Corona Crisis: The View From The Valley (w/ Balaji Srinivasan)
ASH BENNINGTON: Balaji, thank you for joining us at Real Vision. BALAJI SRINIVASAN: Hey, thank you for having me. ASH BENNINGTON: Balaji, we have so much to talk about today. You're such an interesting person. You've led such an interesting life in so many different domains as an angel investor, as an operating executive, and also as an academic at Stanford. We're going to get to all of that. But, first, tell us a little bit about your background and how you came to be where you are right now. BALAJI SRINIVASAN: So parents came from India. And I grew up on Long Island, New York. You say on Long Island, not from Long Island. Came out to Stanford as an undergrad and was there for quite a while. I got my BS, MS, PhD in electrical engineering, MS in chemical engineering. Then I taught computer science, stats, and bioinformatics at Stanford for a few years. My PhD work was in microbial genomics and also did genetic circuits, clinical genomics systems biology. Basically everything in genomics, I had a finger in that. And then, after that, I started a genomics company with some of my colleagues from Stanford that ended up eventually selling for $375 million, basically a diagnostics company that tested for Mendelian diseases like sickle cell, cystic fibrosis, Tay-Sachs, stuff of that nature. And what I was able to do after that is I became an angel investor. I invested in-- I was an early investor in Bitcoin, Soylent, Superhuman, Lambda School, Cameo, Ethereum, Zcash, a bunch of things that have done well, some things your audience may have heard of. I was a general partner Andreessen Horowitz, multibillion dollar venture capital firm where some of my portfolio companies ended up becoming the base of our bio and then also our crypto funds, which are now large independent funds. I taught a MOOC course, a massively open online course, with 250,000 students online, so a very large online course. And then, most recently, I took over one of our portfolio companies at Andreessen Horowitz, turned that around-- a messy situation, which I fixed, so I had to be a turnaround CEO. Turned it around, sold it to Coinbase, which is an $8 billion cryptocurrency company. I was CTO of Coinbase until last year. And then I took some time off. And then, starting in January, basically, right about when I was about to my next thing, I started paying attention to this coronavirus and tweeted about that and, I think, helped, among many other people, raise the alarm on that, especially in Silicon Valley and the West coast and that brings us to the present day. ASH BENNINGTON: You were very early on coronavirus. And many people know you now from your Twitter feed, the things that you've been tweeting, your analysis and the framework that you've brought to that through academic rigor and the background in biotech, kind of converging to give us a bit of a sense of the way you think about the world. BALAJI SRINIVASAN: That's very kind of you. I, basically, have a few filters that I was putting on it as a diagnostics person also, certainly, as like a VC, as a biotech entrepreneur. As an academic, I would study this kind of stuff for a long time. The space is very interdisciplinary. There's nobody who's an epidemiologist and a pulmonologist and a cardiologist and this and that. But from a bioinformatics and genomics and diagnostic standpoint, I think, at least on those angles, I think I was qualified to comment. ASH BENNINGTON: Right, and there were certainly no COVID-19 experts as recently as six months ago. BALAJI SRINIVASAN: Yeah, that's right. That's right. And I think one of the things about this is it's so broad. Everybody has to have some-- if you're doing any kind of economic planning, you're basically going to have to be an amateur epidemiologist in the sense that you have to have your personal forecast of how bad that things are going to be. And you simply can't just, quote, trust experts because enough experts disagree with each other that there isn't a obvious consensus, number one. And number two is, in such a high stakes situation, you probably want to do your own diligence to some extent. So it's something where I don't think anybody can possibly be an expert in everything. There's a great article in, actually, BMJ recently, which said, hey, we need to create experts, not hoard expertise, not pretend that there's a finite pool of it because that person was, at one point, just an undergrad, read a textbook, and leveled up in the space. And you might be able to do that in a day. But, in a month, you can actually get reasonably conversant with some of these terms. I'm not saying expert, but I am saying like conversant. And I think that's actually a valuable thing to do. Everybody's been talking about serology and IFRs and all this type of stuff. The vocabulary is filtered out there. And I think this is actually generally good. Maybe we can get into that. ASH BENNINGTON: Yeah, so set the stage for us a little bit, where you were in January, how you came to be aware of it, and what your first exposure to it was. BALAJI SRINIVASAN: Yeah, so Twitter is a hobby of mine, like it is for many people who enjoy wasting time in the Uber or whatever. And so I was basically following this virus like 20 other things you might follow in your peripheral Vision It just kind of pops up on your radar because, when you're an investor or something like that, this is what you do. You're tracking a bunch of trends. And many of them fizzle out before they get anywhere. But this one in particular, what was, obviously, a huge deal was the lockdown of Wuhan on January 23. And the thing is that the Chinese government is not known for committing economic harakiri. It's not known for committing economic suicide. There's a lot of other things it does that we might disagree with. And I might well agree with you in that disagreement. But it's not dumb or self-destructive in quite this way. And, for it to do that, that was an unfakeable signal to the world that something very serious was going on that endangered the regime's legitimacy to a greater extent than potentially causing a huge economic crash could. And so that got my attention. The other thing is-- some of my friends here in tech, we were talking about this. But, in Silicon Valley, in technology, you're dealing with folks, Chinese entrepreneurs, who are very competent and, often, frankly, will defeat you, certainly in China and often abroad because they just execute really, really fast. And they work very hard. And they're smart. And they can clone your stuff really fast. But now they've also been able to innovate. And so we have a healthy respect for them as peer competitors and folks who we have to give it our A game with. It's possible to win. I think, for example, Facebook, and Google have done well against Tencent and Alibaba, internationally. It's possible to win. They're not unbeatable. But you have to give your A game or your A-plus game. And, when we saw that China was having trouble with this, not just trouble but overturning society to control it, that made us very concerned because we don't have the model of them being a thirdworld country. This is a very sophisticated, very technologically advanced country that's ahead of the United States and the rest the world, in many ways, especially things like WeChat or what have you. For them to struggle with this, I really had to pay attention. So that was a big trigger. And then I started digging into literature. ASH BENNINGTON: Yeah, that's such an interesting frame, the notion that the Chinese were certainly not about to shut down a city in such a key industrial area if they did not absolutely have to. So, when you began to see that, at what point did you begin to understand the biology of it and what was happening in terms of the actual disease itself? BALAJI SRINIVASAN: Well, so the first thing I did after I saw what was going on there is I went to PubMed, and I went to NEJM, New England Journal of Medicine, and the Lancet. And I just started reading every article I could on it. Now this space is gigantic. There's thousands and thousands of papers. It's actually awesome from a research standpoint, in that sense. You can't keep up on all of it. There's actually a good site-- I think, it's covid19primer.com that is like an automated natural language trusting review of the whole thing to kind of keep on [INAUDIBLE] that