Transcript: Can Humanity Defeat Infectious Disease? | Apr 27, 2021

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a gray suit, pale blue shirt, and spotted brown tie.

A caption on screen reads "Can humanity defeat infectious disease? @spaikin, @theagenda."

Steve says WHILE COVID-19 BOTH SHOCKED AND OVERTOOK MOST OF US AS WE NEVER IMAGINED POSSIBLE, PLAGUES AND PANDEMICS HAVE STALKED OUR SPECIES FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS. CHARLES KENNEY WAS AN ECONOMIST WITH THE WORLD BANK AND IS NOW A SENIOR FELLOW AT THE CENTRE FOR GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT AND THE AUTHOR OF "THE PLAGUE CYCLE: THE UNENDING WAR BETWEEN HUMANITY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASE," AND CHARLES KENNEY JOINS US NOW FROM WASHINGTON, D.C. ON THAT...

Charles is in his fifties, clean-shaven, with short gray hair. He's wearing glasses, a black suit and a blue shirt.
A picture of his book appears briefly on screen. The cover is black and dark red.

Steve continues IT'S GREAT TO HAVE YOU ON THE PROGRAM, CHARLES. HOW ARE YOU MANAGING?

Charles says GREAT TO BE HERE. MANAGING OKAY UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES.

Steve says THAT IS LINE OF THE WEEK I THINK. OKAY OR MAYBE OF THE PAST YEAR COME TO THINK OF IT. LET'S GET SOME HISTORY ON THE RECORD HERE AND WE'LL DO AN EXCERPT FROM YOUR BOOK RIGHT OFF THE TOP. SHELDON, LET'S BRING THIS GRAPHIC UP...

A quote appears on screen, under the title "The link between farming and infectious disease." The quote reads "In prehistory, infectious disease was widespread enough to play a large role in human evolution. But it still played a comparatively minor role in death, particularly when humans began to migrate out of Africa, outrunning many of the infections of their birthplace. What caused infectious disease to begin regaining the upper hand was when farming became a substitute source of sustenance."
Quoted from Charles Kenney, "The plague cycle." 2021.

Steve says YOU RAISE MANY THINGS THAT ARE FASCINATING AND WILL COME AS NEW INFORMATION TO MANY PEOPLE. LET'S START THERE AND HAVE YOU ELABORATE ON THIS CONNECTION BETWEEN FARMING AND INFECTIOUS DISEASE?

The caption changes to "Charles Kenny. Author, 'The plague cycle.'"
Then, it changes again to "A look back at history."

Charles says WELL, INFECTIONS LOVE DENSE, CONNECTED POPULATIONS. THE MORE HUMANS THAT ARE CLOSE AT HAND, THE MORE THE VIRUS... OR THE MICROBE... MORE TARGETS IT HAS TO LIVE IN. AND AGRICULTURE LEADS TO DENSER, CONNECTED POPULATIONS. DENSE BECAUSE THE AVERAGE FARMING COMMUNITY HAS A NUMBER OF PEOPLE PER SQUARE MILE OR SQUARE KILOMETRE, TEN, 20 TIMES WHAT HUNTER GATHERER SOCIETIES DO BUT ALSO, THEY STAY PUT. THEY STAY WHERE THEY ARE, FARMING THEIR FIELDS AND ONE OF THE THINGS THAT DOES IS IT MEANS THEY ARE NOT PRODUCING GOODS. RATHER THAN GETTING THEM THEY HAVE TO TRADE WITH OTHER PEOPLE TO GET THEM. THAT MEANS NOT ONLY ARE THERE MORE PEOPLE IN ONE SPACE, THEY ARE TRADING WITH LOTS OF OTHER PEOPLE. THEY ARE INTERACTING WITH LOTS OF OTHER PEOPLE AND THAT'S GREAT FOR DISEASE. IT MEANS IT CAN SPREAD ALL OVER THE PLACE. IN FACT, A NUMBER OF THE GREATEST KILLERS IN HUMAN HISTORY EMERGED AFTER FARMING AND CIVILIZATION, AFTER FARMING IN TOWNS. KILLERS LIKE MEASLES AND SMALL POX.

