tv The Week With Joshua Johnson MSNBC February 21, 2021 9:00pm-10:01pm PST
2020, i have good vision for this. get it? >> reporter: a proud marine who served his country for 25 years. >> happy birthday to all the marines, past marines, active marines, wherever they are, in harm's way. >> reporter: a high school junior. an educator who inspired those going off into the world. >> be resilient in life when there is disappointment or failure. do your best work no matter who is watching. stay true to all that you believe in. >> reporter: a loving son with so much ahead of him. a grandmother who always kept the faith. ♪♪
♪ leaning on the everlasting ♪ >> that was nbc's kate snow reporting. it is the top of the hour. good to be with you tonight. as the pandemic rages on we will dig into what comes next and chart the progress the biden administration has made in its first month in office. from nbc news world headquarters in new york, i'm joshua johnson. welcome to "the week." ♪♪ >> 500,000 people. that is america's current death toll from covid at least. it's hard to swallow, especially when you see it represented that way. but there are other important
statistics worth noting, reason being we are heading in the rate right direction. the number of new cases has been consistently falling. so has the daily death toll, and vaccination rates are increasing rapidly. on friday, the website patch published an op-ed from president biden. he wrote that the average number of vaccinations per day is up to 1.7 million. mr. biden also doubled down on his goal of administering at least 100 million shots in his first 100 days in office. and he insisted that the u.s. is on track to have enough doses for 300 million people by the end of july. let's begin the hour with nbc news digital senior white house reporter shannon pettypiece. talk what is going on at the administration and what's been going on this week to help us reach those goals and get everyone vaccinated. >> i would say a big trend that we have increasingly been seeing is the federal government getting more and more involved
in getting shots in arms. the trump administration had a strategy to get the vaccine to the states and once it was to the states, it was up to the states to figure out how to allocate it and do the heavy lifting of actually getting those vaccinations to people, getting the shots in the arms. we are seeing the biden administration directly shipping doses to retail pharmacies, to federally staffed, funded and run mass vaccination centers and federal community health centers. in addition to that allowing them to expedite this process and help out the states to some extent, it's helping them target who gets that vaccine and we have been seeing them targeting that specifically to groups most at risk of developing serious illness and with the fewest health care resources. so particularly minority communities, low-income communities, communities that have limited access to health care. that is where the federal
government is shifting more doses of vaccine every week. we see them putting more and more there, taking responsibility for this, and not just leaving it up to the states. >> obviously, the good news about the progress in the vaccination effort is tempered by this death toll of 500 ,000 people we have broken it down by state. we have been tracking it that way since the pandemic began and you will see those details at the bottom of your screen. how is the administration messaging on this? i imagine at least some of this decline was expected or at least hoped for after the holidays. we knew there would be a spike and then a drop. what's the messaging from the administration in terms of how much credit they are taking? >> we have heard one administration official after another warn not to get complacent. they are not attributing this drop yet to the vaccine because
it has not been widely distributed out. we don't have enough people with a second dose yet. they, of course, would like to take a little bit of credit for their messaging around masks and urging the public to take caution. but as you said, this is a big anticipated drop that came off that holiday travel season, and there is a lot of concern we hear publicly, and i am told privately as well from administration officials, that we are going to continue to see the yo-yo numbers going back up and down as people get complacent, as states pull back on restrictions like indoor dining restrictions, large mass gathering restrictions. we are going to see the numbers tick back up. of course, complicating all of this and creating a large amount of concern for administration officials, we hear repeatedly are the variants that are out there and how those are going to change the dynamics in a sense that they are in a race against time to get people vaccinated before some of these variants that are out there that are more transmissable, before they can spread and become dominant in
the country. >> we know that the house, at least house democrats, are planning to vote on president biden's stimulus package, his covid stimulus package before this week is out. are those the two main benchmarks that the administration focused on, shannon, this vaccination benchmark and then getting the stimulus package passed? >> yeah, it really is. i mean, it is covid, covid, covid. and we heard them talk last week about an immigration plan and there were certainly people in the administration who are focused on immigration. you have the department of homeland security as well. the texas natural disaster this week, which took a lot of attention. but the foundation for everything they are doing is based on covid. it's based on getting the pandemic under control through mitigation measures, through vaccinations, and getting the economy back on track. getting assistance to small
businesses, keeping those unemployment supplemental checks going beyond the march 15th deadline that's coming up, keeping the foundation of the country there until we can get the pandemic under control and start returning to some sense of normalcy, and like i said, they talk about immigration, we hear them talk about criminal justice reform, even potentially gun control. all of those things though are going to have to wait until they get out of what the white house administration officials describe as a crisis situation right now. >> thank you, shannon. nbc's shannon pettypiece starting us off this hour. president biden will soon face a major decision about america's longest war. the war in afghanistan. namely, whether to pull all of our troops out this spring. last year the trump administration negotiated a deal with the taliban. it requires the u.s. to pull all troops out by may the 1st. america currently has 2,500 troops in afghanistan working
alongside nato allies. they are engaged in counterterror operations and training afghan security forces. this week nato defense leaders met to discuss the next steps. they left that meeting with no decision made. basically, they are waiting to see what the u.s. does. defense secretary lloyd austin staked out the administration's position on friday. >> clearly, the violence is too high right now and more progress needs to be made in the afghan-led negotiations. the united states will not undertake a hasty or disorderly withdrawal from afghanistan. that puts their forces or the alliances' reputation at risk. >> the taliban has positioned itself around major afghan cities. if u.s. troops leave, what will become of afghanistan?
