S3-EP21: Nicholas Christakis on How the Pandemic Will Affect Your Life Until 2024
Debbie talks to bestselling author Nicholas Christakis, MD, PhD, MPH, about the predictable phases of plagues and what this means for our current pandemic, about herd immunity and vaccines, about public health messaging and more. This special 55-minute episode of the podcast is fascinating and one of Debbie’s favorites in Season 3.
When will the Covid19 pandemic end? That’s the question on everyone’s mind. Today Debbie talks to one person who just might have an answer to that question.
Nicholas Christakis is a nationally-recognized expert in three fields: medicine, sociology and public health. He’s a distinguished Sterling Professor at Yale, a researcher on the topics of social networks and human goodness, and a bestselling author, most recently, of Apollo’s Arrow: The Profound and Enduring Impact of Coronavirus on the Way We Live.
He’s been named to TIME magazine’s list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. His fluency in explaining the science, epidemiology, psychology, sociology and history of pandemics makes this a fascinating conversation. Plus he’s got a good sense of humor:
- You’ll hear why he chose to publish Apollo’s Arrow last fall, midway through the COVID 19 pandemic, before we knew the end of the story
- How his childhood experiences with illness and death affected his career choices
- What the predictable three phases of a pandemic are (HINT: we’re still in the immediate phase)
- Why he thinks this pandemic won’t be over until 2024
- They also talked about separating the biological vs. the psychological impacts of the pandemic
- What herd immunity actually means and whether we’ll get there
- And what the public health messaging around the pandemic should be
Debbie asks him point blank: when is the next pandemic? The answer is unnerving – sooner than you might think.
But they end on a positive note: plagues historically bring loss, grief, confusion, and misinformation. But they also reveal cooperative and generous behavior, the best of humankind.
About Nicholas Christakis
Photo Credit: Evan Mann
Books by Nicholas Christakis
- Apollo’s Arrow: The Profound and Enduring Impact of Coronavirus on the Way We Live by Nicholas Christakis (Little, Brown Spark 2020)
- Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society by Nicholas Christakis (Little, Brown Spark 2019)
- Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives by Nicholas Christakis (Little, Brown Spark 2009)
- Death Foretold: Prophecy and Prognosis in Medical Care by Nicholas Christakis (University of Chicago Press, 2001)
Articles and interviews
- The New York Times Book Review: The Pandemic’s Future — and Ours (NYT Book Review of Apollo’s Arrow, November 3, 2020)
- A year of COVID: Making sense of an ‘alien and unnatural’ time (Yale News, March 4, 2021)
- Epidemiologist looks to the past to predict second post-pandemic ‘roaring 20s’ (The Guardian, December 21, 2020)
- Denial And Lies Are ‘Almost An Intrinsic Part Of An Epidemic,’ Doctor Says (NPR, October 29, 2020)
- The pandemic is as much about society, leaders, and values as it is about a pathogen (Science Mag, November 17, 2020)
- The Importance of Being Little: What Young Children Really Need from Grownups by Erika Christakis (Penguin Books 2016)
- Remote Learning Isn’t the Only Problem With School (The Atlantic, December 2020)
- The COVID-19 Pandemic and the $16 Trillion Virus by Larry H. Summers, PhD and David M. Cutler, PhD (October 12, 2020)
Mentioned or useful
- The Plague by Albert Camus (1947)
- What Is R-naught? Gauging Contagious Infections (Healthline, April 20, 2020)
- What is Epidemiology?
- What is Sociology?
Note from Debbie
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