Steve says SO THERE IS NOTHING NEW ABOUT THE FACT THAT IN SOUTHWESTERN ONTARIO SOME OF THE WORST OUTBREAKS WERE AMONG MIGRANT WORKERS ON FARMS DOWN THERE. THAT'S BEEN GOING ON FOR GENERATIONS?

Charles says FOREVER.

Steve says OKAY. MAYBE COMPARE COVID-19 WITH OTHER PLAGUES THROUGHOUT THE COURSE OF HUMAN HISTORY. IN ANY SET OF METRIC THAT IS YOU PREFER TO USE, WHAT DO YOU SEE?

The caption changes to "Charles Kenny, @charlesjkenny."

Charles says IN TERMS OF DEATH RATES IT'S FAIRLY BUSH LEAGUE AND I DON'T MEAN TO DOWN PLAY THE HORRIBLE TOLL IT'S TAKEN. BUT, IF YOU COMPARE IT TO THE BLACK DEATH THAT KILLED A THIRD OR HALF OF THE POPULATION IN EUROPE, OR EVEN MORE TO THE DISEASE THAT IS FOLLOWED COLUMBUS ACROSS THE ATLANTIC, THAT WIPED OUT 80 percent TO 90 percent OF THE NATIVE POPULATIONS, IT'S SMALL BUT IT IS UNPRECEDENTED IN ITS ECONOMIC EFFECT. THE TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS IT'S COST AND IT TELLS YOU THE PRICE OF A PANDEMIC IN A GLOBALLY CONNECTED WORLD.

The caption changes to "Watch us anytime: tvo.org, Twitter: @theagenda, Facebook Live, YouTube."

Steve says I PRESUME IT'S BEEN LESS DEADLY BECAUSE OF THE 3 3 THINGS YOU OUTLINE THAT ARE GREAT ADVANTAGES SINCE THE 20TH CENTURY AND ON AND THEY ARE, OVER TO YOU, SIR?

Charles says SO WE HAVE 3 RESPONSES TO INFECTION THREE TIMES. WE HAVE HAD EXCLUSIONS, SO STAYING AWAY FROM DISEASE IF YOU WILL. WE HAVE SANITATION, KEEPING CLEAN AND MEDICAL RESPONSES, KEEPING HEALTHY AND ACTUALLY, THE FIRST TWO HAVE BEEN AROUND FOREVER PRETTY MUCH. EXCLUSION, IF YOU LOOK AT COMMUNITIES OF PRIMATES, IF A NEW MONKEY WANTS TO JOIN THE CLAN, THEY ARE KEPT AWAY FROM THE TROOP FOR THE FIRST WEEK OR TWO AND WE THINK ONE OF THE REASONS MIGHT BE TO CHECK OUT AND SEE IF THEY CARRY ANY STRANGE DISEASE WITH THEM. THAT HAS BEEN AROUND FOREVER AND PLAYED A ROLE THROUGH HISTORY. AND PEOPLE WITH HANSONS DISEASE IN THE MIDDLE AGES WERE DECLARED DEAD TO HUMAN KIND BUT YOU ALIVE TO CHRIST AND KICKED OUT OF CITIES. IN LATER TIMES WE HAVE SEEN QUARANTINE AND SO ON, AND RECENTLY OBVIOUSLY WE HAVE SEEN TRAVEL BANS AND WE HAVE SEEN SOCIAL DISTANCING. ALL OF THAT IS A FORM OF EXCLUSION TO KEEP AWAY FROM PEOPLE TAN WORKS. IT BE POWERFUL BUT CARRIES A HIGH COST AND CERTAINLY IN THE CASE OF DISEASES LIKE LEPROSY IT WAS UTTERLY UNNECESSARY AND THEN THERE IS SANITATION, AND THAT'S AGAIN, SORT OF GOES BACK TO PRE HISTORY. INDEED, GOING BACK TO APRILS. IF YOU LOOK AT APEs THEY SPEND TIME PICKING BUGS OFF EACH OTHER'S BACKS AND THE AP Es AT THE TOP OF THE SOCIAL STANDING GET THE MOST BUG CARE LIKE THE RICHEST HUMANS GET THE BEST HEALTH CARE. SO KEEPING CLEAN TO KEEP DISEASE AWAY AND ONE WE HAVE USED AND SOME OF THE EARLY CITIES HAD GREAT SEWAGE SYSTEMS. ROME TOOK SEWAGE OUT OF THE CITY AND INTO THE TIBER. OTHERS DIDN'T LEADING TO MASS OUTBREAKS OF CHOLERA. BUT INTO THE 20TH CENTURY MORE CITIES PUT TOGETHER FANTASTIC SANITATION SYSTEMS THAT HAVE BASICALLY MADE CHOLERA A THING OF THE PAST THROUGHOUT THE WORLD. AND THEN FINALLY AND THE MOST RECENT EVENT... MOST RECENT CONTRIBUTION HAS BEEN THROUGH MEDICINE. FOR MOST OF HISTORY, FRANKLY, MEDICINE DIDN'T DO MUCH GOOD. ONE OF THE CURES FOR THE PLAGUE WAS TO SHAVE A CHICKEN AND STICK ITS BACK SIDE ON THE BUBO THAT APPEARED WHEN YOU GOT THE PLAGUE. NOT A VERY EFFECTIVE APPROACH AS IT TURNS OUT BUT OVER THE LAST 200 YEARS WE STARTED TO SEE EFFECTIVE MEDICAL RESPONSES. SO, THE VACCINE, THAT ACTUALLY FIRST OF ALL WAS USED AGAINST SMALL POX AND WIPED THE DISEASE OUT WORLDWIDE, SOMETHING THAT WAS KILLING HUNDREDS OF PEELS MILLIONS IN THE... HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS IN THE LAST FEW KEN CENTURIES AND ANTIBIOTICS HELPED TRANSFORM THE BATTLE.