way so you don't do a hand filter it. But I went to the New England Journal of Medicine and the Lancet and read the early case studies on the patient zeros and so on. And some of the stuff was very concerning. the first study of somebody who had gotten the coronavirus in the US, healthy 35-year-old who was knocked to the ground in Washington state. And basically, he was going to die until he was put on remdesivir intravenous. And then he suddenly bounced back. But at that prescription was-- to the best of my knowledge of but I can reconstruct from public sources, and I'm open to correction on this-- but appears to have been done via "right to try" laws since it looks like they just worked with state regulators and only notified the FDA rather than actually going through the FDA. And that's a very big deal because it means that maybe the first case in the US was treated with the "right to try" laws as opposed to going through a traditional pathway. That's a theme we can come back to, what I call the decentralized response as opposed to a centralized response, a bottleneck through the federal government, for example. ASH BENNINGTON: Yeah, I think it's so interesting to have you talk about this because you bring what I think of as kind of a West Coast perspective to this, a West Coast thinking of framework where the centralized authorities are not the ones who are controlling solutions, that it's very entrepreneurial and experimental, which is really an interesting view. BALAJI SRINIVASAN: Yeah, I think, to linger on that for a second. I actually think we're now about to actually snap to a new realignment slash political alignment of the US, that the northsouth divide is, I think, much less relevant. And what actually matters is broadly East Coast versus West Coast, centralized versus decentralized modern monetary theory versus bitcoin, the state versus the network, politics versus technology. And I think that is really where things are going to shape up. And it's kind of the emerging axis. And what's interesting is I sort of put myself, in some ways, dead center on that, even though I'm a West Coast person, because, right now, I think the emerging political axis in the US and probably the world is not traditional left-right but antivirus versus pro market. And what I mean by that-- maybe that's obvious. But let me just drill into that for a second. Antivirus means the total state, the unlimited government, because you're talking with a government that's able to put you under house arrest for doing nothing wrong, not just you but an entire town, an entire city. What was unprecedented in China on January 23 is now common practice in the west, hundreds of millions of people under so-called lockdown. So, OK, house arrest for anybody, no due process-- and I am saying that these extraordinary measures may actually hold back the virus. But they will not be given up by governments at the end. The first lockdown maybe to protect you from the virus and the end lockdown maybe to protect you from each other, especially if a huge chunk of people are out of work, there's civil unrest, or something like that. I can't say it's 100% probability, but there's some percentage probability of that. So you have the total state. You have lockdowns. You have price controls. You have border controls. You have the ability to tell people that they need to get tested, for example, in China, that you have to have forehead thermometers and all these scans, so like repeals, effectively, on search and seizure. So lots and lots of due process goes out the window because you're basically in a wartime situation against a virus. I think-- people have been talking about, this is a recession. This is depression. And I think those are fundamentally bad metaphors for what this is. This is the first successful invasion of the United States of America in modern times by a virus and, really, by anything. But, really, an invasion is really the best metaphor because tens of thousands of people are being killed, millions are being sickened, like actual physical production is being shut down involuntarily, not due to fully for economic reasons but to physical reasons. People are getting sick and dying and leaving their posts. Or are getting sick enough that, for example, meatpacking plants want to shut down. So on the one end is this total state. And on the other end is the market. And that's where the kind of anti-lockdown protests and a lot of that sentiment comes from, very understandably. You've got 25 million people out of work. And so this is a reaction to price controls, to seizures of masks, to bailouts, to all of this type of stuff. And that's kind of the libertarian-ish end of the spectrum, the freedom end, the privacy end, the "don't tread on me" end, et cetera. And that's kind of the axis, I think, that's there not just in the US but the whole world. And I think that's kind of dead center of where East versus West Coast is. ASH BENNINGTON: And where do you see yourself on that continuum as you look at this problem? BALAJI SRINIVASAN: My preferred strategy-- so it's interesting. A lot of people are thinking about this as a trade off between how many cases you get with the virus and how long your lockdown is, with the implication being that you'd get fewer cases for the virus the longer you're locked down or vice versa, that economic damage and viral damage were inversely correlate with each other. But I actually don't think that's the case. I think that, when all is said and done, the countries that have the short, sharp, competent lockdowns will have much less economic damage and less viral damage. So New Zealand or, actually, China, I think, on net is going to turn out to have a relatively better outcome than many other countries, potentially, so, certainly, Taiwan, South Korea, et cetera. Even these Asian countries that are having second waves are jumping on top of it very aggressively. And I think that model of aggressively jump on this thing, don't just let it get to 100%. Drive new cases to zero. And then gradually open up with testing, tracing, isolating, such that you don't just let a case happen until you've got a cure or a vaccine and you deploy that, that's the New Zealand strategy. That seems to me to be a smart strategy. The opposite of that is just kind of what I call "let it rip". And my friend from Twitter, John Stokes, calls it "the great yolo". And that's kind of what we're defaulting into, which is the sort of disorganized thing where we kind of do a halfway lockdown. People understandably yell. I don't make light of them yelling. They're losing jobs and livelihoods. But then what they're going to find, I think, is they come back and half the business isn't there already because people will social distance even without a lockdown. And then more business will disappear because people will get sick. And then they'll stay home at home. And now you've got both the virus and the economic destruction and kind of worst of both worlds. Unfortunately, I think that's where countries in the west, many of them are headed. ASH BENNINGTON: Right, and, to pick up on that, where do you think we are now? We're recording here at the end of April. Where do you think we are in terms of the state of play with this virus right now in the United States and globally? BALAJI SRINIVASAN: Well, so there's a really good site called covid-- so there's two sites that I look at. The first is covidtracking.com and all the sites that use that data. And covidtracking.com is looking at tests, cases, deaths, et cetera. And it's a really good project by Alexis Madrigal and company. And, basically, they were just finding that the CDC wasn't able to track tests. So they went and it themselves. Massive props to them. That site is updated very frequently, very labor intensive effort. And it's pulled by a bunch of other folks. And, if you go to a website called covidcharts.com, basically-- you have to wait until the end of the day. But the new cases per day and new deaths-- all right, so, looking at April 27, it does look like it's down, at least as of this morning or whatever, but you have to wait a few days to see that. In general, it doesn't look like we have massively decelerated yet. It doesn't seem like the deaths or cases have come down. But people are like, oh, it happened in New York City, and so on. Well, actually, it happened in New York City, and it came down in New York City. But it's in 