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To read more about Episode 187, visit the main episode page.
Michael Moore [00:00:55] Earlier this week, the New York Times published a report with a headline that read “Reaching herd immunity is unlikely in the United States, experts now believe.” That was the headline. And I just stared at it like what? If we can’t reach herd immunity, we can’t get rid of the virus? So I read the story and the story said that due to new COVID variants that are now circulating, because millions of our fellow Americans are still hesitant to get vaccinated, we may not reach the herd immunity threshold of 80 percent. In other words, 80 percent of us being fully vaccinated means we can contain the coronavirus. Now, here’s The New York Times saying that no, it’s not going to happen. Meaning what? That the virus is going to be with us forever and then the very next day, President Biden, gave an address.
Michael Moore [00:03:02] He wanted to talk about the pandemic and he wanted to tell us essentially what the Times had said. And looking at him, he didn’t look the same as he’s looked, and he said, Look, we’re just going to have to lower the expectations a bit. And I’m going, No. But, let’s try and get as many people, at least one shot before the Fourth of July. It was really, I don’t know, personally, I was really crushed by it. Because I really thought it was possible we could convince enough people to get to this 80 percent of herd immunity, meaning to get both your shots. You’ve got to get the second shot. And now is Biden giving up? So I decided today to call up one of our favorite people here on the podcast, she’s been with us before. She’s one of our great public health experts. And I’ve been so thrilled with how she’s truly kept us informed during this pandemic. Her name is Laurie Garrett, and maybe she can help explain just what is going on and what we must all do to spread the word about getting vaccinated and defeating this virus once and for all. Laurie is a Pulitzer Prize winning science writer and one of our great pandemic truth tellers. Everyone, please give a warm welcome to Laurie Garrett. Laurie, welcome back to Rumble.
Laurie Garrett [00:04:47] Hi, Michael. That’s quite the set up. I guess I would, first of all, take issue with the way you framed the question because Joe Biden’s statement all along was, I’m going to get you back outside in the summer. And his most recent and very specific statement was, you know, I have more than exceeded the promises I made when I said 100 million vaccinated in 100 days. We got over 200 million and we’re now well over 200 million have had at least one dose. And I, says Joe Biden, want to see that get doubled so that we can open up for the Fourth of July. That’s how he has framed it now. What does this mean and how is it relevant to herd immunity? These are two different things. What we’re looking at right now is a president trying to weigh very divided interests in our nation and very disparate views by governors to come up with a set of strategic targets that he believes are attainable.
Laurie Garrett [00:06:01] And almost every time they hold a press conference in the White House, they reveal yet another government agency that’s engaged in or a new strategic plan or tactic of some sort, for example, they just revealed a whole set of text messaging options that people can use to find out where is the closest free vaccine to wherever they’re standing at the moment. So they’re trying to do everything they can to make it as easy as possible for everybody to get vaccinated. Now a separate question: will we attain herd immunity? And what does it take to attain herd immunity? I think that’s a moving target. I think I’ve always said and I’ve written and published that the search for herd immunity in the current context is a false promise. That we would never get there. Why won’t we get there? Because, first of all, the virus is evolving, so it’s constantly changing. It’s not changing as fast as, say, HIV changes. But it certainly is changing as rapidly as influenza does and perhaps even more rapidly.
Laurie Garrett [00:07:15] And some of the new variants are very tricky. They do manage to lower the efficacy of the vaccines, and it varies according to which vaccine you’re looking at, which variant you’re looking at. Some of the lowering of efficacy still leaves you very well protected, and in some cases, it’s a challenge. The drug companies are already working on third doses that would specifically target the variants and make you better capable of withstanding whatever new form of the virus evolution is thrown our way. So, you know, that’s part of the issue. The other part is that as long as a large percentage of the global population has no access to vaccines, none of us are safe. There’s no such thing as isolated herd immunity. So, I mean, just get rid of this whole canard that, you know, Sweden could be herd immunity whilst Denmark, Switzerland, right, all their neighbors and all the rest of Europe was not. As long as you have mobility and you have people going from one country to another, and by the way, we’re opening all that back up again now, then you will have exchange of virus and then you will have movement of variant and alternative forms of virus.
Laurie Garrett [00:08:40] So Americans may feel like, Oh my goodness, I’ve got half the population in my town fully vaccinated, I can do whatever I want. But just keep in mind that if you also want the people of your town to be able to travel and go and use their passports to go overseas, you will see constantly different forms of the virus reintroduced into your community and this will go on for years. So, you know, it would be swell, if we could get 80-90 percent of Americans to get vaccinated. That would certainly increase the protection for everyone and lower the risk that we will engender our own forms of mutant viruses, as we have done in both California and New York. Now, a separate issue, is why can’t we get 80 percent of the American people to get vaccinated? Much less 90-95. Or we’d really like to get as close to 100 percent as possible to be like Israel. Why can’t we do that? Well, that’s a whole separate issue that’s entirely about politics, and a sort of auxiliary piece of it is fear.
Laurie Garrett [00:09:57] People’s fears are being whipped up by different forces in different ways, whether it’s, you know, Tucker Carlson saying, Fear for the safety of your child, don’t vaccinate. Or it’s, you know, somebody else saying, Fear that you’ll get autism from a vaccine. Whatever it may be. Fear is easily manipulated, and all vaccines conjure fear in a subset of the population. We always struggle with this problem, and that struggle has gone on since the earliest vaccinations, which in this country, the very first ones were executed by order of George Washington to vaccinate the American rebel army against smallpox.
Michael Moore [00:10:44] So do you think I’m asking the wrong question about how we get to 80 percent to get to herd immunity that it’s just impossible to do that? Or are you saying it’s obviously possible, but we are humans and we’re living with other humans, and it just isn’t going to happen, whether it’s because of politics or fear or whatever and because I know, like in the small town in Michigan where I live, people are talking about how how many people now are doubly dosed and are fully vaccinated and we’re pushing towards 60 percent and we’re going to get to 70 percent fully vaccinated, as if our herd immunity in our little town is the thing that’s going to do it for us…and your point, if I got it right, is that we drop the adjective “global” pandemic because it is a global pandemic. You cannot sit and watch the horror of what’s going on in India and then try to self satisfy with a sentence in your head that says, Thank God, we’re not in India. Because the point is we’re on planet Earth, which means we are India.
Laurie Garrett [00:12:07] Well, you’re right, Michael. I mean, in part, you understood what I was saying. But I would go a little further. I think, you know, way back when this all first started, back last January and February, I was saying to everyone that I was giving this epidemic a thirty six month period of hell, followed by the likelihood that we would have this virus in the human population as a permanent feature, just as HIV now is. And I think I was right. I mean, we’ve got a vaccine much more quickly than I anticipated. But getting that vaccine into arms all over the world, much less in your village, if you will, in Michigan, this is a huge task that we haven’t even begun to address.
