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tv   Washington Journal Brian Castrucci  CSPAN  February 24, 2021 3:37am-4:13am EST

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journal" continues. host: brian castrucci is the president and see me -- ceo of the de beaumont foundation. here to talk about the role of public health and the covid-19 pandemic. what is your foundation? guest: good morning and thank
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you for having me. it is a private philanthropy dedicated to helping communities achieve optimal health. we were founded by pete de beaumont who founded brookstone. brookstone was about practical tools, and we have taken that idea so de beaumont creates practical tools to help communities in the area, policy change, developing partnerships and creating a strong public health workforce. host: how is an organization like yours responding to the pandemic? guest: we have done work in messaging, supported partners and been very fortunate where we could health our partners at the association of state and territorial health officials and the very important association of public health labs. we were there to kind of support and lift morale among workers and really pitch in where we can. host: a year into this, almost a
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year, and yesterday marking 500,000 deaths due to the disease. what are your thoughts about the role of public health professionals and -- that they have played in the last 10 months. guest: i think public health professionals have thrown everything that they have at this virus and at the response. the problem is that we did not give them a whole lot to throw. we always knew that this was coming. it was never an if, it was always a when and yet we have consistently underfunded public health, and so we created a vulnerability to emerging viruses and finally the bill came due. host: you are an epidemiologist by training, what have we learned about preparedness in responding to a pandemic? what needs to happen to combat this one and prepare for the
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possibility of the next one? guest: i think what we have learned is that our collective safety, security, and economic prosperity is really dependent on a robust public health system. and, most people who are watching do not think about how public health affects them every day. but we are seeing it right now, tobit is shining a spotlight. and so, we need to make sure that we have better partnerships between other sectors and public health, and modernize our public health system. we spend $700 billion every year on defense, and i cannot think of a nation that has taken that many american lives on american soil. we need to reorganize our spending and make sure we protect the nation against the most challenging threats, and right now, that is emerging viruses. host: as the health debate and
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the 1.9 trillion more in public -- an aid to combat the pandemic, and the previous bills how much went to public health infrastructure? guest: the bills have given us money in the short term. in a way that we can respond, but it is not building the overall infrastructure. that is going to take a long-term commitment. we definitely are doing things in the short term to help us get through the pandemic, which we have to do. but when this is over there are some vulnerabilities that are existing and one of them is the public health system and/or chronic underfunding of the public health system, and also, systemic injustice that we are much more acutely aware of now. if we do not address those
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things through policy change, then we will remain vulnerable and everyone is talking about the vaccine and getting back to normal. getting back to normal is a normal where we were vulnerable to this kind of devastation, and that is partly due to widening racial gaps in income, housing security and paid access to sick leave, and having a public health system underfunded and understaffed to actually fight this virus. we need to reckon with the fact that most of the devastation that happened here was somewhat preventable and we were unprepared to do it. host: what does the ideal public health infrastructure look like to you? where does it exist in this country? guest: in the u.s. it will be at the state, and in strong coordination with the federal government. what we need, the first thing, we need a better data system and we need the federal government to fund a data system and give
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that to the states so we have information so that we can make the right decisions and make the right plans and employee the right strategies because right now, the data is spotty as -- at best, and that is not a way to make progress in our -- or prevent a disease or roll out a strategy. we need the information, and then we need train people and we all know that governmental public health may not pay well so we need a loan repayment to get some of the best and brightest people in the nation going into governmental public health because safety, security, and economic prosperity is what it -- what is at risk. host: we want our viewers to join in, the role of public health professionals in combating covid-19. eastern or central part of the country, 202-748-8000. mountain or pacific, 202-748-8001. public health professionals, 202-748-8002.