and if the troops stay, what does winning look like? joining us now is democratic congressman jason crow of colorado. he is a member of the house armed services committee. he also served in afghanistan as an army ranger. congressman, good evening. >> hi, good evening. thanks for having me on. >> let me if get your reaction to one of the republican members of the house foreign committee. >> i was in the white house with president trump arguing to him, you don't want to repeat the same mistake as your predecessor in iraq where you pull out 100% and isis reared its ugly head. not allow the taliban to take over the country is important to their national security interests and ours. >> congressman, what is your sense of what may happen if the u.s. pulls out on may 1st at least the way things are going on the ground right now? >> i don't think we are going to pull out on may 1st. there is no way to do that safely for the soldiers, and
also to do it and keep faith with our allies here. there are a couple of things going on. first off, i think it's important to say that we have to end this war. this is america's longest war. spent our blood, our treasure. we can't be there forever. we have a minimal presence there. it's much, much smaller since 9/11. so the footprint is very small. but there is a right way to do this and a wrong way. there are more nato allies there than there are u.s. troops. and the only time in the history of the nato alliance that article 5, which is the neutral self-defense provision, has been invoked was after 9/11 and our allies came to our aid and went to war in afghanistan with us. if we were to pull out without consulting with them, that will do major damage to our alliances and standing with nato. even more, it would be an unmitigated disaster for the people in afghanistan and the women and children in particular.
the taliban continue to do terrible things there. they would sweep into population centers and it would be a disaster. >> the effort has come a long way in terms of just standing up afghan security forces, professionalizing them, getting them in line. that has been a herculean task. so that is also one of the things that could be lost. but with regards to nato's presence, the one time nato ever had to attack, an attack is an attack on one principle, is after 9/11. how is that relationship going now? president biden spoke at the munich security conference and very vocally reaffirmed we support article 5, we are still partners of yours. how far do you think that went? >> there are two things going on here. one is this idea of the may 1st taliban agreement. the taliban agreement is a fantasy. it's never been real. it's not based on actual facts and what's going on on the ground.
it was a political stunt by the trump administration in my view to try to give an excuse for them to pull out without consultation with our al likes. it has to be second based on the facts on the ground. it has to be based on conditions that are actually met by the taliban, which are not being met. that's the first thing. the second is we are trying to rebuild our relationship with nato. four years under president trump, the worst four years of the nato alliance, we are trying to show a commitment. this is our first real test of that. how are we going to engage, consult, and whether we are going to do this together. the answer has to be yes. it has to be that we are going to engage with allies that have soldiers on the ground with us now fighting and serving shoulder to shoulder. if we do it any other way, it would send the wrong message. >> how long do you expect the u.s. to remain in afghanistan? >> i don't think we have that information yet. unfortunately, the trump administration was not forthcoming with information. it was very, very hard to come by. it was one of the darker periods in terms of congressional executive branch relations. i mean, a lot of people know that. we have to get the information.
also, unfortunately, the trump administration did not provide the biden administration with information. they actually didn't allow them to speak to the military commanders during the transition period. so what they are doing now is they are gathering that information. they are assessing the conditions on the ground, talking to our allies, talking to national security and defense forces. when we get that information we can figure out what the training mission looks like, what a counterterrorism mission looks like and how to safely ramp that down. >> one more thing i want to ask you before i let you go. there is a meeting this week of the house armed services committee to talk about space-based and nuclear weapons from what we call near peer adversaries like china and russia. president trump created the space force, but there has been concern about space-based weapons. i know people have watched a lot of james bond movies think this is science fiction. this is more than just a notion. weapons like this are actually in the offing and the development.