49 other places, 49 other states. So I think we're just at the beginning of this thing, unfortunately. And I think that people who think, oh, the pandemic is over, oh, it only happened in New York City, it's going to come to their town, potentially. And ASH BENNINGTON: How do you think about the trajectory of the right now in the United States, just from a disease-impact standpoint? BALAJI SRINIVASAN: Yeah, so one thing that-- so a few things I think are clear-- and let me at least give you my world view on it because there's some very big variation in people's thinking on this. First is I'm pretty skeptical of the serology work that came out of Stanford and USC and others. I wrote a long Medium post critiquing it, and so did a bunch of other people because I think the false-positive rates of those assets are very high. Why is that important? There's basically been this thesis that, oh, a bunch of people have already gotten it. Because they've already gotten it, it's already spread a lot. That means we're close to the end. We're already at 20% or whatever, 30%. Just a little bit more, and we're almost done with this. And the reason I think that's unlikely is it would mean that this virus is way more contagious than other pandemics. Like H1N1, or the Spanish flu, took more than a year to get around the world. H1N1 was in the age of modern jet travel. i be spreading really fascinating. I think that's unlikely. And I also think that those kinds of calculations don't really contend with the second major metric that I think is important, which is this guy-- his name is John Burn something from the-- John Burn-Murdoch from the Financial Times. J Burn-Murdoch, B-U-R-N, not B-R-N-S. So that guy has a very useful set of graphs that is something I'd been talking about since March or April. And they took that next level. And they've created graphs of the spike in death rate over the historical average, so the spike in all-cause mortality across a dozen countries. And the thing is that I start from the premise that this is the best test. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has now got into the scale that it is a very significant cause of death in more than a dozen around the world. Actually, way more than a dozen, by at least a dozen for which we have good data. And because it is at that scale, that means that you can compare it to past years. And you can see how many excess deaths there are. And the reason that's important is death is-- well, from a diagnostic standpoint, I don't mean this in a callous way. But death has high test-retest reliability. It can be diagnosed outside a lab. You don't really have false positives, and so on and so forth. So lots of the issues that bedevil other kinds of diagnostic tests are not there with death. And it's also something where you have probably the best records that you might have. If you talk about, oh, does somebody have a pneumonia? The diagnosis of pneumonia would probably differ from country to country in terms of like what a doctor would call pneumonia. But death doesn't differ from country to country. So it's the most consistent across space and time. It's easier to diagnose. So it's really the best stat, unfortunately. And those stats are showing just a pileup of bodies. There's a huge surge of mortality in not just Italy, but Spain and a bunch of other countries, including New York City. And J. Burn-Murdoch has that. So that's the second set of charts that I look, the all-cause mortality charts. ASH BENNINGTON: This was something that came into sort of the broader consciousness, I think, yesterday, where, effectively, there were some articles saying that all-cause mortality seemed to suggest that the death rate from COVID was twice as high as was being reported from other diagnostic criteria, which is obviously an enormous gap. BALAJI SRINIVASAN: Well, yeah, so I was just saying, though, that not-- definitely not to thumb my own chest, but because-- if you look at my Twitter, we've been talking about this since March and pulling up analyses that were kind of-- So there's a guy, Dellanna Luca, was doing these analyses in Italy. There's another guy, David Bessis. So kind of tech Twitter or whatever has been kind of digging into this for a while now. And so we had already kind of had the numbers to show that spike and all-cause mortality like a month ago. But great credit to John Burn-Murdoch because he's taking it next level and actually gone have pulled it for even more countries and gotten the government stats in a bunch of different places to kind of solidify the analysis. So let's call that basically just anchoring the severity of disease. Now, who is it severe for? The short answer is it's very severe for, A, old people, meaning 65 plus in particular-- but, as you get older, just risk increases-- and, B, people with pre-existing conditions, OK. But the second bit should not be that reassuring, especially to Americans because they have a pretty high rate of obesity and heart disease and so on and so forth. It's an amazing number of unfortunate Americans who have one or more of those comorbidities. So people who are like, oh, you know, like that's not me. And they're 53 and overweight. Well, they're kind of in a relatively higher-risk category. And you can look at the stats on it. It differs from study to study. But the CDC had some numbers on this. And they did a whole demographic workup. The other thing, though, it's not that people are immune when they're younger. Something like, if I recall correctly, 25% of hospitalizations were for those under 50. So 75% were over 50. But 25% were under 50. And that's not 0%. Some of the stats other states have seen is something like 13% hospitalization rate for people 18 to 44. And I know people who've been very sick from it, just kind of qualitative evidence to buttress that. By the way, on the topic of anecdote, by the way, people say, well, the plural of anecdote is not data. And I would agree except that qualitative feedback often allows you to formulate a quantitative hypothesis. And that's why it's actually super important in tech startups, just to digress for a second, to talk to customers as well as look at your dashboards because you talk to a customer. And they say, oh, I had trouble logging in. Then you put up a new dashboard, see how many people had trouble logging in. You see 1,000 people have trouble logging in. So the, quote, anecdote led you to collect data that-- So we should never discount the value of a patient study. That's actually really, really important because it lets us, maybe, look at things from an angle we weren't considering and then collect data to see if that observation is real. So point basically being, A, I think it's a quite severe. B, it's severe in the elderly and people with pre-existing conditions. C, that doesn't mean the younger people have clean sailing of it. And, D, something else I'm concerned about is folks who were so-called asymptomatic. Many of them appear to be not asymptomatic but pre-symptomatic, meaning that you do follow up on them, and suddenly you're seeing CT scan of their lungs is actually showing evidence of viral damage. And now, they start coughing, or they have other kinds of symptoms. And so, for at least some people, the virus is like a slow burn, which is bad because it's kind of hiding. And so there's other things where the sheer number of different kinds of symptoms this thing is causing in folks, we're still kind of getting the table. People are reporting strokes. They're reporting weird lesions in the toes. Whether this is due to simply just the scale of it, causing lots of rare cases, whether it is due to it actually mutating and there being different strains doing different things that some people have speculated, we don't really know yet. But I would just treat this thing as being fairly severe and not something you want to mess with. And so I think the strategy of like in Singapore or New Zealand is probably right. OK, I know that's a long answer. But go ahead. ASH BENNINGTON: I'm so glad you brought that up. The two sorts of things that I was really trying to reconcile from yesterday was the report of the double all-cause mortality based on some of the analysis that we were just discussing. And the second point was there was a study coming out of the state of Ohio, I believe, about testing prisoners, showing that 96% of the prisoners they tested were, in fact, asymptomatic