotten us into any wars. He's pulling us out of Afghanistan. He's pulling us out of the Middle East. He's bringing our troops home. And he's making trade deals that actually help the American workers.
So I think the American people see it. They know that he's a do-er. They like what he stands for. Again, there's no secrets with him. He's very transparent about what he's thinking, whether it's on Twitter or he's very transparent about his policy, and the American people are for it.
But, again, there is fraud with mail-in ballots. And the president he's in -- for absentee ballots. That's a tried and true way of doing it. But, obviously, the universal where they send a ballot to everybody -- again, the Federal Government is not equipped to do that properly. And this is something that if you're going to do it properly it should take 5 to 10 years to really roll it out. And they're trying to rush it in a couple of months and there will be problems.
So we just want to make sure that we have a fair election so that people can have confidence in their election. And unlike the last election where the president won fair and square, the Democrats and the media spent two years trying to say that Russia was the reason he won the election without any evidence.
So he knows what he's up against in (ph) a very dishonest media and he knows what he's up against in terms of people who want to try to see him lose at all costs.
ZAKARIA: All right. Jared Kushner, you're very good to come on this show. We're delighted to have you. Thank you --
KUSHNER: Thank you, Fareed. Like I said, it's an honor to be with you.
ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, some Kremlin-ology. What will Vladimir Putin do in Belarus and what happened to Alexei Navalny, when we get back.
FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST, GPS: Today marks the 15th day of unprecedented protests in Belarus. The issue that's brought to many Belarusians to the street is the contested August 9th election, the incumbent Alexander Lukashenko claims he won, and one handedly garnering some 80 percent of the vote. But the protesters don't buy it and they're demanding new elections. Lukashenko says that won't happen unless they kill him. The President of this Former Soviet Nation has looked to Russia for help. Moscow has warned other countries not to interfere, but most fear that Putin may send in troops, just as he did in Georgia and in Ukraine.
Joining me now is Nina Janowicz; she is a Disinformation Fellow at the Wilson Center, where she studies Eastern Europe. Nina welcome. Let me ask you to begin with, tell us about what has happened in Belarus to create this crisis in the first place, because my impression of it was, it was a fairly stable country.
It was a dictatorship but people had a reasonable standard of living and seemed, I don't know, happy is not the word, but content. Is this about the pandemic?
NINA JANKOWICZ, DISINFORMATION FELLOW, WILSON CENTER: That's a great question, Fareed. The pandemic does play a role. You know, Lukashenko said that COVID-19 was a psychosis. He didn't organize any sort of state response and even held a victory day parade to celebrate the end of World War II on May 9th, which no one was wearing masks of course so that was part of it.
But then as the election drew near, he also jailed two of his main opponents. There used to be this social contract in Belarus that you know they had a reasonable standard of living, good education, good health care in exchange for the sort of corruption and rigging we see in other post-Soviet countries being at least kept under the table.
All of those spurred were castaway very vividly by the Lukashenko regime which then claimed this huge election victory, which independent observers in the country say is statistically impossible. Thousands of people have been rallying, as you said, for the past 15 days and ail they're demanding is their votes be counted honestly and fairly.
ZAKARIA: So, this does raise the specter of Ukraine, but it's important to understand the differences, it seems to me. The issue in Ukraine was that the Ukrainians were trying to forge an agreement and an association with Europe. That seems absent in this case. So, how is it playing out compared to Ukraine?
JANKOWICZ: Yes, you're exactly right. In Ukraine the idea, the protests were spurred because President Viktor Yanukovych reneged on an association agreement he had promised to sign with the European Union. That is what brought people to the streets.
Here there are no European Union flags being waved, no one is discussing NATO excision. What they're doing is just asking for basic democratic and human rights. Many people have been beaten and even tortured over the past couple of weeks. That is what is continuing to drive people to the streets.
They want to have their voices heard and their votes counted. This is a simple democratic equation. It is not about joining a Euro-Atlantic treaty organization. In fact, the opposition said they want to maintain a multi-vector foreign policy. That is, maintaining relations with Russia, with whom they have a very strong economic and security agreement and also integrating a little bit with the west, balancing those two.