how much do you think the u.s. is prepared for or needs to pivot to dealing with these kinds of next-gen 21st century military threats, especially since we haven't fully unraveled ourselves from afghanistan yet? >> well, joshua, i think the best way to sum this up for your viewers right now is that the future is now. right? these are not some future science fiction weapons. the things that currently exist to or about to exist in the very near future are pretty dangerous systems. so we have to make sure that we are keeping ahead of our dangerous adversaries, developing the technology. that's one of the reasons we set up the space force, to give it the importance, to elevate it with the other branches that it deserves as the new domain of potential warfare. we have to make sure we are getting this right because, if we don't, we be in trouble. if you think about what space does, it actually controls our ability to navigate, controls our ability to communicate.
we can't communicate and we can't move around and actually it controls the access to the financial systems, too. and if we do not secure that domain, we could be in a very bad way. >> yeah, just because its insignia looks like something out of "star trek" doesn't mean it's the stuff of science fiction anymore. i would love to have you back because this is real and bears further conversation. for now, democratic congressman jason crow of colorado, thanks very much. >> thanks, joshua. still to come, former new jersey governor thomas kean chaired the 9/11 commission. he will join us to consider a similar commission to investigate the capitol riot. plus, more mutations of coronavirus are being detected around the world. what's being done to save lives? nbc's richard engle previews tonight's special report on how new covid strains are reshaping the battle against the pandemic. but first richard lui is here with the headlines. hey, richard. >> good evening, to you, joshua.
some of the stories we're watching this hour for you. iran threatened to cut back undocumented immigration inspections of its new facilities. iran's foreign minister saying the policy of, quote, maximum pressure was still being applied to iran. the white house says it's ready to hold talks with other world powers and iran to discuss a deal. super market company kroger says its vendor was hacked. the breach compromised kroger customers data including social security numbers. kroger said it affected less than 1% of its customers. and in sports novack djokovic won his ninth australian open. this marks the 18th career grand slam for the serbian star. and yes, his rank remains number one in the world. er one in the world
mornings were made for better things than rheumatoid arthritis. when considering another treatment, ask about xeljanz... a pill for adults with moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis when methotrexate has not helped enough. xeljanz can help relieve joint pain and swelling, stiffness, and helps stop further joint damage, even without methotrexate. xeljanz can lower your ability to fight infections. before and during treatment, your doctor should check for infections, like tb and do blood tests. tell your doctor if you've had hepatitis b or c, have flu-like symptoms, or are prone to infections. serious, sometimes fatal infections, cancers including lymphoma, and blood clots have happened. taking a higher than recommended dose of xeljanz for ra may increase risk of death. tears in the stomach or intestines and serious allergic reactions have happened. don't let another morning go by
without asking your doctor about the pill first prescribed for ra more than seven years ago. xeljanz. ♪ freshness and softness you never forget, with downy. liberty mutual customizes- wait... am i in one of those liberty mutual commercials where they stand in front of the statue of liberty and talk about how liberty mutual customizes your car insurance so you only pay for what you need? uhhh... yes. huh... what happens in this one? seagulls. oh, i like it. how are you doing? (seagulls sounds) only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪ when you've got a business, you don't want to worry about slow internet or confusing cybersecurity. so get comcast business internet with fast, reliable speeds, and add the advanced security
of comcast business securityedge. it combines the speed you need with threat protection. plus there's 24/7 support. it's internet and advanced security - made simple. so bounce forward - with comcast business. get started with a powerful internet and voice solution for just $64.90 a month. and ask how to add comcast business securityedge. call today.
today new york governor andrew cuomo announced that a resident has tested positive for a variant of covid discovered in south africa. it is one of three particularly worrisome mutations that the cdc is monitoring. scientists around the world fear our current vaccines might not work on these new more contagious strains. richard engle has a closer look. >> reporter: we are now in a race, a race to vaccinate the public while the vaccines we have still work, and the current vaccines still do work, although some of them don't work quite as well against some of the viral variants, particularly the south african variant has shown an ability to resist certain vaccines. we are in a race to get these
vaccines out to the public while they still work because this virus is evolving and scientists believe one day it will evolve to a point where the vaccines we have, that are currently being manufactured, do not work anymore. so that's one facet of the race. and the other facet is the next step. what happens when that day arrives when the vaccines we have do no longer work? and are no longer effective? and the one positive development that has come out of this horrible year of 2020 and has been pretty rough going into 2021 is a huge development in vaccine technology. vaccines for, since they have been around, for a very long time, have been fairly traditional products. how to grow them. sometimes you used chicken eggs to grow them. it's a biological product, and you have to make it. now vaccines are being genetically produced, produced down to genetic code level. and this means that you can do things much, much quicker.