Steve says WE HAVEN'T DONE WELL PROCURING VACCINES IN THIS COUNTRY. SHOULD WE TRY THE SHAVED CHICKEN FOR THE HECK OF IT?

Charles says I WOULD STICK TO SOCIAL DISTANCING AND MASKING I'M AFRAID.

Steve says JUST ASKING.

Charles says IT WOULD BE MORE EFFECTIVE.

Steve says WOMEN'S PARTICIPATION IN SOCIETY YOU SAY IT'S BEEN DRIVEN BY PLAGUES. HOW SO?

Charles says CIVILIZATION BASICALLY WAS REALLY BAD FOR WOMEN. IT WAS BAD FOR EVERYBODY BECAUSE IT LED TO MORE INFECTION BUT THE PEOPLE SUFFERING THE MOST WERE WOMEN AND THAT'S BECAUSE MORE INFECTION, IN PARTICULAR, AFFECTS THE YOUNG. JUST IN ORDER TO KEEP POPULATIONS STABLE, WOMEN IN EARLY CIVILIZATION AND UP INTO THE 19TH CENTURY HAD TO HAVE AN AVERAGE OF 7 CHILDREN. SOME WERE HAVING MORE THAN THAT AND THIS AT A TIME WHEN THERE WEREN'T ANTIBIOTICS OR MODERN MEDICINE. HAVING CHILDREN WAS IMMENSELY DANGEROUS SO LOTS OF WOMEN SADLY DIED IN CHILD BIRTH. BUT MOST WOMEN SUFFERED SOME SORT OF ILLNESS OR DISABILITY AS A RESULT OF ALL THAT CHILD BIRTH. THAT'S TO SAY NOTHING OF THE BREASTFEEDING AND SO ON AND MADE THEM INTO SECOND CLASS CITIZENS AND I DEED ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS YOU SEE HAPPEN IN CIVILIZATION IS WOMEN ARE CHATTEL AND BECOMING EFFECTIVELY THE PROPERTY OF THEIR HUSBANDS AND ONLY OVER THE LAST 150 YEARS OF PROGRESS HAVE WE SEEN WOMEN REALLY MOVE TOWARDS EQUALITY. AND THERE IS A LOT BEHIND THAT, BEYOND THE DECLINE IN FERTILITY, DEET KLEIN IN CHILD DEATH, IT MEANS WOMEN ONLY NEED TWO AND A HALF CHILDREN JUST TO KEEP POPULATIONS STABLE. THERE IS A LOT MORE TO IT THAN THAT BUT ONE BIG FACTOR IS LESS CHILD BIRTH AND LESS MORTALITY AND MORBIDITY.

The caption changes to "Subscribe to The Agenda Podcast: tvo.org/theagenda."

