Return to Transcripts main page

Fareed Zakaria GPS

Interview With Dr. Anthony Fauci About The Delta Variant; Some American Conservatives Praise Hungary And Its Almost Autocratic Prime Minister, Viktor Orban. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired August 08, 2021 - 10:00   ET



FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN ANCHOR: This is GPS -- all of you in the United States and around the world, I'm Fareed Zakaria.


ZAKARIA (voice-over): We'll begin today's show with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government's point man on the pandemic. As the world passes 200 million confirmed cases of COVID, and America struggles under a new surge, what is next?

Will Delta require masks and even lockdowns again? And will America ever reach herd immunity?

Then American conservatives say they love the flag, limited government and Hungary. We'll explore why autocratically inclined Prime Minister Viktor Hugo seems headed for demagogue status with the Republican right.

Is this the rise of a new global movement? We'll tackle that, plus Lebanon, Iran and more, with a great panel.

Finally the world's nations come together every few years for the Olympics. Why do they seem unable to come together to vaccinate the world's people?


ZAKARIA: But first here's my take. Tensions between the United States and China have risen substantially. The Trump tariffs remain firmly in place. Washington searching for new ways to limit the spread of Chinese technology companies while giving funds to American firms. China, for its part, is trying to curtail its vulnerability to America's long reach.

In this atmosphere, one might well imagine that trade and goods between the two countries has plummeted. In fact, Chinese data shows it recently reached an all-time high.

Welcome to the strange new world we live in. China and the United States are becoming more adversarial toward one another in every way, and yet they are both part of a global economy that is deeply interdependent and has a dynamic of its own. Tensions rise, but so does trade.

It's not just with America. China and Australia have seen growing disputes, attacks and counter-attacks. Last year China publicly aired 14 grievances with Australia and warned, "If you make China the enemy, China will be the enemy." And yet Chinese purchases of Australian goods recently hit a record high.

This is why analogies to the Cold War don't really capture the unusual nature of today's great power competition. During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union traded at best a few billion dollars' worth of goods every year. Today the United States and China trade that much in a matter of days.

The Soviet Union barely existed on the economic map of the free world. It presided over a tightly controlled economic block of communist countries that had few connections in trade or travel with the rest of the planet. Mostly its economy was about resources, oil, gas, nickel, copper, et cetera.

China, by contrast, is deeply integrated into the world economy. It is now the world's leading trading nation in goods. According to the "Economist," 20 years ago the vast majority of countries traded more goods with America than China. Today that has flipped. Last year China replaced the U.S. as the European Union's largest trading partner in goods.

China needs American consumers for its economic growth. But conversely, many of America's largest companies from General Motors to Apple to Nike need the Chinese markets. The Walmart effect. The availability of low-priced goods of every kind to Americans has been closely tied to sourcing from China. Even when you look at something like America's expanding green economy, you see the shadow of China behind it. Those solar panels that you see everywhere that have become so affordable and thus ubiquitous have become so because many of them are made in China.


And then there is the roughly $1 trillion worth of American debt that China holds. The United States will need a strategy that mirrors the complexity of this relationship, one in which China is part competitor, part customer, part adversary. Some of this the Biden administration has done very well, for example bringing America's allies together in a more united front against China, for example, for its human rights abuses.

But Biden is also confronting the reality that America's allies have close economic ties with China. In Asia, most countries have China as their largest trading partner. Now countries would like to have both strong trading relations with China and often strong geopolitical ties with the U.S. Forcing them to choose might create more problems than it solves.

Adding even more nuance, China is strong but it has not taken over the world. It faces substantial challenges ahead. It is drained quickly because of the legacy of China's one-child policy. It has still not shown that it can avoid the middle-income trap faced by rising economies that aspired to join the ranks of rich ones.

China's President Xi Jinping is nurturing the state sector again and unleashing regulators on the vibrant private sector. And China's new assertive foreign policy has caused a strong backlash from its biggest neighbors, India, Australia, Japan. Last week the Philippines renewed a defense agreement with the United States that it had long announced it was planning to end.

Can Washington embrace the complexity of this challenge? It is facing an economic powerhouse that unlike Germany and Japan is not dependent on America for its security. It faces a new great power that is not a democracy and has different values and beliefs. And yet China has not occupied and controlled countries like Stalin's Russia did during the late 1940s which is what triggered the Cold War.