Laurie Garrett [00:13:01] I just finished writing an op-ed for Foreign Policy regarding the president’s decision to back off on patent protection for the vaccines that are made here in the United States, so that other countries could do technology transfer and make those vaccines. And my point is that gee it’s swell to say now they’re allowed to make the vaccines. But good luck finding polymerases. Good luck finding the appropriate acetates, phosphates, and other chemicals necessary because we’re running out of everything. And even the vaccine makers that are rich, powerful and based in America are facing constant stock outs on supplies. So we have a race going on and everybody wants access, and it’s neat and tidy to blame things like patents for why we don’t have a more widely available vaccine. But I mean, just this week, the CEO of the world’s largest vaccine maker, which is not an American company, not a European company, it’s a company based in India called the Serum Institute.
Laurie Garrett [00:14:16] And they not only make most of the world’s vaccines, they make most of the vaccines Americans use, everybody in the world uses, the CEO relocated with his family to London after receiving death threats and threats from the government because of his failure to void out his contractual commitments to other companies to make their vaccines and simply turn his entire factory into a manufacturing site solely for Indians. Now, when you start getting to a point where the CEO of a powerful corporation in a country has to flee for his life because of an attempt to nationalize the vaccine supply at the risk of populations all over the rest of the world, you begin to realize what the stakes are. We’re not in, you know, a simple battle to, you know, make enough aspirin. This is a high stakes game, the likes of which we’ve never seen before, and it is affecting the World Trade Organization, WHO, every single G7, G20, you name it. And as we go into the G7 summit in about six weeks, you’re going to see a lot of screaming and yelling about this.
Michael Moore [00:15:37] So you’re presenting another issue here that I hadn’t even thought about, which is that even if we wanted to say, make sure we have all the vaccines available for everybody. All seven and a half billion people on the planet, that in fact we don’t. The pharmaceutical companies at least don’t have the necessary ingredients and then what does that mean in terms of the booster shots they keep talking about or the other shots we’re going to need for the various variants?
Laurie Garrett [00:16:10] Well, let’s just take a really simple thing. So if you’re in the process of making a vaccine and you have a little test tube on ice in bucket A. And a little test tube on ice in bucket B. And you need to get what’s in a test tube A in a given dosed amount into test tube B, you use a thing called a pipette. Well, it turns out the whole world is running out of pipette tips, and all they are is these little tiny, pointy pieces of plastic that you stick the end of your instrument, your pipette into those little tips make whatever you move from one place to another safe and non contaminated because the tips are sterile. Well, we have a global shortage of those, and we could go through the list of every single step involved in making vaccines. And you will see supply stock outs galore.
Laurie Garrett [00:17:12] I mean, one particular thing that shocked me was a fire in just one small factory. I believe it was in the Philippines, though don’t hold me to that. It might have been another country, but one fire in one factory meant that a certain kind of gasket needed on everybody’s machinery for making vaccines suddenly ceased to exist, and there was no alternative manufacturer in the world. You know, the fact that JJ’s vaccine supply plummeted by 36 percent in one day because of the emergent solutions company scandal, where they had contamination and they put the wrong things in the wrong tubes in their Maryland factory. I mean, that shows you how vulnerable this all is. So when you start imagining, you know that somebody in Chad or Ghana or Ethiopia or Paraguay or Ecuador is going to suddenly open up a vaccine factory and start making a generic version of the Moderna vaccine. All I can say is: I wish you good luck.
Michael Moore [00:18:26] Wow. I was so happy when I heard that President Biden had lifted the, you know, copyright trademark restrictions and then what you’re telling me is, well, legally, you can sign a piece of paper, but in fact, this is much more complicated. Much more complex. And we’re dealing with a planet with seven and a half billion on this planet. More than three billion of them are in poverty and do not have the means by which to create a 21st century high tech vaccine. So what is the solution for this problem, both in the short-term and the long-term?
Laurie Garrett [00:19:08] I think that what we need is a whole lot more global coordination and a rational approach to all of this. I mean, I’ll just give you an example. I’m thrilled, actually, that President Biden decided to waive the patents and not just so much for the vaccines themselves, but hopefully that will apply all the way down the food chain or the supply chain. So let me give you an example, we know that the Moderna vaccine is less heat vulnerable than the Pfizer vaccine. So the Pfizer vaccine has to be in deep, deep, deep freeze right up until you thaw a finite amount to put into syringes and administer to people. And by the way, we’re running out of syringes too. Well, that’s great. It turns out the difference between them is the way you make these mRNA vaccines is you make the mRNA first and then you put the mRNA through this really quite mysterious process that involves very specialized machinery, which, believe me, is not available in Ghana or Paraguay.
Laurie Garrett [00:20:20] Right? But this very specialized machinery that makes these tiny little microscopic fat droplets called liposomes and those liposomes protect it. So now when it goes into a liquid that is eventually going to be in a syringe, that’s eventually going to be in your bloodstream, these very fragile little pieces of mRNA of genetic material are protected inside these little fat balls. Well, it turns out Moderna’s fat balls are more stable, at least to heat the Pfizer fat balls. So, you know, a long time ago, I was saying, Well, why don’t we just void that particular patent issue? And, you know, compel Moderna, which is largely a creation of the United States government, overwhelmingly funded by the United States government, with all of its vaccine tech having originated at the NIH, why don’t we just tell Moderna that they have to give over their liposome formulation and production technique to Pfizer? So that the temperature requirements for the Pfizer vaccine become less of a deal breaker in terms of transport and use.
Laurie Garrett [00:21:39] Well, you can imagine a lot of things in the chain like that where you can make a big difference. You could make more vaccines available to more people more easily by taking care of some of these problems right now. CVS and Walgreens have been given, you know, the lion’s share of these private sector contracts to go out and vaccinate people, and they’re dumping thousands of doses every day because of the temperature issue and the lack of sufficient people in the queue that day to use up all the supply. That’s crazy. That’s nuts. Meanwhile, right across the border in Mexico, they can’t get everybody vaccinated, right? What the heck is going on here? So if we want to really make a difference in this, we need a far more rational system of looking at the entire supply chain and delivery chain. Not just, you know, do you have freezers? And do you have electricity for those freezers? And can you be sure that your electrical supply doesn’t have power outages? You’re not in the middle of Mali. You’re someplace where there’s a steady electricity supply.
Laurie Garrett [00:22:52] Can you solve those problems? Well, you know, it’s much bigger than that. And so we need, you know, almost like an uber producer mastermind in charge and we don’t have such a thing. And it runs contrary to the whole way that our capitalist system is constructed, not just in America, but worldwide.
Michael Moore [00:23:12] So if the profit motive was taken out and if the people running this had the the ethics and the moral ethos of Jonas Salk, who said that his vaccine for polio would be free and available to anybody, and he would share this knowledge with anybody on Earth and was considered crazy almost at the time that he didn’t want to make millions of dollars off it for himself personally. So we don’t have that now, we have a different system.
Laurie Garrett [00:23:50] Well, Michael, let me interrupt you one second here. You know, the Russians are not doing it for Sputnik, and the Chinese are not doing it for Sinovac. So it’s not just capitalists that are refusing to, you know, do a technology transfer. You’ve got to put nationalism in the equation as well, right?