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at the white house, covid-19 briefing yesterday dr. anthony fauci spoke about the next steps in combating covid-19. here's what he had to say. [video clip] >> the bottom line of what we need to do looking forward and the clear need in this is the development of potent antivirals directly acting on sars-cov-2. similar to what was done with the drug development program for hiv as well as for hepatitis c. and what i refer to is the future development of therapeutics will be based on the identification of vulnerable targets in the sars-cov-2 replication cycle in the design
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of drugs to inhibit vulnerable targets as i mentioned, we are beginning this and this is the direction of the future. host: brian, your reaction to hearing that from dr. fauci, and explain what he is talking about with these therapeutics and how they would work. guest: dr. fauci is a brilliant immunologist, and i appreciate his dedication to wanting to find medicines that will help us with coronavirus and future viruses, but i really want to talk about public health, because while we are waiting for medicines to feed -- to be developed, people are still dying, and what we know right now is that vaccination plus mask wearing plus social distancing will get us through this coronavirus pandemic. it will get us back to the economy that we want and get us back to the enjoyable things in our lives. so, medicine is great when it is
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available, i will be the first to take it. until we get there, we have to focus on public health. host: when it comes to vaccination, what challenges are you saying to the distribution of them -- seeing to the distribution of them because of our public health infrastructure has been built. guest: the distribution has been challenging. i am eligible for the vaccine in maryland, and i just kind of got sick of dealing with the six or seven websites that i have to deal with to get an appointment. this is not how the rollout should have been. we should be engaged in our communities and public health system. we have this process of going to a website and coming up with an appointment and then going when the appointment comes up, that is a lot of control. i am in a home with two working parents and two kids and that is
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a little more predictability than i have right now even in my own life. so, this past weekend in philadelphia, physicians held a walk-up clinic to get vaccinated. we need mobile clinics and communities that need it most, communities of color and where there is a high rate of people over 65. we need to help people get the vaccine, and that doesn't necessarily mean that they have to confirm -- conform to a rigid process that is not delivering. host: your group did a survey of people being hesitant about taking vaccines, what did you find? guest: there are three things that we have to think about when we talk about vaccines. the first thing is that we have to personalize it. we have to talk about people protecting their families. this is not about a national responsibility, it is about protecting you and your family. we have to be positive when we are talking about the vaccine. don't talk about the things that will happen if you do not take it, talk about the things that
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you will happen -- happen if you take it, hugging a grandparent, going to a vacation, enjoying a holiday with your family. these are things that we can get to if we have good vaccination update. and lastly, we cannot be judgmental. i would even say we need to retire the word hesitancy. when someone says you are vaccine hesitant that can be stigmatizing. we need to normalize concern, this is a brand-new vaccine, we should be engaging people with the simple statement i understand that you may be concerned about the vaccine, what questions can i answer for you. and i encourage everybody, employers, clergy, girl scout troops, fantasy football leaves, -- leagues, create spate -- safe spaces without judgment where you can share your stories without -- about taking it. if we are not talking about the
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vaccine there are those who will spread misinformation will fill the void. let us get the conversation going among folks who were somewhat concerned, and that is often people in rural communities, young republicans and young black americans, and young women. host: let us go to new york. caller: thank you for taking my call. i would like to expand on something you said. you mentioned that this is largely preventable and a result of chronic underfunding. i could not agree more. however, i have been trying to circulate a proposal to address exactly your point, andday comew can we sustainably fund this if we do not see the authority to fund this -- do not cede the
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authority to fund this to the federal reserve? we do this because there are unexpected downpour -- downturns that are catastrophic. covid has emerged as the new catastrophic event that the fed was designed to prevent. it has increased. it is no longer the 100 euro event it was since 1918. -- 100 year event it was since 1918. there are increasing amounts of epidemics and pandemics because of climate change and other reasons. and if i could, greta, please. guest: thank you for your support. we are able to fund things that we prioritize, and we are able, across administrations, to fund
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defense. and we need to prioritize public health in a way that everyone understands what is at stake. coming out of this pandemic, we have to be clear with everyone. if you are on the left and believe in strong hug -- public health support, you should talk about supporting it. if you are more conservative, we have lost 100,000 businesses because of this pandemic, so we need to help everyone understand that health is like the foundation of your house. if it is not working, everything else is in jeopardy. so no matter who you are, what sector you are in, whatever you do in your life, you cannot do any of it without health. and i mean community health. i think we have to encourage everyone to think about how do we go forward, how do we fund public health, and we have to
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not make just a one budget cycle commitment. we have to invest in infrastructure over the long term. host: jeffrey, ready for your follow-up? caller: yes. thank you. i would like to follow-up with the questions. i totally agree with your premise and it needs to be funded over the long-term, but as i have mentioned, we have shown historically that we are incapable of doing that. since 2005, hhs plans have been chronically underfunded. we have been warned about it through nearly annualized pandemic simulations where all of the principals charged with administering a pandemic response have warned lawmakers to fund this appropriately. they have refused to do so. we have seen, even more recently, and perhaps even more critically, the politicization in an age of populism has
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compounded the problem dramatically. we did not act quickly. as a result, of not acting on the science, this is what has happened. we are among the worst in the world despite the preeminence of our scientists and the excellence of our public health institutions. we need to mitigate the risk of this happening again by funding it from a source that cannot be politicized. and i just wanted to make one more point clear. it does not mean that communities will not be involved. it will absolutely be a question of providing community support and federalize coordination to harness all of the know-how and all of the resources we have in the most efficient way. host: ok. i have to get some other voices in. brian castrucci, go ahead and respond. guest: you should be here.