Steve says LET ME ASK YOU ABOUT A STRATEGY THAT'S BEEN TRIED FOR MANY GENERATIONS AND WHETHER IT MAKES SENSE TO DO SO AGAIN TODAY. A CHAPTER CALLED THE EXCLUSION INSTINCT. THROUGHOUT HISTORY OUR NATURAL RESPONSE TO A DISEASE IS TO SHUT OURSELVES OFF FROM IT, WE TRY IT NOW AS WE TRY TO CLOSE OUR BORDERS AND TECHNICALLY WE HAVE A CLOSED BORDER SORT OF BETWEEN OUR TWO COUNTRIES AT THE MOMENT. HOW SUSTAINABLE AN IDEA IS THAT IN YOUR VIEW GOING FORWARD?

The caption changes to "Current landscape."

Charles says NOT VERY SUSTAINABLE AT ALL. IF YOU LOOK AT ALL OF WHAT WE HAVE DONE OVER THE LAST YEAR, IN TERMS OF TRYING TO SHUT DOWN TRAVEL, THE NUMBER OF INTERNATIONAL TRAVELERS LAST YEAR WAS ABOUT THE SAME AS IT WAS IN THE EARLY 1990s. NOW, I MENTIONED COLUMBUS EARLIER. COLUMBUS GOING ACROSS THE OCEAN IN THREE OR FOUR SHIPS WAS ENOUGH TO SET OFF A FIRE STORM OF DISEASE. IF YOU WANT TO STOP DISEASES TRAVELLING ACROSS THE OCEAN, YOU HAVE TO GO BACK TO THE 1400S. AND OF COURSE THAT WOULD BE ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL SUICIDE. WE CAN'T RESPOND AS A GENERAL RULE BY CLOSING BORDERS. NOW, I DO WANT TO BE CLEAR THERE ARE EXCEPTIONS. IN NEW ZEALAND AND TAIWAN AT THE MOMENT THEY HAVE COMPLETELY CONTROLLED COVID WITHIN THEIR BORDERS AND OF COURSE THEY SHOULD HAVE STRICT QUARANTINE SYSTEMS IN PLACE TO STOP NEW INFECTIONS COMING IN. BUT FOR MOST OF THE WORLD, FOR MOST OF LAST YEAR, THESE BORDER CONTROLS HAVE DONE NO GOOD AND ALL THEY HAVE DONE IS CAUSE GREATER HARDSHIP, GREATER ECONOMIC DAMAGE.

Steve says HOW CONCERNED ARE YOU ABOUT THE AMOUNT OF MIGRATION GOING ON IN THE WORLD TODAY?

Charles says I'M VERY CONCERNED. FAR TOO LITTLE OF T JUST TO TAKE AN EXAMPLE. I GOT MY FIRST VACCINE SHOT A WEEK OR TWO AGO I'M HAPPY TO SAY. AND THE PERSON WHO GAVE IT TO ME WAS A NURSE BORN IN VIETNAM. THE VACCINE SHE GAVE ME WAS DEVELOPED BY TWO TURKISH MY GRANTS LIVING IN GERMANY. ED UNDERLYING TECHNOLOGY WAS DEVELOPED BY A HUNGARIAN LIVING IN THE UNITED STATES THE COMPANY MAKING IT IS RUN BY A GREEK LIVING IN THE UNITED STATES. THIS IS THE POWER OF GLOBALIZATION. IT'S WHAT'S GETTING US OUT OF THIS MESS. PEOPLE MOVING ACROSS BORDERS, COLLABORATING ON RESEARCH, COLLABORATING ON INNOVATION, IS WHAT GAVE US VACCINES WITHIN A YEAR OF THE OUTBREAK OF THE DISEASE. IF WE CUT DOWN OR MIGRATION WE'LL CUT DOWN ON THAT INNOVATION, WE'LL BE WORSE OFF NEXT TIME. I WOULD ADD ONE MORE THING. IT PROBABLY IS FAIRLY OBVIOUS TO YOUR VIEWERS I WASN'T BORN IN WASHINGTON, D.C. I WAS BORN IN THE U.K., CAME TO THE STATES TWO DECADES AGO. I MET MY WIFE HERE. ABOUT 20 percent OF PEOPLE IN THE U.S. WHO ARE MARRIED ARE MARRIED TO PEOPLE FROM ANOTHER COUNTRY. IT'S NOT JUST ABOUT THE INNOVATION AND ABOUT THE RESEARCH AND ABOUT THE TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCE THAT COMES WITH PEOPLE MOVING ACROSS BORDERS, IT'S ALSO ABOUT QUALITY OF LIFE, ABOUT LOVE, ABOUT MAKING NEW FAMILIES AND SO WE HAVE GOT TO GET BACK AND BEYOND THE LEVEL OF MIGRATION WE SAW PRE COVID.

