S4-EP13: Nicholas Christakis With a COVID Update and the Historical Connection Between Pandemics, War, and Climate Change
Nicholas Christakis comes back on the show to talk about Long COVID, herd immunity, what stage of the pandemic we’re in, vaccines, mask-wearing, and the historical context of pandemics including a connection to war and climate change.
Debbie Weil brings Nicholas Christakis back on the show for an update on all things COVID. Their conversation one year ago was one of the most popular episodes of Season 3. Nicholas is a Sterling Professor of Social and Natural Science at Yale. He’s a physician, a sociologist, and a public health expert and he’s the bestselling author of several books, including, most recently, Apollo’s Arrow, about the coronavirus pandemic.
The book is out in paperback, with a new Preface and a new Afterword. Debbie wanted to ask Nicholas where are we now with the COVID-19 pandemic, where are we going, and what does this all mean in an historical context.
She could listen to Nicholas all day as he weaves together the history, the science, the epidemiology, the psychology and the sociology of pandemics, or plagues as he calls them. Not surprisingly, he’s an in-demand expert for commentary about the pandemic.
Vaccines were widely available when the two spoke a year ago. Debbie, like many others, thought that meant the beginning of the end of the pandemic. Not quite, Nicholas said at the time. He was spot on in his predictions, saying that not until 2024 would the pandemic be behind us. A year later, he says we are finally through phase one of the pandemic. He expects we’ll reach herd immunity several months from now.
He and Debbie discuss Long COVID, whether we should still be wearing masks, the continuing importance of getting thrice vaccinated, what metric to pay the most attention to (number of deaths per day), addressing disinformation around this pandemic, and more. He notes that historically there has been a confluence of disasters associated with plagues, including war, famine, and climate change.
When the war against Ukraine erupted, he was astounded but also not surprised. World War I accompanied the 1918 pandemic. This time, Ukraine and climate change are the accompanying global disasters.
Nicholas ends by reminding us that plagues are not rare and may continue to become more present in our lifetime – but that we have the tools and technology to get through them.
Tune in for a fascinating conversation about where we are now with the COVID pandemic.
PHOTO CREDIT: Big Think
About Nicholas Christakis
Mentioned in this episode or useful:
- New paperback edition: Apollo’s Arrow: The Profound and Enduring Impact of Coronavirus on the Way We Live by Nicholas Christakis (Little, Brown Spark, Oct. 2021)
- [B]OLDER S3-EP21: Nicholas Christakis on How the Pandemic Will Affect Your Life Until 2024
- COVID Will Reshape Humanity (interview with Amanpour & Co., Dec. 21, 2021)
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