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you are doing my job for me. you are right. if we cannot get past the partisanship in this moment, then i do worry if we will ever get past it, because if we have not learned from covid -- let's be clear, covid bosco mortality rate is not inconsequential, but it is low, and the threat going forward is that the next time this happens, if that mortality rate is 10%, this would be much more devastating. we need to batten down the hatches. we need to see the threat. if china parked enko aircraft carrier off the coast of georgia, there would be think of immediate response. we need to respond accordingly. host: rick in birmingham, alabama. -- victor in birmingham, alabama. you have to turned on the
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television. listen and talk to the phone. caller: mi on? -- am i on? host: yes. caller: yes. thank you for c-span. i would like to ask your guest -- host: all right. we will move on to william in emporia, virginia. caller: good morning. i am wondering why you would open up your borders to let everybody in if, when they get here, we have to take care of them and give them the vaccination. i encountered an article in the newspaper the week before last that biden will give -- $4 billion. we give all this foreign aid to these countries, but they are still trying to get here. host: william, let me tie this back to the topic.
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brian castrucci, what protocols are in place for delivering this vaccine? the public health officials have any criteria for who they give it to? guest: we know who are eligible, but ultimately, everyone needs the vaccine. i am not an immigration specialist, but i know that if you are in the u.s. or on the planet, infectious disease rarely respects country borders. so whether someone is in mexico coming to the u.s., whether someone is in england, eventually, if we do not have everyone vaccinated throughout the world, this infectious disease will continue and will continue to dish and we will continue to see death and devastation from it. we have to make sure we have not only a vaccination strategy for the u.s., but a vaccination strategy for the world, and that is where the u.s. rejoining who is important. and it is important to help
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other nations purchased the vaccine and distribute it. this is all hands on deck. and so even if we had good herd immunity in the u.s., that would not make us invulnerable to economic issues in supply chains or other fassett's -- or other facets when it comes to the virus. so we need a global perspective when it comes to the vaccination. host: did you have a chance yet to read to the world health organization's go report on the origins of this disease? guest: briefly. host: what was your reaction? guest: i think we need to understand all the opportunities for viruses to grow and develop in our world, and doing that work -- the work and examining what happened and getting in and
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having a good understanding is going to help us prevent this in the future. we have been saying for a long time that we knew there would be coming colleagues that would actually -- be coming to -- plagues that would threaten the community, so we would identify and mitigate emerging viruses so we can achieve the heights community can. host: how would you appropriately invest in mitigating this type of pandemic? what is needed? guest: greta, i am sure you will be surprised. it is investing in public health. it is investing in science. it is investing in the infrastructure so that we can more quickly sequence viral variants. it is having surveillance infrastructure that can find viruses before they get too far. we can have an immediate and exacting response so that this does not get to the point
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it has now. with covid-19, the only solution, really, at the point in which it was endemic throughout the u.s., was a vaccine. what we did not have was good governmental trust. we need to rebuild governmental trust, rebuild public health infrastructure. we need to make sure there are policies in place that protect our society before viruses even land on our shores. we need paid sick leave, livable wages, and partnership between public health and other sectors. this is the foundation of your house. you always pay attention when there is a crack in your foundation. our foundation is cracked. we are not as healthy as we should be, but we deserve to be, and we need to prioritize that in the biden administration and every administration after. host: what is viral sequencing and why is it important? guest: this is important for
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finding all these variants. it is looking at, when someone has the virus, what type of virus it was. is it different from what we have been dealing with and seeing? there are many different variants now, so what we have to do is no that those -- is know that those variants are there and that our vaccines might work differently for the different variants. for our strategy, we have to know. i am a kid of the 80's, so i remember g.i. joe telling me knowing is half the battle, and we have not even won that half. guest: caller in virginia. caller: i have been calling in for 18 years now since i have started my business called virginians for education, which is a custom trailer i pull around to schools and other host
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organizations that wish to have a fitness prevention program -- a sickness prevention program supplied on site. host: randy, can you tie this to the topic? caller: prevention. the physician just mentioned prevention. pe in schools, we have been playing games with that. we have been worried about children's health and safety. until families have support -- because we are not winning education and health battles with law and order and authority. host: let's talk about physical fitness. brian castrucci, your response. guest: physical fitness is incredibly important and having good pe requirements in schools is a necessary rung in the