The caption changes to "Watch us anytime: tvo.org, Twitter: @theagenda, Facebook Live, YouTube."

Steve says HOW DO I PUT THIS? I HATE TO TELL YOU BUT MUCH OF WHAT I HEAR COMING OUT OF YOUR COUNTRY OVER THE LAST FOUR YEARS MAYBE NOT SO MUCH OVER THE LAST COUPLE OF MONTHS, BUT YES OVER THE LAST FOUR YEARS HAS NOT BEEN WE NEED MORE MIGRATION BUT, "BUILD THAT WALL." WHAT DO YOU SAY ABOUT THAT?

Charles says ABSOLUTELY AND ONE OF THE REASONS PEOPLE SAID IT WAS IMPORTANT TO BUILD A WALL WAS TO KEEP OUT DISEASE AND THERE IS NO EVIDENCE AT ALL THAT BUILDING A WALL DOES ANYTHING TO REDUCE LEVELS OF INFECTION ANYWHERE. I WOULD SAY IF YOU LOOK AT POPULAR OPINION POLLS THE PROPORTION OF PEOPLE SAYING THEY WANT TO SEE MIGRATION KEPT THE SAME OR INCREASED HAS NEVER BEEN HIGHER. MOST PEOPLE IN AMERICA REALIZE HOW VALUABLE MIGRANTS RAN LEARNED THAT EVEN MORE OVER THE LAST YEAR BECAUSE MANY OF THEM HAVE BEEN CARED FOR BY MIGRANTS AND SO I HOPE THAT ONE OF THE SILVER LININGS FROM COVID-19 IS AN ACCEPTANCE OF HOW IMPORTANT IT IS FOR PEOPLE TO BE ABLE TO MOVE ACROSS COUNTRIES AND AROUND THE WORLD.

Steve says YOU MENTIONED ONE OF THE KEY THINGS WE HAVE GOING FOR US NOW ARE VACCINATIONS, IN ORDER TO TAKE ON THE PLAGUES OF THE MODERN TIMES. I WONDER, YOU KNOW, WE WERE CHATTING BEFORE WE STARTED OUR INTERVIEW HERE. CANADA HASN'T HAD A GREAT RECORD IN TERMS OF PROCURING VACCINATION EVENS OF THAT, GETTING THEM INTO PEOPLE'S ARMS. BUT I DO WONDER WHETHER OR NOT WE'RE DOING BETTER OR WORSE AND THAT IS TYPICAL UNDER THE HISTORIC PATTERNS YOU HAVE ANALYZED. WHAT DO YOU SAY?

Charles says FOR MOST OF HISTORY THERE WOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN A VACCINE. WE HAVE ONLY HAD VACCINE TECHNOLOGY SINCE THE SMALLPOX VACCINE WAS INVENTED IN THE 1790s. BETWEEN THE SMALLPOX VACCINE IN THE 1790s AND GETTING TO GLOBAL ERADICATION OF A DISEASE THROUGH VACCINATION TOOK 170 YEARS. NOW, THERE IS A SHORTER GAP BETWEEN MEASLES AND DIPHTHERIA VACCINATION BEING INVENTED AND ROLLING OUT WORLDWIDE, A FEW DECADES. WE'RE MANAGING THIS IN THE NEXT YEAR, YEAR AND A HALF SAY. SO, BETWEEN THE DISEASE EMERGING AND MOST OF THE WORLD GETTING ACCESS TO VACCINES, PROBABLY TWO YEARS, TWO AND A HALF YEARS. IT MAY SEEM LIKE A LONG TIME AND IT IS FAR TOO LONG AND WE SHOULD HAVE DONE FAR BETTER AND BE MORE PREPARED NEXT TIME. BUT HISTORICALLY IT'S PRETTY GOOD.