ZAKARIA: But at the same time, the Russians are trying to present this as an effort by some forces in Belarus to move to the west or the west to extend its influence. Sergey Lavrov, the Foreign Minister said this is western hegemony. Does all this mean that the Russians could take advantage of this and actually intervene as they did in Ukraine?
JANKOWICZ: Well, I don't want to predict Russian behavior because it's been very unpredictable in the past. I think in this case Russia has an opportunity to, perhaps, see a managed transition as it saw in Armenia a couple of years ago where there was a new leader, who was happy to work both with Russia and the west.
So, that's a possibility. I think that's why we are seeing sort of a wait and see approach from the Kremlin. But meanwhile, Lukashenko is trying to drive that narrative of western interference. Just yesterday he said that the protesters wanted to obliterate Russian language, which has been a dog whistle for Putin in the past to interfere.
So I think that's a big question, what Russia will do. But I think EU leaders, western leaders have been very clear this, again, is not about Euro-Atlantic integration. This is about basic democratic and human rights. That's something the people of Belarus deserve.
ZAKARIA: Before I let you go, I got to ask you about this case of Alexei Navalny, the poisoning, this is - he is very distinguished opposition leader. I met him very decent man. What is going on?
JANKOWICZ: Well, he was on a flight to Moscow a couple of days ago and fell violently ill on that flight. The flight had to make an emergency landing in Omsk, that's in Siberia. His campaign manager, his PR person said they believe his tea was poisoned at the airport.
Initially those doctors in Omsk said that he had been poisoned and then they changed their story. In the meantime, German authorities offered to Medevac Alexei Navalny to Germany to receive better treatment. That was stalled by the Kremlin and by those doctors in Omsk for two days.
I think that's incredibly suspicious. We don't know who ordered this poisoning but the fact that they were willing to play with this man's life for 48 hours begs the question of what evidence they're trying to hide?
And the other question is, even if this didn't come down from Putin himself, even if it's one of his rogue security services or someone else in the political elite who has been ordering this sort of stuff, it is a pattern in Russia that poisonings and killings of opposition figures and critics of the Kremlin happen with impunity and really with inhumanity. Navalny was kept from his wife, his doctors and again his life was imperiled because of this delay seemingly to cover their Kremlin's tracks. It's a very worrisome situation. It will have a chilling effect on the opposition and press in Russia, the independent press that do still exist and the Russian people deserve better.
ZAKARIA: It's worth pointing out, Nina, that Navalny is - one of his great crusades was anti-corruption. I think he probably angered a large number of people in the Kremlin elite by pointing out how they are essentially robbing their own country. Thank you so much, Nina, always a pleasure to have you on.
JANKOWICZ: Great to be with you.
ZAKARIA: Next on "GPS," how can America get back to normal, even before vaccine is ready? My next guest has a plan, a simple plan, it sounds terrific to me when we come back.
ZAKARIA: Many Americans have been in some form of quarantine for five months. As fall approaches and the new school year along with it, people are wondering, when can we all get back to normal and how might we do that? My next guest is a top epidemiologist at Harvard and he has a plan to do just that. Welcome Michael Mina.
DR. MICHAEL MINA, PROFESSOR OF EPIDEMIOLOGY, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: Thank you very much, happy to be here.
ZAKARIA: So first, Michael, if you can explain, Bill Gates has been pointing out that the testing that we're doing in the United States, whatever the numbers, is worthless because the tests are coming back too late to quarantine people, to isolate them, since it's a two or three-day period that you're at the peak infectiousness. So, what is wrong with our testing system right now?
DR. MINA: That's absolutely right. Essentially we are trying to fit a public health problem into a medical diagnostic issue. We are using these tests that are called PCR tests. These are tests that need to be done in a laboratory.
And that means that for a rapidly spreading virus where people are contagious for just a few days, to have a swab taken, send it off to a laboratory, get them all funneled through the doorway of that lab, get them processed on this instrument and then get the results back to you potentially three, four, five, ten days later, means that the results are coming back to you too late to serve any real purpose to stop the spread of this virus.
We need to sort of change the paradigm of testing where we can have a greatly expanded number of tests that can be used frequently and that give results back importantly immediately or within a few minutes so that person - the person can actually act on those results. ZAKARIA: So, in a sense, what you're describing, professor, is almost something like taking your temperature except here you actually know with reasonable certainty whether you had COVID, and so you could use it for people, you know, as they enter office buildings, as they enter malls, as they get on planes and you just separate out the people who have COVID, right?