And all this is happening in a world in which international trade has rebounded to pre-pandemic levels. It's not a new Cold War but something much more complicated, a cold peace.

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

Let's get right to the main event, my interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.


ZAKARIA: Dr. Fauci, pleasure and honor to have you on, sir. Let me start by asking you the central question I think everyone is pondering right now. We hear all about the Delta variant, we hear about how it is much more infectious. We hear about breakthrough infections.

So the question is, does the vaccine protect against Delta, and if it does, why are people worried?

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: The situation is understandably a bit complicated, and that is, that if you look at what we're asking the vaccine to do, it's just fundamentally to protect you against serious illness.

The vaccines perform quite well against Delta. However, since Delta has the capability of transmitting much more efficiently than the previous variants that we had to deal with, and the reason for that is that it replicates extremely well, transmits well, and when you look in the nasopharynx, which is the vehicle for transmission from one person to another, that the level of virus in the nasal pharynx is considerably higher with the Delta variant than it was formally with the others.

So it transmits better which means that the initial protection against, for example, asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic disease which accounts for the breakthroughs that you've heard is a bit lower. For example, the original clinical trials that got us the vaccines that we had, take for example, the MRNAs, they were 94 percent to 95 percent protective against clinically recognizable disease.

What has happened with Delta is that that protection has gone down a bit so that you're going to get more so-called breakthrough infections. But what has held steady, Fareed, is the protection against severe disease. So in the big picture, the vaccines are still doing what you originally want them to do, to keep you out of the hospital, to prevent you from getting seriously ill.


For the most part, it's doing that very well. So people, when they hear breakthrough infections, I mean, we don't take them lightly because a breakthrough infection causes another problem, because if you do get a breakthrough infection, we know now that vaccinated people, when you get a breakthrough that is unusual, but it does occur, that you can then transmit it to someone else.

So it takes on the extra added issue of transmissibility so if you're protected and you get very little symptoms, minimum symptomatology, you then have the danger still to transfer it to someone else.

So the outbreak can be propagated which leads the CDC's modifying the guidelines of saying, even though you are vaccinated, when you are in a public place in an area of the country that has a high degree of virus such as in the red and orange zones, you should still wear a mask indoors because of the concern about getting infected, maybe even -- not even knowing you're infected, and then transmitting it to a vulnerable person who might be in your own home, your children, or a vulnerable relative or a friend who is on cancer chemotherapy.

I know that sounds confusing, but that's what happened. What's changed, Fareed, is the virus has changed. We went from a virus that was formidable but didn't transmit nearly as well as the virus we're dealing with today, and that's the Delta variant.

ZAKARIA: And so, just to punch that point, this variant, it's almost like it's a new virus in the sense that it is at least twice as infectious. People can have a thousand times the viral load of the original variant. Does that mean that the vaccine, while still effective, might have a shorter time span? I saw that Moderna is now saying maybe it's six months protection where people had previously thought it was maybe more like a year.

FAUCI: Well, the Moderna data that just came out, they only looked up to six months, so it might be beyond that. Pfizer is reporting, as we all know, that they're starting to see a diminution in the durability of the protection when they look month by month by month.

The bottom line of it all is that we are following very carefully the durability of protection. And when you follow it, you look and see what is the percentage of protection that you get as you go month for month? And if it turns out which, you know, it likely will at some time, Fareed, that we don't need boosters right now for otherwise healthy people who have been vaccinated, but it is entirely conceivable, if not likely, that we're going to at some time.

What we do is you follow it in real time, and when you get below a certain threshold, that triggers a recommendation to get a booster.

I might add, Fareed, it's a little bit different for people who are immunocompromised. People who have transplant, people who are on cancer chemotherapy, people who have immune mediated diseases that require immunosuppression. We know for sure that they never did get an adequate response, most of them. Not all of them, but most of them.

So we need to look at them in a different light than the durability for a normal person which means that we will almost certainly be boosting those people before we boost the general population that's been vaccinated. And we should be doing that reasonably soon, I believe.

ZAKARIA: What about people over 60? Israel has begun offering booster shots to people over 60? Why not start that right away?

FAUCI: Well, the reason is we're looking for clear evidence that it should be done. So the CDC follows a group of cohorts of individuals, cohorts of the elderly, cohorts in nursing homes, cohorts of younger people. They're following is very carefully, and as soon as they see that that level of durability of protection goes down, then you'll see the recommendation to vaccinate those individuals.