Steve says HISTORICALLY WE'RE DOING BETTER NOW AND THAT IS USUALLY THE CASE.

Charles says THE BEST... THE BEST EVER. THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A CASE IN HISTORY WHERE WE HAVE SEEN SUCH A RAPID ROLLOUT. AGAIN, IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN MORE RAPID. WE SHOULD HAVE HAD MORE CAPACITY UP FRONT. WE SHOULD HAVE HAD A GLOBAL SYSTEM IN PLACE TO MAKE SURE THAT THE MOST VULNERABLE POPULATIONS WORLDWIDE WERE VACCINATED FIRST RATHER THAN THE RICHEST COUNTRIES AND SOME OF THE RICHEST COUNTRIES, PART ME. BUT STILL, IN HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE WE'RE DOING WELL. SO BETTER THAN EVER BEFORE AND NOT NEARLY AS WELL AS WE SHOULD HAVE BEEN.

Steve says LET ME COME AT THAT ONE MORE TIME. I HAVE SEEN STA TIX THAT SAY IT CAN... STATISTICS THAT SAY IT CAN TAKE 10-20 YEARS TO DEVELOP A VACCINE FOR A VIRUS HISTORICALLY SPEAKING WHICH IS A LONG PERIOD OF TIME AND IT WAS DONE THIS TIME IN A YEAR. SO THAT'S PHENOMENAL AND MAYBE LESS THAN A YEAR. SO THAT'S PHENOMENAL. BUT, THE PROCUREMENT AND THE ROLLOUT, THE ADMINISTRATION, EVEN BY HISTORIC STANDARDS AND AGAIN, WE FEEL WE'RE NOT DOING GREAT AT IT BUT BY HISTORIC STANDARDS WE'RE DOING BETTER THAN AVERAGE.

Charles says THAT'S RIGHT. WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE MEASLES VACCINE WHEN IT WAS INVENTED TO WHERE WE TRIED HARD TO MAKE SURE THAT EVERY CHILD WORLDWIDE WAS BEING VACCINATED, WE'RE STILL NOT THERE WITH MEASLES, NOT EVEN CLOSE BUT 80-90 percent OF CHILDREN ARE VACCINATED BUT THAT WAS DECADES NOT YEARS.

Steve says LET ME GET TO YOU PUT YOUR ECONOMIST HAT ON AND YOU TOLD US THE COST OF THIS PANDEMIC IS ASTRONOMICAL. SO WHAT DOES A GLOBAL RECOVERY LOOK LIKE, ECONOMICALLY TO YOU.

The caption changes to "The forecast."

