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  • (upbeat music)

  • - You have a book that is coming out that speaks

  • to a situation that we all find ourselves in right now

  • and that is we are isolated from people

  • that we know and love, many people are forced

  • to stay at home either by themselves

  • or not with the community they're used to.

  • You write in your book about how society is struggling

  • with a new disease and that is essentially loneliness.

  • What are some of the things people can do

  • to try and maintain their mental health

  • as well as their physical health?

  • - I'm so glad you asked, Trevor, because it's important

  • not just because loneliness makes us feel poorly,

  • but also because we now understand that chronic loneliness

  • is actually bad for our health.

  • It increases our risk for heart disease.

  • It's associated with a shorter life span.

  • But there are things that we can do

  • to ensure that we strengthen social connection.

  • And as hard as this time is,

  • I think that we can potentially come out of it

  • even stronger if we do a few things.

  • So number one, I think it's important that we spend

  • at least 15 minutes a day if not more engaged

  • with the people that we love,

  • whether that means video conferencing with them,

  • writing to them, calling them on the phone

  • so we can hear their voice.

  • The second is it's really important

  • that we make that time count.

  • And that means improving the quality of our time with others

  • by decreasing the distractions that we experience

  • during our interactions.

  • So instead of talking to somebody on the phone

  • while you're also scrolling through your social media feed

  • and refreshing your inbox and watching the news on TV,

  • just try talking to them with your full attention.

  • One of the greatest gifts that we can give people

  • is the gift of our full attention.

  • And finally, it's important also to recognize

  • that one of the back doors out of loneliness, if you will,

  • one of the great but hidden solutions to loneliness

  • is service.

  • It's by helping others that we actually take the focus off

  • of ourselves and place it on someone else.

  • It's how we rebuild a connection to someone

  • or establish a new one.

  • And it's also how we remind ourselves

  • that we have value to give to the world.

  • Because one of the great prices that we pay

  • when we're lonely is over time,

  • we start to buy into the idea that maybe we're lonely

  • because we're not likable.

  • Maybe in some way, it's our fault.

  • Maybe this is evidence of some personality flaw.

  • And none of that is true.

  • But when we serve other people, we're reminded

  • of how good it feels to connect

  • and that we have something of great value

  • to bring to them and to others around them.

  • (upbeat music)

  • - You delivered a TED Talk

  • where you predicted pretty much what is happening now.

  • Now, thanks to the world we live in, that has sprouted

  • a bunch of conspiracy theories, everything from Bill Gates

  • invented this virus to prove himself right

  • or he knew it was gonna happen and that's why he said it.

  • Was that TED Talk about this virus

  • or was that a hypothetical that has now come true?

  • - Well, I didn't know specifically that it'd be coronavirus

  • and that it would hit in late 2019, but the goal of the talk

  • was to encourage governments to make the investments

  • so we could respond very quickly

  • and keep the case numbers very, very low.

  • And so sadly, this is not a case where I feel like,

  • hey, I told you so.

  • Because we didn't use that time when it was clear

  • is the biggest threat to kill millions of people,

  • to have the diagnostic standing by,

  • to be ready to ramp up a vaccine factory.

  • A few things were done.

  • Some countries, our Foundation funded some work

  • that will help with the vaccines now,

  • will help with the diagnostics,

  • but most of what was called for particularly

  • in a New England Journal of Medicine article I did that went

  • into way more specifics than I could in a short TED Talk,

  • those things didn't get done

  • and so that's why it's taking us a long time

  • to get our act together faced with this threat.

  • - Here's a question I have as an individual.

  • How is it that you as a non government knew this information

  • and knew that it needed to be acted on and governments

  • and organizations that are specifically tasked

  • with protecting people from this very thing

  • either didn't have the information or ignored it?

  • What do you think happened there because I know you interact

  • with governments, you talk to organizations like the CDC,

  • like the WHO, what went wrong?

  • - Well, there are lots of individuals

  • who were as worried as I was, people like Dr. Fauci,

  • who'd been through various epidemics.

  • And so when we had Ebola, Zika, SARS, MERS,

  • we were lucky that they didn't transmit very easily.

  • They weren't these respiratory viruses where somebody

  • who's not very symptomatic and is still walking around

  • can spread the disease in some cases

  • to literally dozens of people.

  • So the respiratory transmission

  • particularly because world travel is so intense,

  • that's where I show the simulation in that speech

  • and say this keeps me up at night more than even war,

  • which is no small thing.

  • And yet, in terms of being systematic about,

  • okay, let's run a simulation and see how would we reach out

  • to the private sector for tests or ventilators

  • and what kind of quarantine would we do

  • and as we enter into this, we haven't practiced at all.

  • And so you can see it's every state is being forced

  • to figure things out on their own.

  • And it's very ad hoc.

  • It's not like when a war comes and we've done 20 simulations

  • of various types of threats and we've made sure

  • that the training communications logistics all those pieces

  • fall into place very rapidly.