ZAKARIA: I want to get back to the original point we were talking about, because it does seem to me -- you're exactly right, it is very confusing and complicated for people. You're now asking people to know whether the area they are in is high risk or low risk. How are they supposed to do that? And, you know, do you understand that people feel as though they were once told to wear masks, then told not to, now they're being told if you're in New York it's OK not to wear it, but if you're in Florida, you must wear it.


Is that just the reality of the science?

FAUCI: It is the reality, Fareed, and you make a very good point. There's no getting away from it, to ask people -- I mean, the easiest thing to do is to go on the CDC Web site and they have a tracker where you could see red or orange, but some people might not have the access to that or might not really want to do it. But in general, when guidelines change, they change because the virus dynamics is changing.

And that's the thing that people need to understand, that the CDC recommendations will change because we were dealing with a much different virus.


ZAKARIA: We'll be back with more in a moment. I will ask Dr. Fauci about future variants. Is it possible they may evade the vaccine? His very troubling answer when we return.


[10:20:36] (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZAKARIA: Let me ask you what Scott Gottlieb has been saying, former FDA commissioner. He says look, the truth is, this Delta variant is going to pass, it's going to peak and go away, or decline substantially because you have large numbers of people vaccinated, you have large numbers of people infected, and the combination of those two will provide a kind of herd immunity. And I suppose if you look at Britain where the Delta variant has begun to decline, that would be the trajectory we could expect. Is he right?

FAUCI: No. Ultimately that is correct. I mean, that's the concept of herd immunity. When you get enough people vaccinated together with people who have been infected and assume to have, understandably, likely, have good protection against the same virus. You get to a certain level where the virus has no place to go. There are no vulnerable hosts around. Ultimately that will happen.

However, we want that to happen sooner than later, and you know the way you do that sooner than later? You get people, as many people, vaccinated as quickly as you possibly can. The idea of waiting back, and it's going to happen anyway, that it's going to have this concept of herd immunity, we want to go and get that to happen much sooner than later.

Fareed, there are 93 million people in this country who are eligible to be vaccinated who are not getting vaccinated. You want to get to herd immunity? Let's get those people vaccinated and we will be there much quicker than just letting things happen. That's not an option because when you do that, people get very sick, people get hospitalized and people die. And the people who get COVID, I would much rather get vaccinated and not get COVID than get COVID and then be protected.

Because with COVID, besides the risk of getting seriously ill, there is a thing called long COVID, which means you may get moderate to mild illness, recover virologically and then go for months with the persistence of symptoms. This is something to be taken seriously. And that's the reason why we emphasize we are fortunate enough as a nation to have a highly effective vaccine. More than we even are using.

So let's utilize that because there are people in the world who would do anything to get vaccinated. And yet we have the tool to do it. So we owe it to ourselves and we owe it to them to get that done.

ZAKARIA: Now the virus presumably keeps adapting. Could we imagine or are we likely to see another variant perhaps more transmissible or more difficult to deal with than Delta if Delta is conquered?

FAUCI: The answer is correct, that you are correct, Fareed. If, in fact, you allow the virus to continue to spread, you give it the opportunity to mutate. There is a very strong tenet in virology, and that is that viruses can't mutate if they don't replicate. If you give them the opportunity to spread, you are giving them ample room to mutate. Now, not every mutation is going to wind up being functionally important. But if you let it mutate enough, sooner or later you may get a

constellation of mutations that would lead to a variant that might evade the vaccine much more than the current Delta is evading. It might be as replication competent, but even more serious, which gets back again, Fareed, to the recurring theme.

You can prevent that from happening by getting people vaccinated and not allowing the virus the freedom to freely go around, infect people and mutate. We have the solution. We just need to implement it.

ZAKARIA: Let me ask you about an article you wrote, you co-authored, about a year ago in which you spoke about the fact that we were in an age of accelerating pandemics.


And I think we all understand the reasons why. Humans are getting closer to wild animals. You have these wet markets. You have things like factory farming in this country which seem to me a kind of invitation for the next pandemic.

Are we doing enough to think about this problem at that macro -- that systemic level that you talked about in that article?

FAUCI: We are certainly thinking about it and hopefully doing it. Right now, Fareed, as we are in the midst of this challenging outbreak, we are looking forward with a concept of pandemic preparedness from a public health, from a scientific and from an environmental standpoint. We have to learn the lessons of this extraordinary tragedy that we're going through now, the worst experience this planet has had in over 100 years.