and trying to reconcile those two propositions, on the one hand, something that would suggest the disease is much worse on the surface than it appears, and then the second, suggesting the opposite. It is a very complex problem to get our heads around. BALAJI SRINIVASAN: Yeah, and I think-- my speculation is that those asymptomatic prisoners, many of them will develop symptoms. I tweeted this a little while ago. But, in a follow-up study of the different kinds of follow-up studies of the asymptomatic, like 27%, 54% in different studies develop symptoms at some point. Yeah, I think that's what's going to happen with those prisoners, that they're not going to remain asymptomatic indefinitely. Not all, but many of them. ASH BENNINGTON: So one of the things that you talked about on Twitter is the viral funnel. Can you explain that a bit? BALAJI SRINIVASAN: Yeah, so I tweet about this in March. But, basically, there's lots of different efforts flying around and where do you want to help. So, ideally, where it saves the most lives, given your skills. So the funnel model comes from startups. You've got a bunch of leads at the top of the funnel. These are people who might be out there. And then some of them click and land on your website. And some of them click a little bit more, and they end up in a cart. And then some of them all the way convert and so on. And maybe they renew the subscription or they churn. It might seem like trivial startup lingo. But you can apply the same thing to the virus. You've got this group of healthy people out there. Then they're exposed. Then some of them get infected. Some get sick. Some of them actually die or recover. That's similar to like the SCRI models, the epidemiological models, and so on. And so you can think of interventions at different portions of the viral funnel. For example, like for healthy people, masks, social distancing, lockdown, vaccines, tests, those kind of things you can do on healthy people. When you talk about if someone's exposed, you do more tests. You do CT scan. You do not just PCR, but you might do sequencing or whatever if you think they're being exposed to a strain that you want to know about. If they're infected, then you'd actually isolate them. You need hospital beds or some kind of quarantine area. You're going to potentially need drugs. If they're really sick, then hospitalization, PPE for MDs and nurses and, if they're recovered, maybe serology tests. And so now, once you kind of had that funnel, when you say, OK, I'm doing PPE, you're actually at like stage four of the funnel because you're helping sick people, because you're giving PPE to MDs and nurses. Oh, but maybe you might help at the top of the funnel as well because some of those masks could go to people who are healthy. So, in this fashion, you can kind think about where you want to allocate resources. And, really, the best thing you could do is stop healthy people from getting sick in the first place. So that's why, for the last few weeks of March and early April, I was helping out Jeremy P. Howard launched Masks4All, which was very effective in basically shifting policy on this, where the Surgeon General was, at first, saying, oh, people, you shouldn't wear masks, and then literally recorded himself making a video wearing a mask, which is good. I'm glad they turned around on this. But, essentially, that common sense intervention is something that, we think, will significantly reduce the spread of the disease. So the idea of the viral funnel is to prioritize different things, interventions, based on the impact from the funnel. ASH BENNINGTON: The frightening thing about hearing you discuss that is it sounds as though that sort of thinking hasn't broadly taken place at scale yet. It sounds as though the basic sort of staging and framework of this is still at the position where it is a novel idea. BALAJI SRINIVASAN: Yeah, so the thing that has been concerning to me about this whole way is this whole thing is rear-wheel drive, where the folks with scientific, technical, mathematical, management backgrounds are not in politics. And they're generally not in the media either, at least as writers. And so what then means is the folks who are talking about what to do and the folks who are responsible for making the decisions are just-- there isn't a critical mass of folks who know what a virus is, for example. And so you just have-- it's not a partisan thing, by the way. It's the federal bureaucracy. It is the mayor of New York and the White House. It is the FDA and the CDC. All major media outlets have had "just the flu"-type stuff, and not just "just the flu" but masks don't work and then masks work, just face plant after face plant on this. So I think, yeah, I'm pretty concerned about the fact that the folks who I think of as competent are outside of the loop on making decisions on this or are doing kind of rear-wheel drive. You're tweeting frantically to try to get the attention of somebody as opposed to just being in the position to make decision yourself. ASH BENNINGTON: Another suggestion that's getting a fair amount of traction is this notion of immunity passports. This is something I spoke about into the mainstream media at this point. Could explain that concept and tell us where we are with regard to being able to actually execute on that? BALAJI SRINIVASAN: Yeah, so that's something-- basically, immunity passport's a proof of health. That could help reopen the world, whether it's based on serology testing, which is, hey, do you have antibodies like immunity in that sense, or some other kind of test. Essentially, for example, in Asia, people have forehead thermometers, and they stand outside of buildings. And they kind of scan people as they walk by. And that's not a perfect test because people can be asymptomatic and still pass and so on. But it gives you some signal. And so you can start thinking about defense in depth. You have, for example, wearables like your Fitbit Aria. There are studies going into whether that gives you signal. There's your forehead thermometers. There's certainly your self report. There is a digital diagnosis of whether you're close to somebody else, contact tracing. Were you close to another positive? Can we send you a signal on that basis, which smartphone manufacturers can do now? I know it's Orwellian. But they can. Another test is these kind of thermal scans from afar. There's these really high throughput CT scans of the Chinese have, where it's really fast and it can do a bunch of them quickly. There's obviously PCR. There's sequencing. And so you start to have a defense in depth. Right and it's something I tweeted about, I said, China is going to build the third Great Wall as a function of this. There's a Great Wall, the Great Firewall. They're building the Great Biowall of China, like a gigantic biodefense wall of testing and other kinds of things, eventually vaccines, just fortify themselves in many different ways so, if the virus breaks through one fortification, it doesn't break through another and yet another. And so that's, I think, a good mental model also for proof of health or these immunity passports, where you have a series of tests that are done on somebody. And, in China, the way of doing it is green code, yellow code, red code. Your WeChat has either green, yellow, or red, corresponding to your current virus status. So green is you're fine. Yellow, you've been exposed and need to be quarantined. You can't travel between cities and so on. And red, you're known to be infected. And so that digital status is contagious just like the virus is. If a red walked into a crowd of 20 greens, it would turn yellow, for example. At least, that's my-- that's one's understanding of it. So that's the kind of stuff that all goes into something like this immunity passport. And, frankly, in a sense, it already existed because you need vaccination certificates to immigrate to a country. The US has needed that for a long time. You get a cool vaccination certificate. So this is kind of like that. A vaccination cert is, are you going to bring a deadly virus into our shores? That's the same reason to ask, are you bringing in snails? Or you bringing in animals and stuff like that? They'll always ask those kinds of questions, the agricultural things. So we want to know, are you bringing something that can reproduce of its own accord and maybe get out of control, something that has no natural