Michael Moore [00:24:10] And I personally consider both those countries capitalists. They just call themselves communists or something else. But they both have a form of what I call state-capitalism, where they operate by the same crazy thing about not what’s best for the people, but what’s best for whoever owns the company, whoever is making the money. And now, you know, I have to ask you, and maybe you either have a solution for this or you don’t, but you just laid out some significant issues. And also, at the same time, raising for anybody who’s listening to this, thinking in their head, OK, wow, I’m glad I know that. Now what can we do about it? What can we, we the people, and the people listening to this, they will call their member of Congress…they will post something online.
Michael Moore [00:25:12] But what can people do? What can I do to effect a change that clearly needs to happen? We’ve already left my original question about herd immunity. Now we’re onto this and this seems even more sad, more frightening that we can’t get it together. And what you’re saying is it seems like we need a global czar, a really smart and caring person who has the ability to make decisions not based on profit, but based on need and maybe a magic wand in her or his hand.
Laurie Garrett [00:25:51] Well, let’s step back a second and make it a problem that the average listener can handle. So one of the best ways, we as Americans can help the rest of the world, is if we can just get over our mess as fast as possible and no longer put pressure on all the supply systems so that the rest of the world has access. Well, the best way we can do that is to tell every single friend, neighbor, coworker, everybody you know, get vaccinated. Yes, don’t delay, and to not just tell them, but show them that you feel better about walking freely in the world, about being a citizen of the planet and about being just someone who enjoys going outside because you have been vaccinated. I think that what’s been missing, you know, in the equation is just the average person convincing the other average person.
Laurie Garrett [00:26:52] We need to make it as crazy as it was to buy toilet paper in February of 2020. You know, why the heck did everyone buy toilet paper? What was the big deal? But eventually everybody felt the pressure from everybody else, and they all went running for toilet paper for no other reason than gee all the other crazy people have gone for toilet paper, I won’t be able to get it. Well, you know, we had that pressure in the beginning of the drive to vaccinate. And folks like you and I, Michael ran out as fast as possible to get our vaccines. We got frustrated because we weren’t at the front of the line, because we couldn’t figure out how to get the vaccine because of the initial screw ups that went on all over the country in the rollout. Now that’s the opposite problem. Now we’re dealing with folks who were in a wait and see mode. They want to see if folks like you and I drop dead or something, grow horns or suddenly break out and have weird rashes. Or have seizures on the floor or whatever. Right?
Laurie Garrett [00:28:04] And then once they’re satisfied that it isn’t happening on a large scale, there’s a sort of, well, but what if it’s the government imposing rule upon me and the government made this stuff so fast? Maybe that’s got impurities in it? Gosh, I’m just so nervous and so scared, and I don’t think people who are in that box will get out of that box because Joe Biden tells them it’s OK. They’ll get out of that box because their next door neighbor tells them it’s OK, because the teacher that they trust, who takes care of their five year old, tells them it’s OK. Right? And their pastor tells them it’s OK and their rabbi and their imam, and what have you. And, you know, that is now the challenge, that each of us has to understand that the reason to get vaccinated, part of it is to protect yourself, but the real reason is that you’re part of a population. And only if a substantial percentage of the population is protected is the whole population protected, and that means you have a duty as a citizen to stop measles by vaccinating your child and you have a duty as a citizen to stop influenza by getting your vaccine and you have a duty as a citizen to get your COVID vaccine.
Michael Moore [00:29:40] And when they hear that from people, they love, trust, work with, play with, live next door to…can I just underscore this point you made because I think everybody listening to this needs to understand that you are LeBron James to the people in your life. They trust you. And yes, it’s great that LeBron and everybody is being very public about getting your shot and all that. But I think you’re right. I think when the pastor says it and your coworker says it, if your brother or sister are saying to you, you mean, you haven’t gotten vaccinated yet? Come on. No, it’s OK. Nothing’s going to happen here. Look at me. I’m walking around. It’s OK. You know, yes, Trump was trying to push this really fast so he could get reelected. Well, maybe that ended up being a good thing for us. He didn’t get reelected and we got the vaccine quickly. So, you know, I think this is just such an important point you’re making that each of us has that personal responsibility. Each of us have 5, 10, 50 people in our lives that we…I mean I’ve started doing this. I’ve just started, you know, just like in the elevator, I’ll just try to make some nice talk with a stranger and then work it in before the doors open. Hey, you’re vaccinated, right?
Michael Moore [00:31:09] Or have you got vaccinated yet? No, you should do it. Oh, no, no, no. There’s no lines anymore. It’s like literally walking into the Javits Center, just walk in, you know, and nobody gets mad at me. And I try to approach it, not in a shaming way, but you know, in a kind of, come on, dude, let’s do this.
Laurie Garrett [00:31:28] Well, you know, what’s interesting about this is that a lot of opportunities are starting to emerge, particularly here in New York, because the governor has decided that we can reopen in two weeks. And the mayor reluctantly is going along with it, though he would prefer a slightly longer timetable. They just announced yesterday that Broadway theaters will be fully reopened in September.
Michael Moore [00:32:02] The Brooklyn Nets, the New York Yankees, the Queens Mets. All these can now pack the stadiums, packed the audiences. The Metropolitan Opera is going to come back, etc. Well, all of them are likely to request that you show a vaccination card. I’m attending an event tomorrow that requires that I show that I’ve been fully vaccinated and provide proof of that before I can enter the event.
Michael Moore [00:32:33] Good.
Laurie Garrett [00:32:34] And it’s an art event that is annual and that I very much look forward to every single year.
Michael Moore [00:32:40] And you don’t mind taking your vaccination card?
Laurie Garrett [00:32:42] Of course not. And what I suspect we’ll see is that some percentage of the still unvaccinated will start to realize that they can go see their favorite sports team or their favorite performance concert, whatever it is, if they’re fully vaccinated. It’s not so much that their employer may require it. Some employers may. But that they will feel out of it, like they’re missing a part of life, by not having the freedom that full vaccination provides.
Michael Moore [00:33:18] Is this true? I also heard the HIPAA laws, there’s something in the law that says that during a national crisis, like a pandemic, that HIPAA doesn’t count. In other words, that I as an employer or I as a theater manager, I have a right to ask you whether or not you’ve been vaccinated and you…
Laurie Garrett [00:33:45] That’s already established, Michael, because school districts can request that regarding child vaccination and have been able to for a long time. If you ask Donna Shalala, who actually wrote the HIPAA Act when she was the Secretary of Health and Human Services under Bill Clinton, if you ask her, she will tell you that HIPA has no application whatsoever to crisis and emergency situations, such as we’re in now right.
Michael Moore [00:34:12] Right. So it’s not a violation of privacy. So, going back then to the original thought I had coming into this and why I really wanted to talk to you, because I got depressed when and I love President Biden…I love everything he’s been doing, I like his whole way he’s doing it, and I just felt bad for him that he felt like he had to throw the towel in on this 80 percent herd immunity. And what you’re saying is that it’s probably impractical to think that we’ll ever get to anything like that, but we shouldn’t stop trying, right?