We must learn the lessons and you do that by looking ahead and saying, what are the individual things that we've learned? What are the public health things we need to prepare for? What's the scientific preparation? What about the human animal interface that if we don't look at that seriously, you're going to continue to have the evolution of new microbes. 75 percent of the new pathogens that inflict man jump from an animal host to a human.

If you're going to perturb that interaction you can do it at your own risk because we've seen what's happened when you don't pay attention to it.

ZAKARIA: Dr. Anthony Fauci, a real pleasure and honor to have you on.

FAUCI: Thank you very much for having me, Fareed. Great pleasure. Thank you.


ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, American conservatives seem to have a not so innocent crush on the Central European nation of Hungary and its almost autocratic prime minister, Viktor Orban.

What is going on? I will be back with Anne-Marie Slaughter and Ian Bremmer.



ZAKARIA: Fox News' Tucker Carlson capped off a week of fawning coverage in Hungary with a speech yesterday in which he denigrated the United States repeatedly, criticizing everything from America's foreign policy establishment to its architecture. Meanwhile, he had nothing but praise for Hungary, claiming it was at least as free as America.

In fact, Hungary is an increasingly autocratic nation that Freedom House ranks as significantly less free than America. Reporters Without Borders calls Prime Minister Viktor Orban "an enemy of press freedom."

Why is the right so enamored with Hungary?

Joining me now are Ian Bremmer, president of the Eurasia Group, and Anne-Marie Slaughter, the CEO of New America.

Anne-Marie, let me start with you. Help us make sense of this -- this alliance, or marriage, as it were?

ANNE-MARIE SLAUGHTER, CEO, NEW AMERICA: Well, you know, on the one hand, if we're talking about Tucker Carlson, it's -- it's a great way of getting publicity for him and his show for a week. But at the deeper level, there really is a connection between the current Trump version of conservatism and what you -- you wrote about 20 years ago, Fareed, "illiberal democracy."

Orban has openly said that Hungary is an illiberal democracy. And his version of illiberalism -- and he's very close to Putin here, and to Salvini and to others -- has a really deep patriarchal strand. It's, sort of, a view that women should be in their traditional Biblical roles. They should be docile and obedient and fertile.

And the thing that I think we should pay attention to here is that this view of, kind of, a pro-family, traditional conservatism is now being mixed by Orban with racial purity. He has -- he has maintained his grip on power by demonizing immigrants, and he's said openly, "We don't want to be diverse; we don't want our color mixed with anybody else; we don't want our culture and our traditions."

And that's something that Tucker Carlson and many other conservatives, because many others have been admirers of Orban, or at least Trump conservatives, that's very close to their views of keeping immigrants out. And then the key is then making sure that white Christians are much more fertile.

ZAKARIA: Ian, this does strike me as a kind of fascinating evolution on the right. Because you'd think, from a traditional Republican point of view, you know, kind of, free markets and things like that, Hungary is not much of a model.

I mean, it's a -- it's a middle-income European country. It had -- the state intervenes in the economy all the time, in all kinds of ways. This is not really Denmark or Hong Kong in its old free -- you know, free market days.

The key seems to be this cultural conservatism that Anne-Marie was talking about, and particularly think about immigration. It focuses on issues of race and culture. Is that the new conservatism on the right, do you think?

IAN BREMMER, PRESIDENT, EURASIA GROUP: Yeah, it's anti-globalism. It's concern that free markets and open borders have left native cultures, as they're defined -- you know, and of course they're not really native in the case of the United States -- as -- as being very vulnerable and left behind.

And -- and that's what Tucker Carlson, who is the most watched character on cable news, I mean, almost 3 million nightly viewers -- it's not like he needs, you know, to go to Hungary to maintain that viewership.


But he sees alignment on key issues here with where the Trump Republican Party is going.

I mean, he went to the border, the -- Hungary's border with Serbia, and portrayed it as what Trumps was trying to do with the border of Mexico, and now Biden is failing -- limits of immigration; protecting families and the middle class; defending "real Europe," as opposed to Angela Merkel letting everyone in; and defense of a native population and culture.

And all of this positions Orban and Trump and people like J.D. Vance, who -- you know, Anne-Marie Slaughter talking about, you know, in favor of the traditional family. And you've got J.D. Vance in Ohio running for Senate talking about childless women are the problem and are destroying the United States.

