A Virtual Debate Between John Norris and Bill Gates Over What Are the Real Current and Future Risks of COVID-19 and Its Variants and Over How Best to Manage Them (Round 1)
For months, a global debate has been rising in volume. It is now raging between and among health policy and risk-management experts worldwide.
The debate's threshold topics raised by "change advocates" are four:
First, how could the world have made such a health and economic mess in managing the "COVID-19 and Its Variants Pandemic?"
Second, some experts believe it would have been possible to avoid many of the deaths, and much of the other physical, mental, psychological, social, and economic harms, from COVID-19 and its variants by using a better management approach.
Third, how did we not know that using the outdated and failed "top-down approach" of 100 years ago was unacceptable and would only lead to the disasters we see today?
Fourth, what can we do immediately, using a "bottom-up approach," to right the ship, prevent further harm, and learn from our experience? And then, a fourth question is raised: assuming the past year's program was seriously flawed, what can we immediately do to create far better infectious disease management programs, including better strategies, methods, and models--both for now and for the future.
As you can imagine, there are many points of view within this debate. Bill Gates, one of the wealthiest men in the world, has the most prominent health policy voice in the world right now.
However, John Norris, a former FDA leader and Harvard health policy and management faculty member, is a lesser-known health policy and risk-management expert who largely disagrees with Gates' positions on many critical aspects of the debate. Although, in fairness, Norris does agree with Gates on some points.
And Norris acknowledges that Gates was sometimes shooting at a moving target that he was sure he could hit, but he did not. So here is this virtual and hypothetical debate, set forth in 10 separate Rounds of five Gates' Points of View each, just like it would be if this were a heavyweight boxing match. We base the on facts and reasonable assumptions.
It uses Gates' oral or written public statements or reasonable inferences from those statements to set the table with his POINTS. Then Norris, with the help of his COVID-19 and its variants-related Safely2Prosperity LLC and TestProcessOversight LLC Teammates, makes a COUNTER-POINT of one type or another to each of Gates' POINTS. Watch them fight it out, virtually. It is not always a one-way fight. Bill gives as well as he gets. Plus, in some rounds, they have a draw, or they even agree. The battle is fairly called. Let us know what you think at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Debate Continues "And the Band Plays On" — Key Points and Counter-Points
#1. Bill* Point --This Pandemic will all be over, and we will be back to normal in 2021.
John* Wrong -- With Great Certainty, Gates Will Miss the Projected Deadline -- This will not likely be over until 2026, if then. Just look at the 1918 Flu and the 1981 HIV pandemics. They still flourish decades later. But, just like in the case of COVID-19 and its variants, they have been poorly managed. We can do far better with a different, more thoughtful, and more comprehensive bottom-up risk-management and problem-solving approach. Let us start over. Now.
#2 Bill Revised Point of View -- This Pandemic will all be over, and we will be back to normal in 2022.
John Again, Wrong -- It is Very Likely Gates Will Miss the Projected Deadline -- Again, this will likely not be over until 2026, if then. Bill continues his wishful and hopeful thinking, but everything real points in the other direction. For example, in more accurate numbers, Japan is suffering from over 7,000 new variant cases today. India is now averaging over 84,000 cases per day. Earlier, India was overwhelmed, and its government and others estimate that daily new cases to have been between 400K (reported) cases and 1M (likely) cases per day (yes, per day). How long will it be before these variants not just reach our shores (which they already have done and have already caused some 16% of our new cases) but then begin to truly blossom here?
#3 Bill Point -- if Bill's Pattern Persists -- This Pandemic will all be over, and we will be back to normal in 2023.
John Still Wrong, Again -- It is Likely That Gates Will Miss This Projected Deadline, Too -- Per the points made above, this Pandemic will likely not be over until 2026, if then.
#4 Bill Point – Immunity from catching COVID-19 (and its variants), even very mild or asymptomatic COVID-19, might last a lifetime.
John Wrong -- With Great Certainty, No One Will Receive Lifetime Immunity, Here -- Immunity from catching COVID-19 and its variants, even very mild or asymptomatic COVID-19, likely lasts just 6 to 9 months, but most likely 7--and NO longer. Variant and variant of variant-derived immunity might be even shorter. Sadly, the public has been grossly misled on this point, not just, apparently, by Bill but by many others. Accordingly, many Americans genuinely think the crisis is entirely and forever over. And they now act any way they please. In their minds, they do so without risk to themselves and their families and to their coworkers and their families. They honestly think the crisis is over. They often even act with reckless disregard for their own and their family's COVID-19 safety. Even if they got one or two vaccinations ten months ago, they and their family are not out of harm's way. And their thinking that almost everyone else has been vaccinated and is forever immune, so there is no need for them to get vaccinated, is another potentially deadly trap.