Charles says HISTORICALLY WE BOUNCE BACK QUITE RAPIDLY FROM MOST PANDEMICS. IF YOU LOOK AT THE BLACK DEATH FOR EXAMPLE THERE IS A THIRD OR HALF OF THE EUROPEAN POPULATION WIPED OUT. ENGLAND AND FRANCE WERE FIGHTING THE HUNDRED YEARS WAR AT THE TIME AND THEY TOOK A SIX MONTH BREAK TO DEAL WITH THE OUTBREAK OF THE BLACK DEATH BUT THEN THEY WERE BACK TO FIGHTING AND THAT'S SORT OF HIT STORE CALL NORM. WE HAVE SEEN COUNTRIES AND ECONOMIES BOUNCE BACK QUITE RAPIDLY. I THINK WE'RE SEEING SOME OF THAT THIS TIME. CHINA'S ECONOMY LOOKED LIKE IT BOUNCED BACK WAY BEFORE THE END OF LAST YEAR. THE UNITED STATES, WE HOPE, WILL FOLLOW IN THE NEXT MONTHS. IF YOU LOOK AT GLOBAL TRADE, IT'S ALMOST BACK TO ITS LEVEL PRE-PANDEMIC. SO THERE ARE LOTS OF SORT OF HEALTHY SIGNS OVERALL FOR THE GLOBAL ECONOMY THAT WE'RE GETTING BACK ON TRACK. THAT SAID, THERE ARE A BUNCH OF COUNTRIES AND A BUNCH OF PEOPLE IN THOSE COUNTRIES THAT WILL SEE LONGER EFFECTS. SO, THOSE COUNTRIES ARE BEHIND IN VACCINE PROGRAMS I THINK THE EFFECT THERE WILL LAST FOR AT LEAST ANOTHER YEAR OR TWO. COMMUNITIES THAT WERE WORSE AFFECTED AND GROUPS WORSE AFFECTED, IN PARTICULAR, WOMEN SAW HIGHER RATES OF UNEMPLOYMENT AS A RESULT OF COVID-19 THAN MEN DID PRETTY MUCH WORLDWIDE, ESPECIALLY WHERE THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC WAS WORSE. AND I THINK IT WILL TAKE AWHILE FOR THEM TO GET BACK NOT TO PARITY, THEY WERE NEVER AT PARITY BUT TO GET BACK TO THE GAINS THEY HAD MADE PRE-PANDEMIC SO THERE SAY LOT OF WORK TO DUNE A LOT OF WORK TO DO TO REBUILD THE KINDS OF FLOWS OF PEOPLE WE WERE TALKING ABOUT EARLIER TO MAKE SURE... MAKE UP FORM A YEAR AND A HALF OF LOST CONNECTIONS. SO I THINK THERE WILL BE RUMBLING EFFECTS FOR THE NEXT FIVE OR SIX OR TEN YEARS. BUT I HOPE WE'RE BACK ON TRACK WITHIN A YEAR OR TWO AND YOU KNOW THERE IS REAL HOPE WE CAN CONTINUE THE KIND OF GLOBAL PROGRESS WE WERE MAKING PRE-PANDEMIC IN THE SECOND HALF OF THE 20s.

Steve says LET ME UNDERSTAND WHAT BACK ON TRACK MEANS. DOES THAT MEAN THAT THE PEOPLE WHO LOST THEIR JOBS BECAUSE OF THIS PANDEMIC WILL GET THEM BACK, THAT THE ASTRONOMICAL BUDGET DEFICITS WE'RE RUNNING NOW WILL BE A THING OF THE PAST AND WE'LL START TO BALANCE OUR BUDGETS AGAIN. IS THAT WHAT BACK ON TRACK MEANS?

Charles says CERTAINLY... SORRY. BACK ON TRACK MEANS FOR EMPLOYMENT I THINK YOU ARE RIGHT, EVERYBODY WHO HAD A JOB PRETTY MUCH WILL BE BACK IN WORK. WE'RE ALREADY GETTING A LOT CLOSER TO THAT. THERE IS SOME WAY TO GO BUT WE'RE ALREADY GETTING CLOSER TO THAT GLOBALLY. AND WHEN IT COMES TO THE DEFICITS, THEY WILL TAKE AWHILE TO PAY OFF. LUCKILY INTEREST RATES WORLDWIDE ARE STILL VERY LOW AT THE MOMENT SO THAT'S REASON FOR REASSURANCE AND SOME DEVELOPING COUNTRY ALSO SEE DEBT PROBLEMS AND THE WORLD BANK AND INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND OUGHT TO BE HELPING THEM WITH THEIR DEBT SITUATION. BACK ON TRACK MORE BROADLY, WHAT I MEAN IS THAT BEFORE THE PANDEMIC WE WERE SEEING IMMENSE GLOBAL PROGRESS ESPECIALLY AIM HAPPY TO SAY IN THE POOREST COUNTRIES. SO YOU SAW GLOBAL POVERTY RATES DROP DOWN REALLY FAST. NOW, THE COVID PANDEMIC OF LAST YEAR BROUGHT US BACK UP TO THE POVERTY RATES OF FIVE, SIX, 8 YEARS AGO BUT THAT'S A SIGN OF THE SPEED OF PROGRESS WE WERE MAKING. THE COVID PANDEMIC WHICH WIPED OUT ECONOMIES ONLY TOOK FIVE OR SIX YEARS OFF GLOBAL PROGRESS. I HOPE WE START TO MAKE THAT PROGRESS AGAIN VERY RAPIDLY SO THAT BY THE END OF THE DECADE WE'RE BACK ON TRACK TO BASICALLY SEE EXTREME POVERTY WIPED OUTER IN OUR LIFETIME AND WAY BEFORE OUR LIFETIME.