This is the -- the broader culture war that the Trump party -- and Trump controls the Republican Party today -- is really aligning toward. And that's what this trip to Hungary was all about. I think it resonates with the Republican base right now in a very significant way.

ZAKARIA: Anne-Marie, I just want to pick up on that one point again, just quickly, which is the very strongly traditional view of -- of women that is implicit and often explicit. Can it work in -- I mean, we're in 2021. It feels such a throwback.

SLAUGHTER: It does. And, look, you know, you can be deeply pro-family without believing that it has to require women raising children and having children and doing nothing else. I tend to think there is a -- there's a pro-family strand here that recognizes that men and women should be free to make whatever choices they want to make.

And I think this is a hard sell, but it -- it does have real resonance on the religious right. And again, he's mixing it with a racial purity idea that is quite scary.

ZAKARIA: Anne-Marie, Ian, stay with me. We will be back in a moment. I want to talk about Afghanistan -- the Taliban is seizing control of major cities now -- when we come back.



ZAKARIA: The Taliban have seized control of Kunduz, with a population of about 400,000. It is the first large city that the Taliban have taken as America and coalition troops finalize their withdrawal.

We are back with Ian Bremmer and Anne-Marie Slaughter.

Ian, tell us what you make of this. Is this the beginning of the end, or do you think this is the beginning of a chance for the Afghan government to show whether it can hold its own? It is claiming that it is going to be able to take back Kunduz from -- from the Taliban.

BREMMER: Sadly, I think they're done. The State Department put out a statement a couple of hours ago, saying that, if the Taliban wants legitimacy, they have to stop the attacks. That's about what the American response, some air strikes, too.

But we're leaving, of course, as you know. So the Taliban, I mean, I expect are going to take over. The Biden administration knows that, which is one of the reasons why they decided to end the war, because they thought it was a question of when, not if. But it's happening faster than White House advisors to Biden had expected.

This is an embarrassment for the United States, there's no question. But it's not a national security priority. That's why Trump wanted out. That's why Biden wants out, too. And there are going to be a lot of people on the ground that are going to be under massive humanitarian duress, and this is going to become a much bigger problem for Pakistan, for India, and most importantly for China. If there's a handoff, that's, kind of, the handoff that's going to be happening.

ZAKARIA: Anne-Marie, do you think this -- does this mean Joe Biden should have kept those troops in Afghanistan?

BREMMER: Fareed, I don't think so. I mean, I think there will be many post-mortems about how we could have done this better; we could have maybe made a better transition, gotten a slightly better deal, kept a few troops there.

But, fundamentally, the Taliban have been steadily making gains for the past decade while American troops have been there. So the writing has been on the wall.

It is, as Ian says, happening faster now, and it's going to be very painful. We're going to remember scenes the way some of us remember 1975 and leaving South Vietnam.

But the real focus now ought to be on regional diplomacy, ought to be on working with India, Pakistan, China, the countries around, to try to put pressure on the government that's going to emerge.

This -- this has been a slow-motion disaster for a long time and now it's speeding up. And it's painful to watch, but I still think Biden was right.

ZAKARIA: Ian, picking up on Anne-Marie's point, it does seem that part of the problem in Afghanistan has always been outside interference. It's very difficult, close to impossible, to win against an insurgency like the Taliban that has a safe haven in Pakistan, aided, encouraged, financed by the Pakistani military.

Similarly, it's difficult to imagine a settlement without getting the Chinese involved, without getting the Iranians involved. They were instrumental in helping the first time when we toppled the Taliban.

Yet the Biden administration does not seem to have good negotiating relations with either Iran or Afghanistan. Should it be reversing that and trying to figure out a way to talk to both those parties so that we help stabilize Afghanistan?

BREMMER: I mean, yes, but it's late. The time to have reversed that would have been when we hadn't yet made the announcement that all troops were leaving by 9/11.

And again, it's pretty clear that the politics support that in the United States, both under Trump and under Biden.


The Chinese don't want us to leave. I mean, as much as American humiliation in this war may serve the purposes of some hardline hawks in China in the short term, the fact is they're the ones that are going to have to start funding the Taliban and supporting that government. They're the ones that are going to take the backlash as that falls apart.

And you'll start to see anti-Chinese attacks occurring on the ground. And Pakistan gets destabilized, which is an ally of China, critical in the Belt and Road.

I mean, if China wants the U.S. in that much, we should have been talking with the Chinese. "Well, if we stayed to some degree, what would you give us? How much money will you put in? Could there be Chinese peacekeepers?"