predators? All the type of stuff, unbalanced ecosystems. And I think that's what this is. It's like a vaccination cert. It's like one of those questions about whether you're bringing in animals, except it's applied to a virus. And it's also done obviously in a much more intrusive and realtime way. ASH BENNINGTON: And, on the treatment side of this equation, you talked about the expanded, the "right to try". Tell us a little bit about what that is and why it's relevant for getting the kinds of treatments that we need to see. BALAJI SRINIVASAN: Yeah, so what the FDA did in February was basically catastrophic. It's now known that they prevented emergency use authorizations for tests and, in so doing, turned a containable epidemic into a catastrophe. What essentially happened was labs that could have run tests that would have shown that the coronavirus epidemic was actually-- it was spreading, they were prevented from running tests by the FDA for a critical 28-day period and only really allowed to run on the 29th. Once the tests actually started to run, it was clear that we had a massive outbreak on our hands. And so where things might have been nipped in the bud because what happened was the lack of testing gave everybody a false sense of security over the course of February, when the fire was still at a relatively early stage. So that's my point. My point is, that's potentially the greatest failure in the history of not just the FDA, maybe of the greatest failures ever in the history of the United States. It cost the country trillions of dollars, tens of millions of jobs, simply because bureaucrats didn't approve tests fast enough. And that's just something that's perceptible to people. It's a catastrophe on such a scale that's perceptible. Most of the times that something is denied for multiple sclerosis or like colon cancer, it's not visible on that scale. It's not something where everybody has a stake in it, where it's super-- there's lots of eyes on it. It's more deniable. So with respect to the FDA, there's been pads to route around it in the past. And, critically, those pads don't say, no regulation. They just say a different regulator to put some competitive pressure on this regulator. So some of them, for example, compounding pharmacies are one where pharmacists have some discretion in order to kind of mix drugs together to get a new drug. Off the little prescription by MDs-- you can have a drug that's approved for purpose A that a doctor, in their own discretion, can prescribe for purpose B. There's been CLIA and clinical labs, where you can, basically, go and have individual labs that are not necessarily FDA-regulated but they're regulated by a different agency also under HHS-- under CMS. So HHS' parent, it's got FDA, and it's got CMS. Under CMS is something called CLIA, and CLIA works with state regulators to approve clinical labs, to rollout tests. And then, of course, there's other countries. And so each of these are pathways that are outside of the FDA. And if the FDA wants to shut them down, usually, they've been kind of waging a war against lab tests and compounding pharmacies and so on for a while. Right-to-try is yet another pathway outside the FDA where, basically, people have, as it sounds like, the right to try a drug. And they just have state regulators sign off on it and then, under some circumstances, give notice to the FDA because the procedure for actually getting approval to use a drug is actually extremely bureaucratic normally and that person is dying. And so now you just give a notice to the FDA rather than going through that whole rigmarole. The one thing also, by the way, a lot of the FDA stuff, where it blocks things, it causes failure to apply rather than necessarily failure to get approved. And those are similar in outcome. But failure to apply is less measurable because it's top of the funnel. It's such a complicated and timeconsuming process that people don't even put in an application. And, therefore, it's harder to detect the full impact of what it is they're doing, if that makes sense. Because many of these companies and labs that were turned down for these authorizations, EUAs, may not have filed formal applications. They just got informal feedback that, you know, OK, they can't get one in time. So what does this have to do with expanded "right to try"? So, right now, there's all these different pathways outside the FDA for drugs via off label, for labs via CLIA, for drugs, again, via compounding pharmacies, for which everything via going internationally like medical tourism. An expanded "right to try" would basically just expand all of this. And one model would be something where these-- like, for example, this Western States Compact. California, Oregon, Washington, and also Colorado, Nevada have joined this, OK. So this Western States Compact now could basically say, look, we're going to have Stanford, UW, Berkeley, UCSF, and Cedars-Sinai, which are all very legit, based on the west coast. We could throw in UC Boulder, something like that. And those are universities that will work with state regulators to approve drugs, diagnostics, and vaccines, and what have you. You do the same thing for this Upper Midwest Compact, where the Mayo Clinic is working with the local regulators to approve things. And same thing in the Northeast, you have Harvard and MIT. And same thing in the New York [INAUDIBLE] Area Compact, you have Columbia and Cornell. And, by doing this, now suddenly you've got four or five six, effectively, regulators in-- and each of these regions has like 80 million people or something fairly big. They're essentially European countries. But, now, there's competition for the FDA. And you're not giving up on safety. You're not giving up on quality. What you've got, though, are folks who have an incentive to balance quality with speed and with cost, which really, really matter in a pandemic, very obviously so. But it's also true at other times. It's just not somewhere where everybody's eyes are on it. ASH BENNINGTON: Are you optimistic about our ability to actually execute on this in a reasonable time frame in a way that can get actual results for this particular crisis? Or is this something that we're look out for, potentially, mitigating future issues? BALAJI SRINIVASAN: So expanded "right to try" would be, if not a silver bullet, certainly a very, very useful bullet that can be tried right now that's unlock a lot of biomedical innovation. And I think, frankly, it's the only way-- yes, the horse has left the barn in some ways. The fire is going to burn for quite a while. But we need to-- even if this fire burns the US more than it burns other countries-- and it looks like it will-- we still need fire hoses. So we have to unlock that biomedical innovation even if-- I shouldn't say too little, too late because it would be great if this had been done five years ago. Five years ago, for example, the Apple Watch had a bunch of diagnostic, great stuff in it that the FDA forced them to either take out or nerf. This report of the Wall Street Journal, for example. And so, had that been in there, had-- for example, 23andMe, the FDA ran a campaign against them, if we had 100 million people with genome sequences, maybe we'd know the pharmacogenomics and immunogenomics of this thing. So, yes, it would have been much better had we done this five years ago, 10 years ago. But today is better than never. And that'll at least give us the technology where, in six months, we'll be in a very-- even in a few months, we'd be in a very different place if you have "right to try", expanded "right to try". ASH BENNINGTON: Yeah, and it seems as though there's demand for change right now. Maybe that's [INAUDIBLE]-- BALAJI SRINIVASAN: Yes. Absolutely ASH BENNINGTON: --that we can come to, that there is a sense of needing to do things differently, of finding new solutions. I think that, when people look at the efficiency with which China has handled some of their containment efforts, obviously, we're talking about very different cultures with very different views of individual liberty and human rights. But I still think there is a sense of that there is just the technological solutions that are being applied, the speed of innovation, it seems as though we have a way to go on this. BALAJI SRINIVASAN: Yeah, 1950s America had higher state capacity than 1950 China. But 2020 China has higher state capacity than 2020 America. That's