#5 Bill Point – Immunity from COVID-19 (and its variants) vaccination, even one shot of the double COVID-19 immunization, such as Pfizer's, or Moderna's, might last a lifetime.
John Wrong, Again -- Again, With Great Certainty, No One Will Receive Lifetime Immunity, Here, Either -- Immunity from COVID-19 vaccinations, even double COVID-19 vaccinations, such as Pfizer's or Moderna's, likely lasts just 6 to 9 months, but most likely seven and NO longer. Again, sadly, many among the public have been grossly misled on this point, either intentionally or unintentionally.
*Bill Gates is a well-known business leader and COVID-19 (and its variants) thought-leader/policy-leader. Bill has publicly spoken or often published his evolving thoughts on the risks associated with COVID-19 (and its variants) and on how to best manage them.
*John Norris is a lesser-known former FDA leader, Harvard faculty member, business leader, and a SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) thought-leader/policy-leader. John, too, has often published his evolving thoughts on the risks associated with COVID-19 (and variants) and on how to best manage them. In addition, John has formed two companies to better address and begin to resolve the risks:
1. Safely2Prosperity LLC ("S2P"; a company that has designed, verified, and built tailor-made thoughtful and comprehensive "COVID-19 and Its Variants Safety Software Programs");
2. TestProcessOversight LLC ("TPO"; a company that has designed, verified, and built software to improve the physical utility of infectious disease testing significantly); and
Each company addresses a different aspect of the thoughtful and comprehensive risk-management "COVID-19 Safety Program" that John and his Teammates have designed. They will tailor-make this Safety Program for each CEO and Chairman who has brought (or is bringing) their workers or teachers back to work. Others are beginning to follow their lead. Soon, there should be real competition in this space, which John welcomes.
*This paper should NOT be viewed as an attempt by David to slay The Giant. Rather, it should be considered a call for different understandings and processing of the facts and reasonable assumptions. The goal: so, we might reach new and better conclusions AND thereby invent and adopt far better COVID-19 (and increasingly its variants) risk-management and problem-solving Safety Programs.
The goal of these new programs: to better address and begin to prevent, mitigate, and solve this infectious disease pandemic (COVID-19 and variants), lingering pandemics (the Flu and HIV, for example), and likely future pandemics. In fairness, old ways did make significant dents in polio, TB, and smallpox, although these diseases are to an extent making their way back. It is clear, too, though, that the old ways coupled with closing many economies for a year created much (by far, too much) avoidable harm.
Doing things the "old top-down way" mainly led to the needless closing of many economies worldwide for a year. (Many countries followed the US' failed lead.)
This self-destruction was mainly avoidable. If instead CEOs had immediately and more broadly put in place at high-risk closed-in work facilities comprehensive "COVID-19 and Its Variants Safety Programs" (including, but not limited to highly organized and managed, high-grade testing and vaccinating), businesses and federal, state, and local governments could have saved trillions of dollars. But, instead, it seems that no significant leader seriously looked for better strategies and methods. And they ignored those that John and others frequently brought to their attention.
These government and business leaders should have looked deeper before wasting trillions of dollars on a largely ineffective old and outdated "top-down" prevention, mitigation, and management approaches.
So why did our leaders like lemmings jump off this cliff, one after another, faster and faster, when there were far better alternatives?
Vaccines are only part of the solution. They are far from a total solution. To date, nearly 50% of all Americans are not fully vaccinated and likely will never get vaccinated unless they are terrified by the next surge. The percent of unvaccinated workers among front-line and second-line workers is likely to be 60% or more. This failure to fully evaluate additional, more thoughtful, and more comprehensive programs will someday make a good case study at Harvard Business School and Harvard School of Public Health.
It will be a shame if soon, and in the future, America, and the parts of the world that largely follow America's lead, together, do not learn much from the past year's many errors and successes. AImmediately and quickly doing more of the right things and fewer of the wrong things is essential to preventing human deaths and other harms (including people's physical, mental, emotional, social, and economic devastation), and in preventing country-wide financial crashes, both now and in the future.
Lockdowns, themselves, kill and otherwise harm people. Unfortunately, there was little thought given to this fact. Because they are primarily unneeded, they should be used only as last resorts where "COVID-19 and Its Variants Safety Programs" are impractical, which is likely few. TODAY, a CEO who failed to support their company's or school system's "Fire Safety Program" would be fired. The same movement is underway in the infectious disease safety program arena. CEO firings will especially happen where CEOs order company workers and teachers back to work without a thoughtful and comprehensive "COVID-19 and Its Variants Safety Program" in place or at least well underway toward being put in place.