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strategy, but we need to think more broadly. we need to think about communities. even if you have pe in schools, do you have places to exercise in the community? are there places where you can get fresh fruits and vegetables? his housing even affordable? because if you do not have a place to stay, fitness becomes less of a priority. we need to think through how we build communities that support everyone's health. the former cdc director has always asked how do you make health? it is more conference of them physical activity or pe, but that is one of the things we can look at and work on. it is much broader than that. host: marion, iowa. jody is from there, watching us. good morning to you. caller: hello. thank you. i apologize. i just tuned in after brian was
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introduced, so i hope i am asking the right question here. i want to say biden should be reaching out to you. you are practical minded. you have touched on points of interest that have spiked my concern regarding the vaccine and so forth, stuff like we do not normally hear, like the foundation of your family being health. absolutely. my father has cancer, etc. besides that, your approach, especially people who have concerns of the vaccine. i'm not an anti-vaccinator at all, but i am concerned that my grandmother passed away after her second shot of the vaccine, and it really concerns me. right now, my 74-year-old mother just received it recently, her
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first shot, and she is doing fine, but there are -- what i have heard -- pockets around the world in which some nursing care centers have people that are passing away shortly after the vaccine, and i am concerned and i want someone to address it and you seem like the very person to reach out to, because you brought that to our attention. i think the concerns are valid and they need to be listened to and responded to so that we do not those out-of-the-way and more people get this -- we do knock those out-of-the-way and more people get this vaccine. host: thank you. i am sorry for your loss and i hope your dad does well with treatment. here is the thing. the more people you vaccinate, the more likely there may be mortality, but it might not have anything to do with the vaccine, and so you are looking at something temporally and saying,
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ok, grandma got the vaccine and then she did poorly. you actually don't know -- she may have done poorly without the vaccine. and what i know is that the vaccine has gone through safety trials. we have had every study, every phase, with the fda involved. we have ongoing safety monitoring boards and we are constantly looking to see if there is a causal relationship between taking the vaccine and then that subsequent mortality, but we have not found evidence of that yet, and so what we have been seeing is that the vaccine is safe. severe side effects are rare and are mostly manageable. and there are some normal side effects. that is just her body reacting to it. -- just your body reacting to it. but it is easy to think through
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correlation as causality. so every time i wear a blue hat, i have never been attacked by a bear. that does not mean that blue hats keepaway bears -- keep away bears, but that is an easy conclusion to draw. i want to push you a bit. your family is in jeopardy. they are older. there is jeopardy from the coronavirus, that we know. for every piece of evidence -- from every piece of evidence we have, the vaccine is safe. i think you can go ahead and protect your family with this vaccine. host: phoenix is next in missoula, montana. caller: good morning. richard feynman, the physicist, said that, in science, you should always go back to the first experiment and make
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sure it is correct, and this gentleman has put his faith on pcr testing to come up with the 500,000 death count. a nobel prize winner, the inventor of the method of pcr tests, said you cannot use it to diagnose anyone. and this is the test we used to say that a person dying of cancer has also got this coronavirus. and if you look at the pcr method for isolating viruses, it is nothing like the old days. what they do is they take a random piece of rna from a patient, they lop off the end, they treat it with foreign dna. it assembles itself into a genetic strand. if they place it in cancerous monkey cells and they die, they say, look, we have a lethal
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virus. this whole thing is just fake science. pcr is a great research tool. it should not be used as a diagnostic. host: let's get a response. guest: unfortunately, i have not won a nobel prize and i respect those perspectives, but what i know, having spoken to people throughout the u.s., is that we have lost mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, to this virus, and debating whether we are using the right test i think is not getting us to where we need to be. we have lost 500,000 american lives, shuttered 100,000 american businesses. we are not getting the things -- not getting the things we want -- not getting to do the things we want to do. instead of debating how many deaths, it is too many
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regardless of what test you use. i want to move our country forward, helping people have confidence in the vaccine, to take the vaccine, to wear masks, and to socially distance. when we do those things, we can be covid. host:l meeting with justin
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trudeau.

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