obvious to everybody on the world stage, at least for something like this. If you're familiar with Maginot Line from World War II, that was something where the French developed it for World War I-- or rather, after the experience of World War I, to stop the Germans from coming in in the same way, in the trench warfare that had fortifications. And the Germans said, OK. And they just went around it with the blitzkrieg. And, in the same way, what we are learning is that the two oceans, the Atlantic and the Pacific, that protected US, the aircraft carriers and the F-16s and this extraordinarily expensive and gigantic and well-trained and equipped to military just got completely bypassed by the virus. The virus is the ultimate, asymmetric threat. And, to be clear, I'm not saying it's engineered or anything like that. I'm just saying that it just completely invalidated all those defenses and has literally basically taken out aircraft carriers. I don't know if you saw that report from earlier this month. But that captain of the aircraft carrier's like, hey, all of my sailors are getting sick from this. Some of them will die if they don't get treatment. And let's take them off. Otherwise, everyone's going to get sick. So that's like, to my knowledge, the first thing that has taken out an aircraft carrier. And I saw another follow-up report. There is something like 40 Naval warships have had this problem. So that's a really big deal because it means that, in a sense, the US military is like this giant Maginot Line versus a virus. And, for all the talk of WMD, everyone had focus on nuclear weapons or like Assad with chemical weapons, it looks like every-- I mean, not every regime in the world is nice. A lot of folks are looking at this and looking at, OK, well, the biological stuff really seems to have bypassed US defenses. So that's a dangerous two- or three- or four-year-out consequence of a lot of this. ASH BENNINGTON: Yeah, it's interesting. It feels as though it's not just software that's eating the world, as your colleague Marc Andreessen has suggested, but also the framework of software development, the framework of competitiveness, that's brought to us more broadly from the software world is eating the world. BALAJI SRINIVASAN: Yep, that's right. I think, basically, the only kinds of states that survive, I think it all converges on something I call the network state, where-- so, for example, over the last 10 years or so, every company had to become a software company or die. Frankly, that's actually happening now in an extremely-- in a way that I didn't expect it to happen. But the way it happened over the last 10 years was, OK, Blockbuster Video, you don't go online? OK, Netflix kills you. OK, Hollywood, you don't go online? Well, iTunes and, again, Netflix and so kills you, and so on and so forth, for industry after industry, like taxis, hotels, whatever. And now it's something where restaurants that didn't get with DoorDash are dead. Like higher Ed, any college that didn't invest in it Coursera and Udacity and so on is really out of luck and so on. Essentially what happened was anybody who didn't invest in the future doesn't even have a leg to stand on because it was just all internet. You don't work or die. And I think that that's now happening at the level of countries. And this is something where I think of as-- what I think of as a network state. Basically, you either have countries that are run by basically people who I consider the ability level of a top tech CEO, for example, Li Zhenlong at Singapore. He was like a mathematician at Cambridge, was the wrangler there, top his year. In Estonia, there's a guy, [INAUDIBLE], who isn't running the country and was actually presidents, who has never, to my knowledge, prime minister. But he was a computer scientist out of Princeton and responsible for Estonia's adoption of internet technologies, one of the bigger influences on it, and helped modernize them and make them into the force that they are today, very high strength-toweight ratio. In Israel, Netanyahu, he has political issues now. But he is an MIT graduate and, certainly, an intelligent person. And I think, if you go down the list, the folks who are kind of like those, who are tech savvy enough to use software and engineering, are the ones who will do well. On the other side of it, I think-- so that's kind of a state getting the qualities of a company. The flip side is a company getting qualities of state. And so, now, for example, companies can issue digital currencies. Or they're trying to. Facebook's trying to Libra. And what I think is going to happen with Facebook and Google and Amazon and YouTube and so on and so forth is they're basically going to step into the gap where the WHO and UN and so on. Those are kind of fading and leaving the stage, in many ways, because there's a loss of international confidence in them. And so the trustworthy, multinational institutions are going to be these giant tech companies because they have billions of users around the world. They have the balance sheets. They are kind of in this sort of diplomat kind of role, where they have to maintain relations with lots of different countries. And they are, frankly, more competent than WHO or UN. Who would you trust to implement contact tracing? It's going to be Apple or Google, not really the UN. Maybe WHO, but they're not going to be able to code it or ship it on a billion iOS devices or Android devices. ASH BENNINGTON: So let me just push back a little bit of this. So we all love big tech companies, those of us who are passionate about technology-- BALAJI SRINIVASAN: Sure. ASH BENNINGTON: But the question is, you know, look-- the counter argument could be, look, these are not states. These are not organizations that have the consent of the governed. They are there to make money for their shareholders. And some might say, even more cynically, they're there to make money for management. And look, these do not have-- the argument would go-- the interest of the broader population at heart. There's a reason that we have governments and not private corporations that run the world. One could have made this argument in the 19th century and certainly in the 20th century about corporations being more effective, more nimble, more technologically savvy. And the history there is not a very strong one when you look at things like environmental pollution and those sorts of things. Why should we have trust that big tech companies have the interests of the broader population at heart? BALAJI SRINIVASAN: So three points there. So first is I don't think one should have implicit trust. Actually, I'm a big fan of crypto and decentralization and internet encryption and so on and so forth. I definitely think we need a check on the power of large tech companies, which can do censorship, deplatforming, demonetization, and, yes, certainly abuse for management. So let me put that on the table first. Second is I do think that, with that said, big tech companies are actually, in many ways, more accountable than, let's say, the UN or WHO because, first of all, you are a shareholder. Yes, you could become a shareholder. You can't become easily a shareholder of the UN or WHO, number one. Number two, you're often a customer of these companies. And a large customer can raise a stink or what have you. Number three is I actually feel that it's more transparent in the sense of the process by which a WHO bureaucrat is appointed is not-- how much democratic accountability really is there? You vote for a president who appoints somebody who appoints somebody. It gets pretty dilute at that point. You're talking 1 over 300 million of a vote for this for that. It's effectively zero whereas, I think, that, if you actually want to affect that process, you actually go join the WHO or write about it. And then it's similar to your influence on an Apple, where you just join Apple and write about it, so in terms of practical influence from that standpoint. And then, finally, there's [INAUDIBLE] just competence. Ultimately, the proof is in the pudding. I'm not saying-- and I should be clear about this. I'm not saying that centralized governments are necessarily incompetent. In fact, there is a period from 1933 and 1969, roughly Hoover Dam, Manhattan Project, Apollo Project, where, in that period, the United States government got all the best talent and all the best scientists and was able to