Michael Moore [00:34:51] I mean, we should try. And trying means we have to take care of our brothers and sisters around this planet and do whatever we can to help them. Don’t be throwing doses away at Walgreens. We’ve got to have a better system where people in Mexico can get the vaccine. Or are you saying to me, I need to take a chill pill here on this herd immunity thing and just recognize I live in a particular country where a certain percentage of the population believes it’s a hoax, will never change their mind, and therefore, we’re just going to have to live with this like we do the common cold or the flu. And we gave it our best shot. And it helped somewhat because we do see hospitalizations down. Deaths are down. That’s got to be because there are maybe close to 100 million fully vaccinated people.
Laurie Garrett [00:35:49] Well, it’s about thirty seven percent, I believe, of eligible adults.
Michael Moore [00:35:54] OK, so we’re close to 40 percent of eligible adults. But then in this little town, I’m talking to you about, where I live in Michigan, they set up pop-up things at the high schools to give the kids the shot. And all of a sudden, some right to lifers were like, No, this contains fetal tissue, blah blah. There has to be a permission slip from the parent for a 16 or 17 year old to get the shot. And I like scream bloody murder and said, No, no, a 16 or 17 year old has a right to decide, I want to live. You will give me the shot. And they’re like, No, they’re still children. And they have to have a permission slip from their parents. And I’m saying, Yeah, but I live in this community and I want every 16 and 17 year old, I want every kid, when it’s time to be vaccinated. Should I not try to convince the school board to let 16 and 17 year olds who decided they want the shot, they get the shot and the parents don’t have any say in it?
Laurie Garrett [00:37:00] Well, I think that you’re on the right track here, although, you know, if people are raising false information about the use of fetal tissue to make these vaccines, that needs to be confronted in and of itself.
Michael Moore [00:37:17] Yeah, that’s its own problem, right?
Laurie Garrett [00:37:19] That’s its own problem.
Michael Moore [00:37:23] Will you take 30 seconds to explain to people, because they’ve heard it from relatives, everybody has heard this fetal tissue thing and they need to be able to present them with the facts.
Laurie Garrett [00:37:34] Well, we don’t have to use fetal cells, stem cells, anything of that kind to make the mRNA that goes into the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine or to make the bits of DNA that go into the adenovirus that is the carrier for the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. It’s completely unnecessary. In fact, it’s not done. There’s just no connection whatsoever. The genetic material is, in most cases, made either in bacteria or we’ve seen similar genetic material, actually. Cuba is working on a vaccine and they’re making their genetic material in tobacco plants. There’s just no need to resort to fetal tissue and it’s not done. So it’s just completely false. And Tony Fauci has said this over and over until he’s purple in the face trying to make people understand. Sadly, the Catholic Church took a stance falsely claiming, or at least certain parts of the Catholic Church, that the Moderna vaccine was made in fetal cells and this is simply not true.
Michael Moore [00:38:54] Thank you for saying that. Now what about 16 and 17 year olds?
Laurie Garrett [00:39:00] Well, so here’s where we are now. The tests are going forward at lightning speed to show that we can use these vaccines in children younger, all the way down to age 12 and likely to go all the way to infants eventually. And right now, we know that they’ve been tested in 18 year olds and the vaccine tests that are underway so far, using these products in the sort of next notch down the 17 to 15 year olds is going very well and unfolding quickly. And one set of preliminary data shows that the younger you are, the better the response to the vaccine is. So that’s pretty darn good. You can’t get better than that. And I think as as we get communities seeing that having a certain level of immunization in the community lowers the risk for everybody then school districts are going to recognize that a lot of the issues they have with their teachers unions, with the janitorial staff, with all the folks that are part of making a school a reality will evaporate as the kids themselves are vaccinated and the teachers are vaccinated and the risk to everybody drops down to zero.
Michael Moore [00:40:44] So, how far off are we from getting elementary school students and the rest of high school and middle school? How far away are we from that?
Laurie Garrett [00:40:57] Well, all the tests are underway now and the speed and how close they are to going to the FDA for emergency approval varies by product, depending on how recently they unfolded these tests.
Michael Moore [00:41:09] So you’re optimistic in terms of the trials going well. We’re going to see younger and younger children being vaccinated, and…
Laurie Garrett [00:41:19] It can’t come a moment too soon because the other thing we’re seeing is younger and younger adults ending up hospitalized. Yeah, because they haven’t been vaccinated. And so one of the sort of obvious things that’s going on right now is the critical mass of infected people over 60 has all but vanished in most communities. The communities where we still have a substantial number of over 60 year olds carrying the virus are, you know, in the states that have been the least likely to lock down and the least likely to make vaccines widely available. But in most parts of the country, we no longer see seniors as spreaders of disease. So it’s going down in age group, but that means that people spread to their peers. So you know, the typical 35 year old doesn’t hang out with 80 year olds. The typical 35 year old is out partying and drinking beer and having a good time with other 35 plus or minus year olds.
Laurie Garrett [00:42:29] So what we’re seeing is that the epidemiology is shifting downwards as the older generations get vaccinated. And so you just have a critical mass of a virus circulating in younger and younger groups and a greater percentage of them are turning up in hospitals. And one of the things that’s been noted with some of the variant strains is that they do seem to be associated with more illness in youthful populations and even in children. So the UK says the B117 variant that they see is sending more young adults to hospitals. And in many states in the United States right now, the age of the hospitalized population has plummeted.
Michael Moore [00:43:17] And is that because the virus needing to find a host is finding fewer and fewer hosts in their 60s and 70s and 80s? So it’s looking for someone who’s not protected, somebody who’s not vaccinated?
Laurie Garrett [00:43:31] And it probably also means that the super spreader events that were occurring among older adults have ceased because they are vaccinated. So, you know, the kind of thing that was a nursing home explosion, those events are no longer the super spreader events. Thus, superspreader events are all too often associated with drinking. So it’s bars, big parties, it’s let’s all go to the beach, drink a pile of beer together. Because alcohol is disinhibiting. And so you might have arrived at the event wearing your mask and thinking carefully about COVID. But two or three beers later, the mask has disappeared and COVID is the last thing on your mind.
Michael Moore [00:44:18] So, if we do these things and if we encourage the people we know in our lives to get vaccinated, I assume we should still indoors wear masks, especially if you’re not vaccinated yet, but I guess if we’re vaccinated, do we need to wear a mask indoors? Is it generally just for safety? Like why not? I see President Biden even got asked this, Why are you still wearing a mask? You’re vaccinated? And he said, Because I’ve always believed in an abundance of caution. I love that term. So I thought, well, maybe even though I’m vaccinated, when I’m on a crowded sidewalk or whatever, I’m going to wear that mask. Is that crazy? Should we still be doing that?
Laurie Garrett [00:45:06] My personal choice, and this is nothing more than that, but my personal choice is if I am outdoors in a setting where there is no one within 6 to 10 feet of me and I’m out getting exercise, walking around in an open park area, something like that, I can remove my mask because I’m fully vaccinated. I am unlikely to be transmitting in an outdoor setting. Transmission is low outdoors to begin with. But if I am going on the subway. If I am walking down a crowded street, if I’m going inside of a public building, you bet I have my mask on. Why do I have my mask on? Well, there’s two reasons. First of all, I feel a duty to be sure that I am not a carrier who can bring the virus to others.