if the vaccine, if the virus changes, changes shape, because you are dealing with genetic code, reprogram the vaccine so it recognizes the virus. and that is a transformative way of making vaccines. and i spoke to the inventor of the pfizer vaccine. not all the vaccines, by the way, use this technology. pfizer and moderna do. they are mrna vaccines. and i asked him, can we keep doing this? is this the kind of thing, this technology, will it allow you to continually upgrade and modify the vaccine while the virus is through the process of evolution modifying itself? >> reporter: he invented the pfizer vaccine. the ceo of biontech. is it almost like you are cutting and pasting like a
computer? >> yeah, a little bit, it's a copy of the virus, but in the copy, of course, there is no genetic piece of the virus it is just information, which is safe and just not able to replicate. it is so easy. so it is, of course, not easy, but it is a process that allows us to make it fast. >> reporter: so it's a copy and paste of the genetic material? >> copy and paste, yeah. >> reporter: no matter how many times it changes, you just copy a new -- >> copy and paste. copy and paste. >> it's a transformative way of making vaccines. >> yeah, absolutely. and it is faster, yeah, by increasing our production capacities and we will be prepared the next time when an outbreak happens to be even faster than we were this time. >> reporter: he says it takes him about six weeks to update the vaccine to account for viral mutations. but each update, while now possible, could create enormous
logistical challenges of manufacturing and distributing multiple vaccines for multiple strains. far better, contain this wildfire now before we need to reinvent the tools to do it. so we are in a race against the virus. two races, actually. a race to use our vaccines now while they still work, because it is much, much easier to use the viruss we have and use the weapons that are on hand against the virus, but also being prepared and getting ready for that next challenge when we have to reprogram, copy and paste, and re-create new vaccines. joshua. >> thank you, richard. nbc's richard engle reporting. stay tuned for "on assignment with richard engle," covid mutants." that is up next on msnbc.
some are calling for an investigation into the capitol riots modelled after the 9/11 commission. what would that look like? new jersey's former governor chaired the 9/11 commission, thomas kean joins us when we come back. come back. “close enough or noth”" mercedes-benz suvs were engineered with only one mission in mind. to be the best. in the category, in the industry... in the world. lease the gla 250 suv for just $399 a month at your local mercedes-benz dealer. mercedes-benz. the best or nothing. i'm a verizon engineer. we built our 5g nationwide so millions of people could do what they love in verizon 5g quality. and in parts of many cities, we have ultra wideband, the fastest 5g in the world. this is 5g built right. only from verizon. a migraine hope from aimovig. to show up... ...for the sweet. the hectic. the tense.
and the fiery. don't let migraine keep you... ...from saying “i am here.” aim to be there more... ...with aimovig. a preventive treatment... ...for migraine in adults. one dose... ...once a month... ...is proven to reduce monthly migraine days. for some, by half or more. don't take aimovig if you're allergic to it. allergic reactions like rash or swelling can happen hours to days after use. severe constipation can happen. sometimes with serious complications. high blood pressure can happen or worsen with aimovig. common side effects include injection site reactions and constipation. aim to be there more. talk to your doctor about aimovig. so you want to make the best burger ever? then make it! aim to be there more. that means selling everything. and eating nothing but cheese till you find the perfect slice... even if everyone asks you... another burger truck? don't listen to them! that means cooking day and night until you get... [ ding ] you got paid! that means adding people to the payroll. hi mom. that means... best burger ever.
intuit quickbooks helps small businesses be more successful with payments, payroll, banking and live bookkeeping. i'm happy to give you the tour, i love doing it. hey jay. jay? charlotte! oh hi. he helped me set up my watch lists. oh, he's terrific. excellent tennis player. bye-bye. i recognize that voice. annie? yeah! she helped me find the right bonds for my income strategy. you're very popular around here. there's a birthday going on. karl! he took care of my 401k rollover. wow, you call a lot. yeah, well it's my money we're talking about here. joining us for karaoke later? ah, i'd love to, but people get really emotional when i sing. help from a team that will exceed your expectations. ♪♪ covid has made clear that having health insurance is more important than ever. at covered california, every plan is comprehensive, covering everything from preventive care to mental health. and it's the only place that offers financial help for health insurance. enrollment is open due to covid-19. if you or someone you know isn't covered, now is the time to sign up.
the investigations continue after the january 6th attack on the u.s. capitol. so do the prosecutions. on friday the justice department charged six members of the far-right militia group the oath keepers. prosecutors say they orchestrated a months-long plot to stop congress from verifying president biden's victory. what should congress do now? this week house speaker nancy pelosi promised an independent commission to flesh out everything about the insurrection. congress would model it after the commission that investigated the september 11th attacks. that idea seems to have bipartisan support. republican senator lindsey graham has expressed interest in at least the idea of such a commission, though the specifics have yet to be worked out.