Steve says UNDERSTOOD. LET'S DO ONE MORE EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK NOW REMAINING MOMENTS AND AGAIN I'LL ASK SHELDON TO BRING THIS UP...

Another quote from Charles' book appears on screen, under the title "Humanity's choice." The quote reads "We have the technology and resources to confine infection to the status of a minor global annoyance – killing few, temporarily disabling more, but in the bush leagues of death rates. But there is also the pessimistic view: we have the technology -and infections have the natural capacity- to become a massive force for global death and decline. And we can make the future even darker by reacting late and at a cost to liberties. The choice is ours."

Steve says WHAT ARE KEY THINGS POLICY MAKERS OUGHT TO LEARN FROM HISTORY ABOUT HOW TO MANAGE THIS OR FUTURE PANDEMICS?

Charles says WE HAVE GONE FROM A WORLD WHERE THE AVERAGE PARENT HAD TO BURY A CHILD BEFORE THE AGE OF 5 TO WHERE THAT'S A RARE EVENT AND THAT'S SOMETHING WE HAVE TO PROTECT. AND WHAT WE HAVE LEARNED AGAIN OVER THE LAST YEAR IS THE ONLY WAY TO PROTECT AGAINST THE KIND OF PANDEMIC DISEASES THAT CAUSED THAT LEVEL OF DEATH IS TO WORK TOGETHER. WE CAN'T DO IT ALONE. WE CAN'T DO IT JUST AS CANADA OR THE UNITED STATES. IN THE CASE OF COVID THE DISEASE STARTED IN CHINA AND SPREAD BECAUSE OF A USELESS RESPONSE IN EUROPE AND THE UNITED STATES. IT MUTATED BECAUSE IT WAS OUT OF CONTROL IN BRAZIL AND THE U.K. AND SOUTH AFRICA. WE NEED THE WORLD TO WORK TOGETHER TO STOP THESE DISEASES BEFORE THEY BREAK OUT. IF WE CAN'T DO THAT TO STOP THEM AS THEY BREAK OUT WHEREVER THEY ARE BREAKING OUT, TO WORK TOGETHER ON TESTS, ON TREATMENTS, ON CURES, THAT'S THE WAY WE MAKE THE WORLD A SAFE PLACE AGAINST PANDEMICS. THE ONLY OTHER CHOICE AS I SAY IS TO GO BACK TO THE LEVEL OF INTERCONNECTION WE HAD IN THE 1400S AND IN THE 1400S MOST OF US LIVED LIVES OF EXTREME POVERTY AND DYING IN OUR 30s. WE DON'T WANT THAT. SO THE ONLY WAY TO GO IS TO GET CLOSER TOGETHER AND WORK CLOSER TOGETHER IN ORDER TO MAKE SURE THAT THE PANDEMICS DON'T EMERGE, THEY DON'T SPREAD AND THEY KILL AS FEW PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE.

Steve says ARE OUR RELATIONSHIPS WITH, FOR EXAMPLE, CHINA, TOO POOR RIGHT NOW TO PREVENT WHAT YOU HAVE JUST HOPED FOR FROM HAPPENING?

Charles says I DON'T THINK SO IF YOU LOOK AT THE SMALLPOX CAMPAIGN THAT WIPED OUT SMALLPOX R WORLDWIDE, THAT TOOK PLACE IN THE 60s AND 70s, THE HEIGHT OF THE COLD WAR, THE U.S. AND SOVIET WORKED TOGETHER AND THERE IS NO REASON THAT WESTERN CHINA CAN'T WORK TOGETHER ON THIS.

The caption changes to "Producer: Preeti Bhuyan, @PreetiBhuyan."

Steve says AND THAT IS AN ENCOURAGE PLACE TO LEAVE THIS. "THE PLAGUE CYCLE" IS CHARLES KENNY'S CONTRIBUTION TO OUR DISCUSSION AT THIS MOMENTOUS TIME IN OUR GLOBAL HISTORY. THE UNENDING WAR BETWEEN HUMANITY AN INFECTIOUS DISEASE. WE APPRECIATE THAT WONDERFUL CANADIAN ACCENT OF YOURS AND WE WISH YOU GODSPEED GOING FORWARD.

Charles says THANK YOU. STAY HEALTHY.

Watch: Can Humanity Defeat Infectious Disease?