Laurie Garrett [00:46:01] So, you know, we do see some studies preliminary, but they exist that show that the virus can colonize in the nose of someone who may be partially vaccinated. So you don’t know what level of immunity you personally have. You just know what the statistical range of levels of immunity is for your particular vaccine, but you don’t know how that applies to you personally. It’s possible that I could carry the virus in my nose, that it would have no effect on my health, but that just by exhaling I could pass it to others. So I feel a responsibility, even though that may be a very, very, very remote possibility. I feel a responsibility to wear a mask to protect people from that possibility. The other is just from the point of view of myself and my protection, there are variants circulating out there, and I really would hate to find out that I’m one of those, you know, people who has been fully vaccinated, but my immune system can’t tackle a particular variant strain that I happen to come in contact with on the subway. So I wear a mask.
Michael Moore [00:47:21] Hmm. Yeah, so an abundance of caution is not a bad thing.
Laurie Garrett [00:47:28] No. And what the heck is the problem with wearing a mask?
Michael Moore [00:47:31] We’re all kind of used to it by now.
Laurie Garrett [00:47:33] Yeah. If we’re not used to it by now, I give up.
Michael Moore [00:47:36] Right, so if we did these things, if we get our friends and neighbors and church goers and everybody vaccinated, if we still are taking precautions to occasionally, sometimes, especially around other people, wear a mask. If we do these things, why can’t we get to 80, 85, 90 percent? Set aside the politics, let’s say Donald Trump buys a half hour of TV and says to MAGA nation, Look, I got vaccinated, you know this could just be a crock, but I’m vaccinated. You should be too. And all of a sudden, boom, there’s a big increase. And now we’re at 80, 85 percent, and the last 15 percent are people who are just at least, I’ll say, just out of respect for them, legitimately afraid, even when they don’t need to be. But I understand I have compassion for them and their fears.
Michael Moore [00:48:41] Nonetheless, we’re at 80 or 85 percent. Why can’t we get there? If we did these things, you suggested if we did that…If Mexico isn’t safe, if South America isn’t safe, if India isn’t safe, we have to take care of everybody, we have to be a part of that process. But if we did, am I asking for too many ifs here? I just kind of want to believe there’s something in human beings that says, I want to live. And eventually, you know, that’s why the number of smokers is way down. That’s why a whole lot of things are down. That’s why McDonald’s keeps adding new salads. Because they’ve seen that just a slight more percentage of people going to McDonald’s want to live and they want to eat a salad. And so they provide the salads. Now, I mean, you won’t hurt my feelings if you say, I’m just dreaming here and that’s never going to happen. So, Mike, Focus your attention on some other problem, like universal day care or, you know, whatever. Just this isn’t going to happen.
Laurie Garrett [00:50:05] The COVID situation is going to be a permanent part of the human landscape for generations to come. We won’t eradicate this virus. It won’t disappear from the planet, in large part because, not only is it infectious to human beings, but it’s infectious to a really long list of animal species. So unlike smallpox, for example, which we have eradicated. Smallpox only infected humans. There is no other animal on Earth that gets smallpox as a result. We vaccinated all humans, the virus had no host and it disappeared. And we could do the same for a handful of other viruses, because they are so restricted in their host range. But, coronaviruses are sloppy, they fit into very ubiquitous channels, and in this case, we have a virus that attacks what’s called the ACE2 receptor, which is a cardiovascular moderating receptor on cells in all mammals.
Laurie Garrett [00:51:19] So you can look at a ferret. You can look at a mouse. You can look at a gorilla. They all are potentially susceptible because they have ACE2 receptors. So that is how the virus, that’s the lock and key mechanism the virus uses to get inside of cells and make copies of itself inside of your body. That means that we have to take a very adult approach. We have to wake up and stop looking for, you know, this miracle of complete herd immunity that Wall Street is so addicted to and recognize that it’s going to be more complicated than that. If we don’t know how long, for example, even the excellent immunity that I have from two doses of the Moderna vaccine will last, it may be that I’m protected for life, such as is the case with good yellow fever vaccines. Or it may be that I have to go back and get another round of injections in two years or four years or whatever it may be, because the virus will still be out there. But my immunity may wane. We don’t know the answer yet. We won’t know until we start seeing the immunity decaying in people.
Laurie Garrett [00:52:31] So far, the first people that were involved in the original vaccine trials are still showing strong immune responses. So that takes us out to last June and July, meaning we’re almost at a one year point and there’s still a durable immune response. That’s good news. But we need to be adults about this and understand that we’re going to live in a world with a new threat in it. And that threat is now permanent. It will be out there for our children and our grandchildren, possibly even our great grandchildren. And so we have to be smart about how we live on the planet and how we interact with each other to minimize the possibility that we will acquire a lethal infection. Now, if everybody makes getting routine vaccinations part of their life, just as they do for tetanus and diphtheria, the actual risk to any given individual will be extremely low, extremely low. We have to get first to the point where we have sufficient numbers of Americans immunized that we can turn our machinery of vaccine production and education and, you know, syringe production and all the things that are involved in making vaccination doable.
Laurie Garrett [00:53:58] We have to be able to turn that to other countries, needier countries. Let’s start with our immediate neighbor, Mexico, and get Mexico fully vaccinated or as close to it as is possible, given the political and social constraints. And if we can start to get to a point where a sufficient percentage of the global population is protected, then we’ll be in a world like, oh, I suppose, not quite as great as the polio world. But let’s look at it from that point of view for the sake of argument. I think the last time I was on with you, I mentioned the great fight between Salk and Sabin regarding polio vaccines. Because Salk famously invented the first polio vaccine but it had to be injected. And as it turns out, an injected polio vaccine protects the individual from ever getting the disease, but does not does not sterilize virus out of their body. And so it turned out a lot of kids who got the first round of polio shots were still carriers of the virus and passed it in their feces and two other kids.
Laurie Garrett [00:55:12] And so the famous swimming pool problem, right? Well, then Sabin came along and said, That’s because the virus is in your gut. And what we need to do is use an oral vaccine that will sterilize virus out of the gut and the GI tract. And if we do that, then we will actually be able to eliminate virus from an entire community. And by doing that, we effectively eliminated polio from almost every single place on planet Earth, except two really tough last stans, Pakistan and Afghanistan. And I don’t know, given the fatwas issued by the Taliban and so on, if it will ever be possible to get rid of the last remnants of polio in human beings in those two countries. So, as a result, we all live with polio still out there. It’s not going to kill you, and it’s not going to cripple you at any time, probably at all, unless, of course, we all slack off on vaccinations and in 10 years, it turns out that, you know, nobody in America is vaccinated against it of a certain generation anymore.
Laurie Garrett [00:56:34] And then all it takes is one case being introduced and it could take off again. So we live with that threat and we’re OK with it and we manage it reasonably well. I think it’s conceivable that in a few years we could have attained something not quite at the level, not to the point where it’s only in two countries. But where a very small percentage of the global population are carriers, and the rest of us are amply protected and we’re able to coexist with the virus.
Michael Moore [00:57:06] So don’t give up, don’t give up on getting vaccinated and getting others in other countries vaccinated.
Laurie Garrett [00:57:12] On the contrary, go full speed ahead, full speed ahead.