joining us now is thomas kean, the former governor of new jersey. weighs the chair -- he was the chair of the 9/11 commission. governor thomas kean, good evening. let me play a little bit of what nancy pelosi said about this idea during a briefing on monday. >> there is really strong support in the country for us to have seek the truth, find the truth, but also understand how we have to protect the people from what might be out there in terms of domestic terrorism and the rest. >> what do you make of a 9/11-style commission? >> i think it's very important that we do it for two reasons basically. one, this is a very, very important event and a very, very serious event. i grew up in washington. i was in for congress for 20 years. i venerated that capitol. i seen where webster sat and clay sat, the room that joe mccarthy had his hearings in, and kids come to the capitol every day to learn about
democracy. now to have it invaded by a mob and not have questions answered, not know really how much was planned ahead of time. did they -- was it spontaneous? we don't know any of that yet. a 9/11 style of investigation is the only way, i think, to do it and ensure that you will get a bipartisan fair hearing that you can take to the american people and that the american people will support. >> talk about this kind of a commission. what would it be comprised of? what kind of people would serve on it? how long do you think it would take? run us through some of the nuts and bolts. >> well, most important thing is who sits on it because you have got to have it bipartisan. you have to have people that don't serve in office now, maybe a higher office, nobody to make a reputation for themselves out of the hearings. you want men and women, and not
necessarily from washington. you can have former governors, former attorney generals, people who served in the state department, former judges. i mean, good human beings out there. men and women who want to help the country and would be willing to serve on something like this. it's an important thing that it be non-elected officers now and they be bipartisan and have a record of being able to reach across the aisle. washington is so partisan now. this cannot be partisan. it's going to be partisan, don't do it. >> what do you think were some of the things that the 9/11 commission did well and what are some things that you think the 9/11 commission could have done better? >> well, look, the 9/11 commission, five republicans and five democrats met at a time of -- another time of extreme partisanship. we were able to get together, make our recommendations, write a report which was so -- on a controversial topic. we wrote a report that is still used in colleges in classrooms
today as the final word on that particular terrible event in american history. so that we did. and out of that report we wrote recommendations. 41 recommendations. 40 of them were adopted by the united states congress and the american people. if you remember, we were all worried about can a terrorist pull off another attack similar at all to 9/11. the answer is, since we put the reforms in place, since congress and the president adopted the recommendations, we haven't had figure like that. so in addition to being credible, it worked. american people are safer today because of it. and so i think the suggestion by the speaker to do something that worked and do it again on another very serious matter for american democracy, why not? >> with regards to bipartisan, there are plenty of people, and this, of course, was the mainstream of an impeachment trial, so i don't think i am going out on a limb here, who
would say one of the big factors behind this attack was the former president. that donald trump and his rhetoric have to be a central part, if not a major part, of the report for it to be truthful and to have credibility in the long lens of history. that, of course, makes it in some way partisan because there will be republicans who say this is just another way to get a hit job on donald trump since you couldn't convict him at the impeachment trial and people are still trying to pursue lawsuits after he has left office. how do we reckon with donald trump in this process if indeed there is a commission? >> first of all, again, most important, is appointing people of real credibility who have already established reputations and who have in their careers reached across the aisle. that's very, very important. now, i assume donald trump will be one of the witnesses. we want to know what he knew and what he did. that's not unusual. the 9/11 investigation, we
interviewed the sitting president. we interviewed a sitting president, a sitting vice president. we interviewed the former president. and all -- the secretary of state. a lot of people who had served in the american government, and who were -- the president was running for reelection at the time. so this was not an easy thing to do. but we established the credibility. we did it. they came forward and gave us their best. you have to have subpoena power. in case somebody doesn't want to come forward, you can gently encourage them to by using a subpoena. look, i don't know of any other way to get the truth out without the kind of partisanship that you have in the united states congress and very widely spread around the country.
but there are a lot of people, very good people, men and women out there who have a record that's not partisan and those are the people you have to pick. >> briefly, last ten seconds, what do we do if donald trump decides either not to testify or to lie? >> well, look, there are remedies for somebody who lies under oath, first of all. and secondly, my hope is he comes forward voluntarily, subpoena him like anybody else. and you go where it leads you. it's not against anybody. it's not to hurt anybody. but it's to get the truth for the american people and you follow the facts. >> former new jersey governor thomas kean, the chair of the 9/11 commission. governor, thanks very much. >> thank you, sir. some countries are having more success fighting the pandemic than others. why is that? the author of a new study on that joins us next. median. there was nothing i could do. (daughter) daddy! (dad vo) she's safe because of our first outback. and our new one's even safer. (vo) welcome to the 2020 subaru outback.