do things that no private sector company could do. And I think I would argue that's because technology in the mid-20th century greatly favorite centralization. It was mass media. And it was mass production. It was mass society. And you basically couldn't make something unless a bunch of people were in a factory, all working together. So you needed ideologies that supported those technologies. And then, if you go both forward and backward in time, you go more and more decentralized. The 1950s was kind of like a mirror moment, where you have-- So, for example, 1950, you have one telephone company. And you have two superpowers. And you have three television stations. So it's like the centralized century. And then you go forward in time. And you get cable television. And then you get the internet. And you start getting the explosion of things after the internet. It's like the internet's reopening the frontier. If you go backwards in time from 1950, pre-World War I, and then you go to 1890, and the frontier reopens as you go backwards in time. Then you get robber barons. And so I think, in many ways, our future is like our past. This has been something I've been writing about for a long time. And it's jumbled. It's not necessarily in exactly the same order. But guess what? We just kind of replayed-- we're replaying the Spanish flu. It's a little bit out of order, robber barons, Spanish flu. There's other things, by the way. In the 1830s, there is a whole thing about private banking. Do you know about that? ASH BENNINGTON: Yes, of course. BALAJI SRINIVASAN: Yeah, OK. ASH BENNINGTON: Yeah. BALAJI SRINIVASAN: Private banking, all right. So that's come back, too, with crypto. And so, essentially-- ASH BENNINGTON: It's almost like you had this sort of sinusoidal wave of centralization and decentralization that continues to alternate. I'm curious about what you think about the potential to do in some of these in an open source way, perhaps in a way that is not as proprietary and that doesn't belong to, you know, pick the larger tech company of your choosing. BALAJI SRINIVASAN: Yeah, so that's actually what I-- I do care about that a lot. And I think that what blockchains allow us to do-- and it's not just blockchains, but let's just say decentralized technologies, OK. ASH BENNINGTON: Give us a [INAUDIBLE] on what that means for people who aren't as familiar-- BALAJI SRINIVASAN: Totally. ASH BENNINGTON: --with technology. BALAJI SRINIVASAN: Totally, totally. So most people probably who are listening to this are familiar the concept of open source, which is source code that you can download, and inspect, and look at, and replicate, and usually modify, and what have you. And the fact that you can do that gives you more confidence in its correctness and so on and so forth. ASH BENNINGTON: Actually, I'm going to say something. I'm not sure that most people are familiar with the open source movement. I think most people who are passionate about technology are familiar with the open source movement. But this is a very different model than most people who have iOS or Android phones, for example, are used to thinking about. So explain a little bit about that, yeah. BALAJI SRINIVASAN: Sure, sure, so it's funny because-- OK, well, first, iOS and Android are very heavily based on open source technology. Android itself is, essentially, Linux, though they have closed up pieces of it, effectively, over time. It's basically like copyright almost. If you can just take content, images, music files, and mix them together, freely, it's easy to make something cool and creative in a mashup. If you have to go and get a bunch of license agreements from people, that's massive friction. And it means you're just not going to do it because it's so hard to do it that you just don't do it. And so that's kind of what open source is like. It's basically something where you can look at code, take snippets, be inspired by it, understand what's going on, gets smarter, and then share it with others. ASH BENNINGTON: Yeah, one metaphor for this might be-- we were talking earlier about NEJM, the Lancet, the New England Journal of Medicine. One metaphor might be the idea of peerreviewed journals are open source in the sense that the information is really shareable. You can comment on it. You can replicate or attempt to replicate it. You can analyze it. BALAJI SRINIVASAN: Right, though, not all of those journals-- they don't-- there's a whole movement for so-called reproducible research. So not every journal article is, quote, reproducible research, but it's getting better over time. OK, so, now, this may be-- for an audience that is new to open source, the following, what I'm about to say, may be too much of a leap. But I'll just go there anyway. So what blockchains give you is kind of the next step after open source, which is open state and open execution. OK, so open state means you don't just have the source code. You also have the database. OK, so that's publicly visible now. And open execution means you don't just have the source code and the database. You can trace through every single step that's happening. So let me give an example. People wonder whether Twitter is filtering their searches. Am I getting filtered or what have you? If Twitter is-- and it's not possible today, but it might be possible-- it probably will be possible in like 10 years, maybe sooner. If Twitter was based on a blockchain-like backend, you could inspect it for yourself or get a developer to confirm that, oh, your searches aren't being filtered, OK. So that's actually really interesting, where it's a stateful application that millions of people can write to and read from at the same time. It operates in a low trust way, where, essentially, you can use computation to confirm that it's not biased against you and, in fact, that it cannot be biased against you because it's cryptographically guaranteed to not be able to be biased against you. And that's a really, really powerful construct, where, essentially, what we do is we trade computational time for trust because computational time has become cheaper. So you do essentially math that your CPUs can crank out to replace or reduce the need for human trust. ASH BENNINGTON: This has been an incredibly wide-ranging discussion. And we've talked-- we begin with your background in technology and business. We shifted it over to the virus. We've talked now about these broader philosophical issues. Looking back on this, I'm not sure we could have done it any differently because you really are framing a different approach to management, a different approach to governance, a different approach to the way that we think about challenges in the health and medical domain but also more broadly. So as we come to the close of this interview, could you start to sum up things that people can take away from this and maybe other ideas that they should explore if they're interested in some of the topics that we touched on today? BALAJI SRINIVASAN: Macro kind of points-- I think that what we're going to see is a centralized East and a decentralized West. So that's to say, I think, that Asian countries will, by and large, probably be able to control the virus and keep their economies together with some exceptions, not 100% but generally speaking. And then those that don't, China will export a green zone to them. That is to say, the most important export that China has now is the ability to turn something into a green zone and, by a green zone, I mean a place that has no new case of the virus for, let's say, the last four weeks. So it's a way to get the virus under control with testing, and quarantine, and lockdown, and surveillance, and so on and so forth. So any country that is a red zone that wants to become a green zone can say, OK, hey, you know, China, you can put boots on the ground here. Just please fix my country. And so that's kind of like Belt and Road 2.0, where Mattel China essentially expands into Africa, into Iran, into all these places where it already was present. So the commons, you'll be able to walk around in Asia, I think. In the West, I think we're going to get something very different, which is-- I have this one liner, the virus breaks centralized states. So, if you've got a large centralized state that is simply not at the clock speed, doesn't move at the speed of the virus, you're going to face defection from within. Like, for example, there's individual Italian towns that are barring entry to people. And this is happening in the US. ASH BENNINGTON: I mean, that represents a dramatic shift in the conception of the nation state and the ability of federalized governments to actually implement, execute, and manage. BALAJI SRINIVASAN: That's exactly right. And the thing is, if it's just one city that was doing this, the other-- like the rest of Italy, which is, I don't know how many thousands cities-- would provide the resources to tell that one city, no, you can't do this. It'd be end versus one. When it's happening in every city at the same time, things fall apart. The center cannot hold. This is happening in the US, too, by the way. There's a North Carolina county that's barring entrance. 