Michael Moore [00:57:17] Then really what I’m just dealing with personally listening to you is a certain, I don’t know if it’s sadness or it’s just a funk that I’ve got to live with for the rest of my life. I’m going to deal with this for the rest of my life. And then I was trying to, as you were just finishing there saying what you said, whatever that mechanism is in our brains, that prevents us from going into deep despair, this thought came in my head, Well, you know, Mike, you know, you’re supposed to go to the dentist at least twice, maybe even three times a year to have your teeth cleaned. And you just realize, you know, when you’re younger, you don’t worry about that, but you should. And then you realize, Oh, this is a good idea to have these teeth cleaned on a regular basis and that just becomes part of life. I don’t bemoan it. I don’t say, why do I have to go do this? Is that what you’re sort of saying? That this will become part of what we call normal life. It lives with us. It’s a living thing. It’s a creature on this Earth. And so that we’re not horribly affected by it, there are certain things we’re probably going to have to do for possibly the rest of our lives, am I putting that the right way? Or am I just trying to help myself out of my own funk?
Laurie Garrett [00:58:45] Well, I think it’s a little of both. We’re all in a funk, and we’ll probably stay in a funk until we feel like we’re able to enjoy our life without limitations. But, you know, the truth is we’ve been living with limitations since the day we were born, unless you grew up a real brat in a pretty crazy household. You know, you can’t just pick up a fork and stab it in the arm of the person sitting next to you. You are limited. You know you’re supposed to put on a seatbelt. You’re supposed to wear a helmet. And yes, you should see your dentist twice a year and you need to get a colonoscopy as soon as you turn 40. And you need to get reading glasses sometime in your 40s and on, and these are all just…watch your cholesterol and this and that. And I don’t think it’s a coincidence that men are less likely than women to do almost all those things.
Laurie Garrett [00:59:46] You know, it’s always been the bane of every public health practitioner that men are less compliant with self-interested public health efforts than women are. Women are more inclined to, you know, get their pap smear every year and their mammography every couple of years and on and on and on. And men are more likely to say, Eh, let it slide. We’re seeing that…
Michael Moore [01:00:12] You’re saying that we’re kind of obvious about that sort of thing.
Laurie Garrett [01:00:16] There’s not even debate.
Michael Moore [01:00:23] It’s such a given that the data proves the average woman in this country lives three to four years longer than the average man, and doctors will say part of that is that you can’t get the guy to come get a physical, get checked up. He feels that something’s wrong and he puts it off. And then, boom, it’s stage four and it’s too late.
Laurie Garrett [01:00:44] And so, no surprise adult men are far more likely to refuse vaccination right now than adult women.
Michael Moore [01:00:53] So I have this idea in my small town, like saying to bar owners and people, I’m going to start handing out free movie tickets to anybody who comes in and shows their vaccination card, and I said one of the bar owners, Why don’t you offer free drinks? I mean, literally, if you show your vaccination card on Monday through Thursday, whatever, it’s free drinks. I mean, I don’t know what we need to like, especially for men, to reach out in ways. I love how the Yankees and the Mets are now, go to the game, get a shot at the game, you get free tickets for a future Yankee game. This is such a great idea. And I mean, do you think it’s wrong that you have to bribe, especially guys, to do these sorts of things? I’m all for bribery right now because I want to get everybody vaccinated.
Laurie Garrett [01:01:52] Well, you know, whatever it takes. Short of, you know, the sorts of things that were done to stop smallpox in the world. I mean, you know, one of the bad chapters, but the truth of smallpox eradication is that in several countries, people were vaccinated at gunpoint. And that was done because those governments had very low credibility with their societies. But, you know, it is interesting that men have to be quote unquote bribed to use your term to protect their own lives. That blows my mind. Not a lot of women have to be quote unquote bribed to protect themselves, if for no other reason than the big motivator for a lot of women to look after themselves is cancer checkups and so on. It’s like, I need to be here for my children. And it’s surprising to me, and it’s not in any way unique to the United States or to American culture, it’s surprising to me that this kind of drive is not the same for men.
Laurie Garrett [01:06:23] I’ve always felt like one of the most important forms of camaraderie, probably programmed in our DNA is sports. And the way that people come together around a team or an individual and the prowess and the wonder of superior athletic performance, you know, watching LeBron James make it all the way down the court in like four leaps and then shoot a three pointer from halfway down the court. That’s something we all get excited about. And we all enjoy that. And I used to have courtside Knicks tickets. And I remember the feeling, the pity I felt for television viewers that they would just never know how extraordinary an experience it is, preferred a truly glorious professional basketball game because they never really get a chance to sit courtside and watch the wonder and feel the cheering and feel the floor shake and and the music resonating and the whole darn experience.
Laurie Garrett [01:07:35] Well, guys, if you want that again, you need to get vaccinated. If you want to go back and cheer for your favorite [team,] the Green Bay Packers or, you know, the New York Yankees or the Boston Red Sox, whatever it is that you thrills you, you know that it’s more exciting when you’re in a group and it’s more exciting when you’re there, courtside or the equivalent thereof. And, you know, if you’re going to do that, if you want to feel that experience again, you have to get vaccinated.
Michael Moore [01:08:11] And I’m OK offering the free movie tickets, right?
Laurie Garrett [01:08:14] You’re absolutely OK.
Michael Moore [01:08:15] That’s a good idea. Yeah, it’s not much. It’s something I could do. I don’t know what else to do, but I want everybody as we bring this part of the episode here to a close. I just want everybody doing what they can with their family members, friends, neighbors, coworkers, students in class. Let’s all just get on board this train. What you said earlier: after I got that second shot and I knew I had to wait three weeks before it was a hundred percent effective, I marked that calendar and marked that date on the calendar, and man, when that day came, I felt like it was Christmas Day. I felt like it was like my birthday. I felt so good.
Laurie Garrett [01:09:01] You know, Michael, four years, a group of us that are wine lovers and like really, really extraordinary wines have come together about every six weeks in rotation of whose household. And we pick a theme of some type of vintage or a wine growing region or whatever. And we pair food with it and we enjoy each other’s company and great wine and great food. And for months, the poor substitute was we were all on Zoom drinking by ourselves on camera and sampling one wine instead of ten, right? And, you know, nibbling at one little hunk of cheese. When we finally, the entire wine group, got vaccinated and was outside that three week window where we could meet together and we actually sat down together and we were able to sit in one place, break bread, drink wine, enjoy each other’s company, it was an ecstatic experience. I can’t even begin to tell you how much joy it brought, not just to me individually, but to everybody involved. We all left after an extremely lengthy and well imbibed evening. And, you know, as the midnight hour hit and everybody’s cheeks were rosy and we could for the first time, express the joy together face to face. I mean, it was like seventh heaven. It was like we had our first meal after weeks of starvation.
Michael Moore [01:10:42] Yes, I had a similar experience. And I wish everybody who was listening to this. If you’ve put off getting a shot, getting the two shots or worse, you went, got your first shot. But now you haven’t gone, you’ve missed your date on your second shot, it will feel like something that I can’t describe over this microphone. But you will write to me and you’ll say, Damn, Mike, you and Laurie, the way you describe that, it sounded so like pie in the sky, but it was exactly how I felt. You will feel this way. And for everybody who wants to quote, get back to normal to sit around and break bread and share some wine, we’ve missed it for so long. You’ve missed it for so long and you should have that back.