an iihs top safety pick+. the highest level of safety you can earn. (vo) get 0% for 63 months on select new 2021 models. now through march 1st. alright, i brought in ensure max protein... ...to give you the protein you need with less of the sugar you don't (grunting noise) i'll take that. yeeeeeah! 30 grams of protein and 1 gram of sugar drink, play, and win big in the powered by protein challenge! tonight i'll be eating a calzone from doughballs in aurora. (doorbell) rock on. tonight i'll be eating lobster thermidor au gratin. really? sh-yeah, and monkeys might fly out of my butt. make it two calzones! we are the thrivers. sh-yeah, and monkeys migwomen with metastatic. breast cancer.
our time... ...for more time... ...has come. living longer is possible- and proven in postmenopausal women taking kisqali plus fulvestrant. in a clinical trial, kisqali plus fulvestrant helped women live longer with hr+, her2- metastatic breast cancer. and it significantly delayed disease progression. kisqali can cause lung problems or an abnormal heartbeat, which can lead to death. it can cause serious skin reactions, liver problems, and low white blood cell counts that may result in severe infections. tell your doctor right away if you have new or worsening symptoms, including breathing problems, cough, chest pain, a change in your heartbeat, dizziness, yellowing of the skin or eyes, dark urine, tiredness, loss of appetite, abdomen pain, bleeding, bruising, fever, chills, or other symptoms of an infection, a severe or worsening rash, are or plan to become pregnant, or breastfeeding. avoid grapefruit during treatment. ask your doctor about living longer with kisqali. psst! psst!
allergies don't have to be scary. spraying flonase daily stops your body from overreacting to allergens all season long. psst! psst! you're good. many plug-ins are stuck in the past. they release a lot of scent at first but after a while, you barely know they're working. new febreze fade defy plug works differently. it's the first plug-in with built-in technology to digitally control how much scent is released to smell 1st day fresh for 50 days. it even tells you when it's ready to be refilled. upgrade to febreze fade defy plug.
covid-19 infected every nation of the world, but different nations have taken very different strategies and gotten very different outcomes. today by our count the united states reached a half-million known deaths from covid. in the u.k., strict lockdown measures have reduced case numbers. tomorrow the prime minister plans to announce a roadmap towards easing restrictions. in australia and new zealand, vaccines are rolling out to populations that are basically covid-19 free. what is behind these vast differences around the world? it might come down to some key cultural differences. joining us is michelle gelfand, the author of "rule makers, rule breakers, how tight and loose cultures wire our world." professor, good evening. >> hi there.
>> let's remind people of what you mean by a tight or loose culture. here are some nations that you have classified as either tight or loose cultures. a tight culture might be someplace like japan, south korea, china or singapore. loose cultures places like brazil, the u.s., the u.k., and spain. you can see them there on the map. what is the difference between a tight culture and loose culture as you define it? >> all cultures have social norms or unwritten rules for social behaviors. we wear clothes, we leave the house, we don't steal, we don't sing loudly and dance in the library, and we do these things because it helps our society function. in a way social norms are the glue that keep us together, and they have for a millennia. but what we know is some cultures abide by social norms quite strictly, tight cultures and others are loose. they have more relaxed attitudes towards rule breakers. these differences aren't random. we found that cultures with histories of collective threat,
chronic natural disasters, disease, famine and invasions have stricter rules to help facilitate order and cohesion. if you think about it, it makes good evolutionary sense. following the rules helps us survive chaos and crisis. looser groups that have, generally speaking, faced fewer chronic threats can afford to be more permissive. really neither tight nor loose is necessarily good or bad. loose cultures are the bastions of creativity and tolerance. the question is which cultural code is better suited to a collective threat. >> what did your research find in terms how these different cultures dealt with covid? >> we studied 57 countries up to mid-october and we found that loose cultures really struggled with covid. >> we studied about countries up until about mid-october and found loose cultures really struggled with covid. they have five times the number of cases and almost nine times the number of deaths. cultures, of course, not the only factor predicting cases and
deaths. we included wealth and inequality, climate, the age of the population, density, among many other factors. but culture matters in controlling for these things. but what was really quite astonishing was that even though loose cultures were facing far more threat, they were reporting being less fearful of covid-19. 70% of people in tight cultures were scared. and so fear is really important for tightening, but this didn't happen as much in loose cultures, and we can call this kind of an evolutionary mismatch. traits that are great in some environments like rule breaking is something great for innovation and are maladaptive in other contexts. >> when you say people are less afraid of covid, that seemed to be one of the problems in the u.s. in terms of people not seeming to give a damn. i wonder how we contextualize the way various americans reacted to covid in this country not just in terms of fear, but