But the complete absence of trust between the United States and China, and, you know, by proxy, Pakistan, that exists right now means that that conversation was inconceivable. Even as a third-order priority for the United States, the Biden administration just doesn't think there's much blowback with losing Afghanistan to the Taliban.

I hate to say it, but they're probably right, both domestically as well as in the region. This is largely other people's problems. And these days, we're more than happy to let them have it.

ZAKARIA: Anne-Marie, I've got 30 seconds, so I'm sad -- sorry to give it to you with such a time constraint, but, you know, people talk about the human rights abuses that could follow, particularly the fate of women. Do you have a final quick thought on that?

SLAUGHTER: This is going to be awful to watch. I mean, the -- the Taliban treatment of women in the 1990s was excruciating in terms of really keeping women prisoners in their own houses.

I think it will be some better this time around, but I also think that we are -- we, the United States, are going to have to accept that a lot of the progress that we made with a lot of women is going to be rolled back. And ultimately, again, it's diplomatic pressure, not alone, through the region, to push the Taliban toward at least a semi- reasonable stance, like many other nations. But it's going to be very, very hard to watch.

ZAKARIA: Anne-Marie Slaughter, Ian Bremmer, good to have both of you on.

Next on "GPS," if we can pull off the awesome logistical feat of the Olympics, why can't we vaccinate the world? When we come back.



ZAKARIA: And now for the last look. This morning, after 19 days of competition and 339 medal events, the Olympic flame was at last extinguished to mark the end of Tokyo's closing ceremonies.

There are plenty of critiques to make about these games, but it's also undeniable that, this year more than ever, the Olympic Games stood as a testament to perseverance.

I'm not talking about the perseverance of individual athletes, impressive though it was, but rather the collective perseverance that made these games possible.

The Tokyo Olympics was a mammoth operational feat. It involved getting some 11,000 athletes from more than 200 countries into Japan's capital, which for weeks has been under a state of emergency due to a surge in COVID-19.

The Sri Lankan National Olympic Committee told Bloomberg that, because of entry restrictions on the most direct route, through Singapore, their badminton, judo and archery players had to make flight plans to Tokyo via Doha, Qatar.

But at least they could travel commercial, not so for the Olympic rugby players, swimmers and sailors of the Island Federation of Fiji, where commercial flights are scarce.

Undeterred, the players hitched a ride on a cargo plane, one that usually carries frozen seafood on it, Bloomberg reported.

Then there are the supplies. The AP reported that 3,500 tons of sand were shipped to Tokyo from Vietnam for the beach volleyball competition.

Team Brazil reportedly sent 20 tons of equipment on 20 different containers, beginning the process three years ago.

Canada's Olympic sailors managed to get one boat onto Team USA's shipping container, a win for logistics and international partnership.

And it's not only athletes and their gear that had to make it to Tokyo. There were the animals, namely about 300 horses competing in jumping, eventing and dressage.

According to Reuters, the first flight from Europe departed from Belgium last month carrying 36 horses and 13 tons of feed. All 36 horses had a seven-day quarantine before the flight, of course.

Then there was the perseverance of the Olympic organizers themselves. Amid a shortage of medical workers, they had to make the massive 18,000-bed Olympic Village as safe as possible.

For the most part, fans were banned from the events. The few spectators who were able to attend the games were forbidden from singing or cheering.

According to the AP, 30,000 people were tested at the games every day. The tests were processed at the fever clinic where infected athletes and workers isolated.

As of Friday, there were 358 positive coronavirus cases reported at the Olympic Games.


It's not an insignificant number, but from what we know right now, it does not appear to be the super-spreader event many feared.

All in all, the Tokyo Olympics was a triumph of logistics and of global cooperation during the biggest health crisis of the century. Getting it done was an amazing feat of ingenuity.

And I hope we can take inspiration from it and use it for an entirely different aim, vaccinating the world. This week the UNDP estimates that more than 50 percent of people in rich countries are vaccinated, compared to about 1 percent of people in poor countries. Rich countries are planning for booster shots, while many poor countries only recently got their first shipments of vaccines.

This is not only immoral; it is inefficient. Because the virus will only stop mutating and the pandemic will only truly end when the world is vaccinated.

So let's take the lesson of the Tokyo Olympic Games and apply it to the most pressing need of the moment. As the Olympics shows us, we can certainly do it.

Thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week, and I will see you next week.