It would seem like it would really allow people to get back to normal because you would be very efficiently isolating and removing people who have COVID.
DR. MINA: That's correct. I would say we still have a ways to go before we can consider these types of rapid tests, which aren't even on the market yet but could be, before we could consider them to be passports like the way you described.
What I want to see them start as is a transmission indicator test. And this is - everyone would continue going about their business as usual social distancing, wearing masks and all these pieces. This is one thing, just like a thermometer, but it would be much better at telling you if you're likely to go and transmit the virus to somebody else that day.
ZAKARIA: But there's nothing theoretically to stop us from being able to mass produce - these machines to mass produce these tests. All that needs to happen, as far as I can tell, is the federal government needs to get very aggressively behind these technologies, right?
DR. MINA: That's absolutely right. There are tests that don't need any machines. That essentially - I picture like the same way that somebody goes and buys a pack of gum. My picture is somebody goes and buys a pack of little rapid paper strip transmission indicating tests.
And they could be produced by the federal government, for example, millions and millions of them. They're easy to produce. They don't require an instrument so they can be shipped to people's home for free, and there could be big media campaigns about how to use them appropriately, how to respond with and without them?
And there's very little getting in the way to these tests being mass produced except there doesn't seem to be much federal will to be the ones responsible for producing them and also regulatory hurdles right now.
ZAKARIA: Now, many of these tests are about 85 percent accurate, which a little lower than the medical diagnostic tests. But presumably if you take the test, you know, twice or three times, the accuracy increases. How would you describe that, you know, the fact it isn't as accurate as a medical diagnostic test?
DR. MINA: That's exactly right. So, the idea would be that people wouldn't just be unlike - people wouldn't just be using it once like a medical diagnostic but they might use it every day or every two days and so that really increases the accuracy. Most importantly here, it means that you're likely to find somebody who is infectious on the day that they first become infectious, which is very different than if you're using just medical diagnostic tools and you have to go to the doctor or go to the drive-through. Usually people are going to wait until they're really sick before they go and do that.
Most people never will because they're asymptomatic. So this is a test that will increase its accuracy and its ability to detect people. Not through better chemicals on the test, but by having access to the test that is very frequent and daily will increase our ability to find people who are infectious and ask them to stay home for the next five or ten days.
ZAKARIA: If we were to adopt the program you're suggesting, if the federal government were to get aggressively behind this, how soon could these tests be available in, you know, whether by funding the private sector, by producing it themselves, how long would it take to get this program up and running?
DR. MINA: Yes. Relatively speaking, these are simple technologies to make. A single manufacturing plant could start making millions of them and probably an order of weeks. In some ways, some of the companies are actually already producing them.
We see South Korea has two of these types of tests they're producing. So, in the U.S. we can produce them in mass numbers. I know that there's a program that's been funded in small amount by the NIH to help 3M, a massive company, start to produce them.
And so, you know, if a company like 3M can start working on this project, we can get the federal government really behind it, put billions of dollars into this to produce millions and millions of tests, I think it could be - we could be getting control of the virus where it's currently out of control in much of the country in a matter of a month or two we could start rolling out.
You know small millions of them to hot spots and then start really incorporating them into the broader communities from there.
ZAKARIA: Professor Mina, I hope very much somebody in Washington is listening. Thank you.
DR. MINA: Thanks very much.
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ZAKARIA: My book of the week is "The Great Leveler" by Walter Scheidel. This is an extraordinary comprehensive account of inequality throughout all of human history. The author, classical historian, argues that the only durable path to reducing inequality historically has been through dramatic and violent rupture, like a world war, massive social revolution, a pandemic in which large parts of the population are actually eliminated.
It's a sobering reminder of just how difficult it is to address one of the greatest challenges of our time, rising inequality. Before we go, I also want to tell you about an exciting show we have coming up next Sunday in this space. It's called "How They See Us," a global view of Trump's America.
I talk with Tony Blair, a Chinese Economist, a Former Foreign Minister of Mexico and a guest from the country that pew says has the most confidence in Donald Trump.
ZAKARIA: You have to tune in next week to find out what that nation is and what everyone is saying. Thank you so much for being part of the show. I will see you in next week.