Michael Moore [01:11:36] Now, will Broadway open in September? I’m sorry, I can’t, whatever some of the stuff, Laurie, they’re promising people, I don’t want to get people’s expectations so high. They think we’re going to pack ourselves like sardines in a few months in a Broadway theater. I don’t know. Is it wrong to hold that out on things like that?
Laurie Garrett [01:12:03] You know, I’m an avid Brooklyn Academy of Music fan, aficionado and donor. And I go to everything I possibly can fit in my schedule. Of course, there’s been nothing to fit in my schedule for months, and BAM’s first actual in-person event was at an ice skating rink in a Brooklyn park, and it was a group of really avant garde ice dancers who came down from Quebec. Leave it to the Canadians to have really hip, super artistic, avant garde ice dancing and we sat far from another to observe the event. But it was just so joyous to actually have a live performance again with a fellow audience. At one point, an individual did a triple axel, an Olympic level triple axel and to be in a group, I’m getting goosebumps just remembering this right now. To be in a group where I could audibly hear everybody else go, Ahhhhh, at the same time as I did.
Michael Moore [01:13:24] In the middle of Brooklyn. Entertained by Canadians. Thank god for the Canadians. You know, I think we are better off as a people that they are next door. And if they were to somehow break off and float over to become a part of Scandinavia or something, we would be worse off for it. I just wanted to throw that in there to the Canadian listeners. Thank you.
Laurie Garrett [01:13:44] You’re going to start forcing me to sing Blame Canada. Right, right.
Michael Moore [01:13:52] Oh, man. Laurie Garrett. Wow. Well, we have not achieved herd immunity during this episode as I had intended, but you’ve really cleared up a lot of things and you’ve made the medicine go down a bit easier, understanding that these are the facts we have to face. We’re adults, we’re not stupid and we can do the best we can and we can make it better and we shouldn’t slow down, it’s not about 70. And I think the woman who runs the CDC, Walensky, I saw her say this morning: We’re not saying slow down. She said, just what you said, full speed ahead. 70 percent. We’re just trying to say, Hey, if we can get to July 4th, everybody’s got one shot by then or 70 percent we’ll take it and we’ll move on, move forward.
Michael Moore [01:14:44] In other words, not move on and forget about getting past that. No, we want to get far past that. But I think, like you said, and I think the most important thing you’ve said here in this episode is that it really is on us: this isn’t on our Senator or our Congressman or Congresswoman. This is on each of us to get the people in our lives vaccinated. And for us to continue to show some respect for ourselves and others by, you know, keeping the mask on for some time longer. Just, you know, it’s not killing us. If we do these few things, maybe we’ll be in better shape. But I don’t want to lose what you’ve said about how complex it is and how things could go off the tracks very easily with the production of these vaccines for possibly new vaccines or boosters or whatever we’re going to need in the future. That we have to be on high alert, all hands on deck. And we have to care about our fellow human beings and animals that are part of this earth. So that’s a big job. That’s a big job. But you don’t sound depressed or pessimistic.
Laurie Garrett [01:16:06] Let me give you one last point.
Michael Moore [01:16:08] Yes.
Laurie Garrett [01:16:11] You and I are old enough that when we were children, people smoked cigarettes in the movie theater and we would try to watch the movie through the smoke.
Michael Moore [01:16:20] Through the smoke. Right.
Laurie Garrett [01:16:21] You and I are old enough that people could light up a cigarette in the elevator. And if you said something like, could you please not smoke? They could say all sorts of invectives against you, and threaten you. And you had no right to make such a request. Today we live in a world where that has flipped entirely. Where the individual who smokes and exposes other people to that smoke is disdained by society at large and is likely to face the possibility of some penalty or fine in their community for doing so. And where it’s generally understood that cigarettes are a risk and a danger not only to the smoking individual but to the community around that individual. And one of the things that made that huge switch in our perspective about, do we have a libertarian right to smoke versus the risk that I’m imposing on others around me, one of the things that contributed to that was education about tobacco risk in elementary schools and all those kids who went home and said, Daddy, I wish you would stop smoking. Mommy, I don’t want you to die of cancer. Please stop smoking.
Laurie Garrett [01:17:53] And recognition by the parent in those equations. Well, I might not quit just because my kids said that, but I probably shouldn’t smoke at the kid and force the kid to be exposed to my fumes, my toxicity. You can go down a long list of things, public health interventions, where our entire perspective has changed dramatically. To the point where if you see somebody not wearing their seatbelt in a vehicle, there’s, you know, a sense of alarm. You can’t even get in another vehicle and not put your seatbelt on without the driver saying something to you. So I think it is possible, we’re in a terrible moment that’s been fueled by populism, nationalism, tremendous divisiveness and social media insanity, where a lot of classic do’s and don’ts are cast aside amid ideological squabbling and so on. But I remain ultimately optimistic that just as we could conquer the tobacco lobby and we are conquering the petrochemical lobby vis a vis climate change and we can conquer other very powerful interests that get fueled by libertarians and so on.
Laurie Garrett [01:19:22] I do think eventually with this virus, sanity will prevail and the vast majority of the sort of social agenda will be: this is the appropriate way to live on planet Earth vis a vis COVID-19. Will we get there by the Fourth of July? I don’t think so. Except in, you know, Democrat bubble communities. But I do think that as kids go back to school and they learn more about the virus at school and they bring home messages, just as they say to mommy and daddy, Please don’t smoke. Maybe they’ll be saying, Mommy, would you please get vaccinated?
Michael Moore [01:20:05] Hmm, I hope so. That is how it happened with smoking and other things where the children taught their parents and it helped move us forward. And thank you for pointing that out. I think that’s so important. And thank you for giving me this extra time here on Rumble today. It’s greatly appreciated. I appreciate the other times, too, this past year or so that you’ve been with us to help guide us. I’ve been talking to Laurie Garrett, Pulitzer Prize winning science writer and global public health expert. Her books in the past year include “The Coming Plague,” “Betrayal of Trust: The Collapse of Global Public Health” and “Ebola: Story of an Outbreak” from 2014. Thank you for being ahead of the curve on this. Thank you for your continued work on it, and we hope to talk to you again.
Laurie Garrett [01:21:00] Thank you.
Michael Moore [01:21:02] Hey, everybody. Before we leave, I want to speak to anybody who’s listening, who hasn’t been vaccinated or to those of you who have a relative, a friend, neighbor, coworker who hasn’t been vaccinated and hasn’t been vaccinated because they just don’t like the idea. They don’t feel good about it. Doesn’t sit right in their brain. They’re afraid. You know, they’ve read stuff online that seems to tell them that this is not a good idea. Now, I’m not talking to the Trump loyalists. I doubt that they’re even listening, people who are not getting their shot because they believe Donald Trump, who by the way got two shots, but I’m not going to try to unpack that, because, you know, if you’re not getting a shot because the guy who got his shots told you not to get a shot, it’s some kind of democratic hoax. I can’t do anything about that.