in terms of even caring, in terms of just having the decency to wear a mask. >> well, i think they are interconnected. when we feel fear, feel the danger, get that signal, it naturally produces the willingness to follow rules. loose cultures have unrealistic optimism. it's not greatly matched to a pandemic. we also tend to be reactive when people tell us to abide by rules. we are used to having freedom and permissiveness. so we have a kind of reaction. we have fear of lockdowns and masks than we do of the virus. not all loose cultures miss the signal. i think new zealand is a great example of an ambidextrous culture. they were famously loose kiwis, but they pivoted and tightened and people were willing to sacrifice that freedom for more constraint which, in this case, they did a great job. >> yeah, between dealing with covid, the christchurch shooting, credited as one of the
reasons prime minister jacinda arden won another term. maybe we will call it a snug culture. i don't know. with regards to china, china is not just a tight culture. it's a repressive culture. it's made it harder to fight the pandemic because we can't get complete information from the chinese government about what's going on in wuhan, what's happening in the markets there, whether scientists from the world health organization have gotten proper access to the data they need. it feels like tightness or a looseness can be a blessing in some areas and a real curse in others. >> exactly. i think that's where having both order and openness are really important for cultures as we're trying to navigate collective threat. we need leadership to help us be able to do that. we can rise to the occasion with great leadership and willingness to follow rules. to your point, tight cultures really can be very repressive.
we are not saying that cultures become repressive. we control for authoritarianism in our data. we are looking at people's willingness to sacrifice freedom temporarily. we need to fight this threat by temporarily tightening and then loosening when it's safe. that's kind of the logic behind dealing with pandemics from a cultural point of view. >> university of maryland psychology professor michelle gelfand, good to have you back on the program. thank you. >> thank you. the world is full of big problems. what small steps are you taking to help solve them? we'll share a few of your stories before we go.
start your day with secret. secret stops sweat 3x more than ordinary antiperspirants. the new provitamin b5 formula is gentle on skin. with secret, outlast anything! no sweat. secret a migraine hope from aimovig. to show up... ...for the sweet. the hectic. the tender. the tense. and the fiery. but for many, migraine keeps them... ...from saying... ...“i am here.” we aim to change that...
...with... ...aimovig, a preventive treatment... ... for migraine in adults. one dose... ...once a month... ...is proven to reduce monthly migraine days. for some, by half or more. don't take aimovig if you're allergic to it. allergic reactions like rash or swelling can happen hours to days after use. severe constipation can happen. sometimes with serious complications. high blood pressure can happen or worsen with aimovig. common side effects include injection site reactions and constipation. it doesn't matter what each day brings. so long as you can say... ... i am here. aim... ...to be there more. talk to your doctor about aimovig. introducing voltaren arthritis pain gel. aim... ...to be there more. the first full prescription strength non-steroidal anti-inflammatory gel... available over the counter. voltaren is powerful arthritis pain relief in a gel. voltaren. the joy of movement. ♪♪ this is what community looks like. ♪♪
caring for each other, ♪♪ protecting each other. ♪♪ and as the covid vaccine rolls out, we'll be ready to administer it. ♪♪ you can't plan for your period's... we'll be ready to what the gush moments. but the right pad can. only always ultra thins have rapiddry technology and, they absorb 40% faster. the gush happens fast. that's why always absorbs faster. ♪ limu emu & doug ♪ hey limu! [ squawks ] how great is it that we get to tell everybody how liberty mutual customizes your car insurance so you only pay for what you need? i mean it... oh, sorry... [ laughter ] woops! [ laughter ] good evening! meow! nope. oh... what? i'm an emu! ah ha ha.
no, buddy! buddy, it's a filter! only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty, liberty, liberty, liberty ♪ all right before we go let's read some e-mails. we asked what small task you're struggling with to help make a big difference. something positive you're doing despite the difficulty. collin writes this week despite being surrounded by love, grace, family and friends i find myself
struggling with many small things like remembering to sleep, eat and brush my teeth. witnessing the people i've met in recovery do the next right thing often under impossible circumstances helps me transform humiliating weeks like these into humbling ones. that may not bring shelter the unhoused or food the 50 million americans who will go hungry this year, but it does make a big change in my life. it makes the rest of it look possible. christina from chicago writes, i'm a mom, caregiver, coordinator and health student. i have an opportunity to impact lives with a career in health care. i cannot understand why it's been hard for me to stay motivated. i may have shutdown because today i did nothing. i've been thinking about things i need to do and what would happen if i left for a few days to get away from it all. my two cents, and feel free to ignore me.