  • - You were one of the first people to come out

  • and donate a large chunk of money to fighting coronavirus

  • or helping medical workers get the equipment they need.

  • I remember the last I read it was yourself and your wife,

  • Melinda, who had pledged over $100 million.

  • It seems though that money isn't able to fix this problem.

  • It seems like governments around the world

  • are trying everything they can,

  • but it doesn't seem like it can be fixed.

  • What are you hoping to achieve in this moment in time?

  • - Well, if we get the right testing capacity, you can change

  • by literally millions the number who are infected.

  • And governments will eventually come up

  • with lots of money for these things,

  • but they don't know where to direct it,

  • they can't move as quickly.

  • And so because our Foundation

  • has such deep expertise in infectious diseases,

  • we've thought about the epidemic, we did fund some things

  • to be more prepared, like a vaccine effort.

  • Our early money can accelerate things.

  • So for example, there's of all the vaccine constructs,

  • the seven most promising of those, even though we'll end up

  • picking at most two of them, we're gonna fund factories

  • for all seven.

  • And just so that we don't waste time in serially saying,

  • okay, which vaccine works and then building the factory.

  • Because to get to the best case that people like myself

  • and Dr. Fauci are seeing is about 18 months,

  • we need to do safety and efficacy and build manufacturing.

  • And they're different for the different constructs.

  • And so we'll abandon, it'll be a few billion dollars

  • we'll waste on manufacturing for the constructs

  • that don't get picked because something else is better.

  • But a few billion in this situation we're in

  • where there's trillions of dollars, that's 1,000 times more,

  • trillions of dollars being lost economically, it is worth it

  • in normal government procurement processes and understanding

  • which are the right seven, in a few months,

  • those may kick in.

  • But our Foundation, we can get that bootstrapped

  • and get it going and save months because every month counts.

  • Things can reopen if we do the right things in the summer,

  • but it won't be completely normal.

  • You'll still be very worried.

  • We may decide masks are important, although right now

  • they're in short supply for health workers

  • so people should not go and hoard those,

  • but the capacity of that can be brought up

  • so it may be something that like China today

  • everybody's walking around is wearing one of those.

  • So we'll have a lot of unusual measures

  • until we get the world vaccinated,

  • 7 billion people, that's a tall order.

  • But it is where we need to get to despite a lot of things

  • in between now and then to minimize the damage.

  • - You predicted this pandemic almost to a tee

  • and maybe it was because we were dealing with other things

  • at the time, we didn't really pay that much attention.

  • Is there anything else you wanna warn us about now

  • that we should be looking forward to,

  • is there anything else that keeps you up at night?

  • - Well, this is a naturally caused epidemic

  • and as bad as it is,

  • it looks if you have reasonable treatment

  • to have a 1% fatality.

  • There could be epidemics that are worse than that,

  • including ones that aren't naturally caused,

  • that are a form of bioterrorism.

  • But one thing I feel good about is this is such a big change

  • to the world that this time it won't be like Ebola,

  • which was just there in West Africa or Central Africa.

  • This time, the tens of billions

  • to have the diagnostics standing by,

  • the vaccine manufacturing standing by,

  • this time we will get ready for the next epidemic.

  • - Well, I hope your words are prophetic once again.

  • Thank you so much for your time.

  • Good luck in all of your work and stay healthy out there.

  • We need you.

  • (upbeat music)

  • Right now across America,

  • it seems like there's a huge divide

  • and there's a disconnect in understanding whether or not

  • the federal government should be stepping up

  • or whether or not states should be going at it alone.

  • We know that your state has been asking for supplies.

  • It sounds like your state is not getting the supplies

  • that it needs, but then there are states like Florida

  • where they've gotten 100% of what they've asked for

  • and they are nowhere near close to being in the situation

  • that your state is in.

  • Does it feel like there are politics at play with regards

  • to what relationship a state has with the president?

  • - Well, all I can say is this, you know,

  • the fact of the matter is it's on all of us

  • to remember that the enemy is the virus.

  • It's not one another.

  • It's not the federal government versus the states.

  • My experience is similar to that of a lot

  • of other governors, Republican and Democratic, frankly,

  • that we're not getting as much as we hoped to

  • from the federal government.

  • And so we've got to supplement that by contracting

  • with anyone we can buy masks from or test kits from.

  • And we're ending up bidding against one another

  • and it's really a destructive way about going

  • to fix this problem.

  • A national strategy with a national buying power

  • that actually ensured everyone had equitable access

  • to what we need when we need it would be the wisest thing

  • to do, but we're in this situation

  • and like governors across this country,

  • I'm gonna do everything I can.

  • So whether it is working with businesses inside Michigan,

  • like the Big Three who are stepping up

  • to start producing components to ventilators,

  • we're gonna see the arsenal of innovation

  • is gonna be right here within our borders,

  • but we've got a lot of work to do.

  • The unfortunate thing