16 states have had quarantine borders since early April. I need to look at the latest numbers. But, basically, interstate travel is harder than it's ever been before. You have to basically stay 14 days as you go state to state. And so what I think happens is-- ASH BENNINGTON: Not ever, Balaji. Just since 1865. BALAJI SRINIVASAN: Sure, OK, fine. You're right. In fact, I'd say it like maybe even 1789 or something-- yeah, you're right. It'd have to be like Civil War level stuff, right. Tyler Cowen's also observed this. He's talked about how we're basically returning to the Articles of Confederation. And confederation didn't used to be a bad word. It just meant that there's more devolution of power. And that's basically what's happening. And that's how you're seeing Cuomo and others all talk about the 10th Amendment. The states are renegotiating their compact with the federal government. And, essentially, the US is becoming a monetary union, where the main thing that unites it is the dollar. And states are pursuing increasingly different policies on critical matters of things like lockdown, which affect the economy and health and so on. And they're just going their own way. And then so, if the US is becoming the EU and, basically, at least federating, the EU is, essentially, in my view, de facto broken it up. And the reason I say that is countries have denied each other masks. They've denied each other aid. They've closed their borders to each other. This is something that was already shaky for the last 10 years after the financial crisis, the Greeks versus the Germans and back and forth for a while. And Hungary going and doing its thing, you know, obviously, Brexit. There's a bunch of different countries that want to break off for a bunch of different reasons a bunch of different directions. But the whole thing reminds me of, geopolitically, my macro view is this is similar to what happened in the '80s with the Eastern Bloc and the USSR. So they were kind of tottering over the course of the '80s. You had solidarity. And you had Glasnost and Perestroika. And you basically had the bread lines. And, essentially, faith in the Soviet system seemed to be tottering. And then, suddenly, it all just came apart with the Berlin Wall in '89, the break of the Eastern Bloc, and then, eventually, the fall of the Soviet Union by December 1991. The whole thing just broke apart. And I think this is at that level. I think this is something where, at a minimum, it's causing the breakup of the EU and the radical decentralization of the US into these interstate compacts. Those are like sci-fi headlines, by the way. ASH BENNINGTON: Yes. BALAJI SRINIVASAN: Right, like Gavin Newsom announces another two states joining the Western States Compact. That's absolutely sci-fi headlines. And it'll have "medium to long term" serious consequences, not necessarily all bad, by the way, because it could be that smaller states in this time are easier to manage and give you more options, more different modes of governance, more different real things. We're already going in this direction with sanctuary cities and different gun laws and different marijuana laws. And this is that to the nth power. And so we get-- I think macro is you have the centralized East and you have a decentralized West, where there's now maybe dozens of polities with different policies. And then, once we kind of stabilize, some of those will be green zones. And some will be red zone ones, which have more or less control over the virus and also better or worse economies because anything that's become a red zone is a place where lots people die, where the economy is hit because there's lockdowns and shutdowns and social distancing and people fleeing. And red zones get burnt out like Detroit. Or maybe not exactly at that level but similarly. And green zones, by contrast, have lots of people who want to emigrate there, who want to buy property there, want to come there. And green zones will be very picky about which immigrants they let in with these community passports or other kinds of things. ASH BENNINGTON: As we come to a close here, there are still a lot of people who are suffering with this virus, people who are suffering economically, obviously, the people who are sick and who have lost loved ones. In terms of framing out what you think [INAUDIBLE] is the single most important thing that we can do to really kind of attempt to either solve the underlying medical problems that people are experiencing, which have been so terrible, and/or to attempt to get the economy back on track and moving forward so that we can continue to build capacity to fight this virus and to support people's lives, what would you say to someone who asks you to answer that question in two minutes or less? BALAJI SRINIVASAN: Sure, so I'd say, we have to stop the virus. We should let it go to 100%. First, we should have expanded "right to try" such that states can rapidly approve tests, vaccines, and drugs without going through the FDA. Second, states should close borders and, whether at the state or county level, should adopt a policy of lockdown until zero new cases, after which they do test, trace, and isolate to, basically, make sure that the cases aren't just flying around. third, they should open up carefully with masks mandatory for everybody, social distancing with everything that they could possibly do in terms of telework, in terms of banning things like PIN pads or other forms of contagion. Fourth, they should, basically, the same "right to try", should accelerate drugs and vaccines. And, fifth, we should take some of these trillions of dollars in printed money and allocate it towards prizes for vaccines, for masks, for this and that. Relatedly, sixth, we should remove price controls from these things because this is not like a one day thing like a hurricane where you can accuse somebody of price gouging or what have you. This is something where the economy is reallocating. And, if you can't have-- if people are not allowed to make large amounts of money, for example, making masks, or making drugs, or vaccines, then they cannot hire lots of people and put them back to work. So it's actually really important that people be allowed to make a lot of money doing COVID response in order to hire people and put them back to work because, otherwise, you get the worst of all worlds, which is both the viral and the economic destruction. So that's the summary, just to recap. A, expanded "right to try", B, lockdown until no new cases, C, test, trace, and isolate to keep cases down, D, accelerate drugs and vaccines. There are things called challenge trials, for example, that could accelerate it, where people are exposed to vaccine-- take the vaccine. They're exposed to virus on purpose to see if it works. E, make sure that you're giving prizes and things like that, allocating moneys towards funding these novel technologies. And, F, take away the price controls and other kinds of things that are restricting people from getting the economy going again. So that's like a two minute drill. I could do it much longer. But, hopefully, that's interesting. ASH BENNINGTON: Yes, wonderful. We've barely scratched the surface here. I feel like we could go on for hours to talk about this. I hope you come back to talk about the broader framework and to get into some of the things that you think that the United States needs to do to become more competitive. It's been an incredibly interesting conversation. Thank you for joining us. JUSTINE: If you're ready to go beyond the interview, make sure you visit realvision.com where you can try real vision plus for 30 days for just $1. We'll see you next time right here on real vision.