you mentioned you're thinking of getting away for a few days. that does not sound you're unmotivated. it sounds like you're exhausted. try to take care of yourself so you can take care of others. just my two cents. michael from maine had a great bit of advice. michael writes you talked about aa, that's aalcoholics anonymous on saturday night's show. i passed this on. i heard guy say when i don't know when the next thing is i can do the next thing right. we missed out reading responses to our last call out. we asked how you're helping keep our politics peaceful in hopes of preventing more political violence like what we saw at the capitol. charlie writes, since george floyd's death i choose not to attend large black live matter protests in portland, oregon. i do not want to get lost in the small groups that made a larger
voice with dumpster fires, bottles and broken windows. unjust distoritation of peaceful protesters. i attend smaller black lives matter family friendly protests in a little north portland neighborhood with sips supporting georgia, voting early, black lives matter, change, justice, anti-racism, blm at the forefront. we stand never confronting counterprotesters, taking a moral stand until we realize justice and change, indigenous and solidarity with blm. from sacramento writes, with tensions high amongst my own immediate circle the go-to move seems to be avoid the topic or only indulge at the surface level. but the only way to impact minds is through conversation. i'm educating myself more on the other sides point of views. and rather than delivering my opinions as statements i am asking questions that may foster
a reciprocal conversation. it's important to plant the seeds of understanding versus inflaming, combative and defensive dialogue. this has helped me harness a much nurturing relationship with people receptive on engaging in the topic. very wise, questions over comments. and finally, i am helping to keep our politics peaceful by treating everyone i encounter with the same humanity and respect i desire and believe we all deserve. well-said. that rule is golden for a reason. thank you for all your stories. sorry we couldn't get them in last week, but i'm glad we got them in tonight. remember to stay in touch anytime. follow us on twitter@the weekmsnbc or e-mail us. sit tight. stay tuned for on assignment, covid mutants with richard engel. that is next at the top of the
hour. we are back next saturday and sunday night. come on back and do bring a friend. but until we meet again, i'm joshua johnson. thank you for making time for us and make it a wonderful week. good night. it a wonderful week good night stay restless with the icon that does the same. the rx crafted by lexus. lease the 2021 rx 350 for $429 a month for thirty six months. experience amazing at your lexus dealer. for thirty six months. (man) i'm a verizon engineer, part of the team that built 5g right, the only one from america's most reliable network. we designed our 5g to make the things you do every day better. with 5g nationwide, millions of people can now work,
listen, and stream in verizon 5g quality. and in parts of many cities where people can use massive capacity, we have ultra wideband, the fastest 5g in the world. this is the 5g that's built for you. this is 5g built right. only from verizon. for skin that never holds you back don't settle for silver #1 for diabetic dry skin* #1 for psoriasis symptom relief* and #1 for eczema symptom relief* gold bond champion your skin gold bond honey honey? new nyquil severe honey is maximum strength cold and flu medicine with soothing honey-licious taste. nyquil honey. the nighttime, sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, stuffy head, fever best sleep with a cold medicine. new projects means new project managers. you need to hire. i need indeed. indeed you do. the moment you sponsor a job on indeed you get a short list of quality candidates from our resume database.
claim your seventy five dollar credit, when you post your first job at indeed.com/home. wanna build a gaming business that breaks the internet? that means working night and day... ...and delegating to an experienced live bookkeeper for peace of mind. your books are all set. so you can finally give john some attention. trusted experts. guaranteed accurate books. intuit quickbooks live. (burke) at farmers, we know a thing or two because we've seen a thing or two. like how nice it is to switch and save on your auto policy. but it's even nicer knowing that if this happens... ...or this happens... ...or this... ...or even this... ...we've seen and covered it. so, call 1-800-farmers to switch your auto policy and you could save an average of four hundred seventy dollars. get a quote today.
♪ we are farmers. bum-pa-dum, bum-bum-bum-bum ♪ when you switch to xfinity mobile, you're choosing to get connected to the most reliable network nationwide, now with 5g included. discover how to save up to $300 a year with shared data starting at $15 a month, or get the lowest price for one line of unlimited. come into your local xfinity store to make the most of your mobile experience. you can shop the latest phones, bring your own device, or trade in for extra savings. stop in or book an appointment to shop safely with peace of mind at your local xfinity store.
the secret to survival on our planet is change. in its relentless quest to carry on, life has a remarkable ability to adapt to its environment. in a never-ending process of trial and error, over millions of years evolution has endowed our plants and animals with wondrous powers to withstand the bitterest cold and to turn hardships into advantages.