Michael Moore [01:22:09] It’s OK. I can let it go. But for those of you not getting a shot because maybe you have an autistic child or your sister does or, you know, any of a number of reasons where you’re saying to yourself, Why take the risk? I’m a healthy person. I have a great immune system. One person said to me, You know what, I’ve never gotten the flu. I’ve never gotten a flu shot and I’ve never gotten the flu and my kids, growing up and to this day as adults never had the flu. And I think that’s a good point. You know, there’s a virus, they’ve got a great immune system in that family. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t. I mean, I don’t know. But I understand why, then they think, Why would I risk a shot that’s so new for a virus that we’ve never seen on Earth before? And so they don’t get vaccinated, you don’t get vaccinated. I know some people aren’t getting a shot for religious reasons.
Michael Moore [01:23:20] They’ve been told by certain preachers, certain parts of the Catholic Church, as Laurie pointed out, and then just pass it around that somehow they used cells or tissue or whatever from aborted fetuses in this vaccine. Man, the wacky stuff from these last years that we’ve had to listen to and how the internet has spread it around like it’s true. That’s so scary and so dangerous, and it’s hurt us so badly as a country. So I know some of you have read that stuff and believe it. And I guess what I want to say to you as we close is that I mean this very sincerely, we don’t know each other personally, but I know you’re listening to me. And so, you know, I just want to tell you that I care about you. I want to tell you that I love you. I love you for the human being that you are, for the American you are, if you’re listening to this in another country and you haven’t gotten vaccinated and I love you for all your Frenchness and your Italianness, wherever you are. Uruguay, are you listening?
Michael Moore [01:24:52] Wherever you are, you know, like we said here, we’re not going to ever get rid of this unless we treat this globally. But I’m just not talking globally right now. I’m talking to you. You. You listening to me right now who haven’t gotten your vaccine. Or there’s someone in your family who hasn’t done it. And you just feel sick about it. We’ve lost enough people. That report this past week from the University of Washington that it’s not 500 or 600,000 who’ve died in the U.S., it’s almost a million. The real number is almost a million. Do we want to see another million die for what? What are you dying for? Why do you want to take the stand? Well, because you’re saying to yourself, Because I don’t want to die from the vaccine. You’re not going to die from the vaccine.
Michael Moore [01:26:09] So there’s no reason to do this, and I don’t want you to die. So when I say I love you and I care about you, I really do mean that. We’re not better off with you dead. We’re better off with you alive. And Laurie’s right. Each of us has this responsibility to reach out to everybody we know and ask them if they’ve been vaccinated and if not to encourage them, don’t mock them. Don’t deride them. Hold your hand out to them and say, What can I do? I so want you to do this. I want you to set an example for the kids. I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t almost insist that you come with me. You don’t need an appointment anymore. You can walk into any of these drug stores, any of these centers, even your own doctor. The last person I talked to this week just went to their doctor, got the shot. I don’t know what else to do. I mean, I am going to think of some things I can do in the small town in Michigan, where I am to help encourage people to get vaccinated. I will.
Michael Moore [01:27:23] I am going to do something. I’m going to offer something as my show of gratitude that they went and got vaccinated. But I really couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t keep insisting to everybody to do what they can to convince others to get vaccinated. Or if you haven’t been vaccinated, to do it yourself. And if you are a Trump supporter and that’s why you’re doing it, come on, man. I don’t want you to die. I’m not sitting here, like, Oh, okay, let all the Trump supporters die off from this. No. First of all, no, you can’t die on me. I want to beat you fair and square in 2022 and 2024. If you leave me now, you don’t give me the chance to do that. Or look at it the other way, if you leave now, you can’t kick my ass anymore. You know how bad you want to kick my ass? You know how bad you want to put the House back in the hands of the Republicans and make sure the Democrats never get the Senate? That’s your job next year. It’s your job.
Michael Moore [01:28:34] Why would you risk getting so sick that you won’t be able to vote or that you’ll be dead? Why would you risk that? When you can bring back Trump in 2024. You not getting a shot tells me that you’re not so sure he is ever going to come back and that you can’t help him come back. So if you do die, no biggie. Come on, man. Stay alive. We’re Americans. You know, the fight used to be a good thing. I believe this. You believe that. Let’s take it to the people and see what they say. I know we live in a different time now. But for all the rest of you who are not getting the shot because you’re afraid, man, if I could just virtually reach out right now through your earbuds or your computer. If I could just reach out right now and hold your hand, and say, Come with me. Let’s go. Let’s just walk in. Let’s go to CVS. Let’s just walk in there and do this right now. I’ll sit there with you. I’ll tell jokes.
Michael Moore [01:30:11] If you could just imagine me being there with you. After you do it, call up, you know, there’s a little link here on the podcast page on the platform page where you’re listening to me. There’s a link where you can send me a voicemail. It’s a one minute voicemail. I listen to every voicemail and send me a voicemail. Send me while they’re giving you the shot, or if it’s afterwards, tell me how it went. Tell me how it felt to have me sitting there with you. Well, we did this. I wish I could be there in person. Because I know if you get that shot, you’ve just done something to help save this country, to help save the people of this country. And I would be so grateful and so much in debt to you, that in this dark time, you did something that was full of light and you were willing to take a risk.
Michael Moore [01:31:15] Yes, I understand. It is a risk. But it’s such a small, insignificant risk. But to you, I know it’s a big risk. And if I were to know that you did this knowing that you thought it was a big risk and you did it anyway and you did it for your children, you did it for your spouse, you did it for your friends, your neighbors, your coworkers. You did it for them. And it ended up being something that you did for yourself. Man, I’d be so grateful to you for the rest of your life and mine. We pulled this off. Nobody else had to die. Because you took that risk. You went against even what you felt was your better judgment. And you took my word for it and you took the doctor’s word and the scientist’s word. You took our new president’s word. You’ve seen him now. This guy, Biden, Uncle Joe. He’s not doing anything trying to get reelected at all. If anything, all the things he seems to be doing could be leading to somebody who may not be reelected.
Michael Moore [01:32:34] He doesn’t care about that. He just wants you to live. He wants me to live. He has this kind of corny belief in us as Americans can pull this off. Well, let’s not believe that it’s so corny. Let’s believe that it is who we are and that is what we can do. And I want you to come back and join us as a fellow American. We are large, diverse, noisy, cranky people. And it’s amazing we’ve lasted this long. Democracies historically don’t last this long. So far, we’ve pulled it off. Barely. And we haven’t pulled it off for any period of time when you think about how many women, Black Americans and others couldn’t vote, couldn’t participate.
Michael Moore [01:33:36] Native Americans. Muslims. Just go down the list. The backstory here isn’t too good. But here we are. And if we ever do want to actualize the so-called dream, then we’ll have to be alive to make it happen. I just wanted to close by saying that. And I wanted to encourage you, to make that New York Times headline not be true. And to put the sparkle back in President Biden’s eye. He’s living now as if there’s herd immunity and this isn’t going to happen. And we’re not going to really get enough people vaccinated. Let’s prove them wrong. Whoever told him this, let’s prove them wrong. Let’s all get our shots. Come on. I’m with you. This is Michael Moore. This is Rumble.