January 20, 2021
Today is a special Inauguration Day Memorial Episode.
TODAY AT NOON Joseph R. Biden became the 46th President of the United States. COVID-19 is certainly a global pandemic, with a story to be told of every nation, and across/beyond nations--but in the United States the suffering and loss of life is bound up with the failures of the Trump Administration, failures of Donald Trump himself, personally—failure to plan for disaster, react seriously, tell the truth, not spread lies and disinformation, not divide the public along lines of ideology/age/race/region—the manifest failure of now former President Trump to take seriously his duties, or to even show common decency or modesty when presented his deadly failings.
And so with the transition of power to President Biden, I (and many others) are trying to lay aside our anger. I’m marking the day with some hope, a measured hope given the suffering and dying of so many, but hope nonetheless that the United States federal government can change course, help bend the curve, deliver and administer vaccine, and facilitate a recovery and memorial process that we desperately need.
I’d like to quote Biden’s inaugural address: “Few people in our nation's history have been more challenged or found a time more challenging or difficult than the time we're in now. Once-in-a-century virus that silently stalks the country. It's taken as many lives in one year as America lost in all of World War II. Millions of jobs have been lost. Hundreds of thousands of businesses closed. A cry for racial justice, some four hundred years in the making moves us. The dream of justice for all will be deferred no longer. And my first act as president, I’d like to ask you to join me in a moment of silent prayer to remember all those who we lost this past year to the pandemic. Those four hundred thousand fellow Americans, moms, dads, husbands, wives, sons, daughters, friends, neighbors and coworkers. We will honor them by becoming the people and the nation we know we can and should be. So I ask you, let's say a silent prayer for those who've lost their lives, those left behind and for our country.”
In that mindset I’ve asked 5 guests to join COVIDCalls today for a memorial session. Each will come on in turn, read an obituary and discuss why they chose that life to honor. Thanks for joining us today.
January 19, 2021
Today we discuss Y2K, COVID-19, and the CRISIS OF EXPERTISE with historian Zachary Loeb.
Zachary Loeb is a PhD candidate in the History and Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania. He works at the intersection of the history of technology and the history of disasters. Zachary's research explores the belief that humanity's romance with techno-science will lead to the end of the world--he works on the history of computing, the history of critiques (and critics) of techno-science, as well as on prophecies of doom and those who are described (rightly or wrongly) as prophets of doom. He is writing a dissertation on the year 2000 computing crisis, better known as Y2K.
January 18, 2021
Today we continue the discussion of COVID 19 care, vaccines, and vaccination with Alisha Rankin and Carla Keirns.
Dr. Carla Keirns is assistant professor of Medical Ethics and Internal Medicine at the University of Kansas in Kansas City, Kansas. She has published in the history, sociology and ethics of medicine, and has been treating patients the past year through the COVID-19 pandemic, both those with COVID and whose care looks very different because of it. Her father-in-law died of COVID-19 in April, so this issue is personal for her.
Alisha Rankin is Associate Professor of History at Tufts University. She has published widely on the early history of pharmaceuticals and medical experiments, and she co-led the working group “Testing Drugs and Trying Cures in the Pre-Modern World," at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin. She has a Ph.D. in the History of Science from Harvard University, and she was a postdoctoral fellow at Trinity College, University of Cambridge. Her latest book, The Poison Trials: Wonder Drugs, Experiment, and the Battle for Authority in Renaissance Science, just came out with the University of Chicago Press.
January 15, 2021
Today we continue the Congressional COVIDCalls with my guest, US Representative from THE MA-4, Jake Auchincloss.
Jake Auchincloss represents the 4th district of MA in the US House of Representatives. He was born and raised in Newton, Massachusetts, the son of a surgeon and scientist. From the moment he could read, Jake loved American history.
After graduating from Harvard College, Rep. Auchincloss joined the Marines. He commanded infantry in Afghanistan and special operations in Panama. He's now a major in the reserves.
He won election to the Newton City Council in 2015 and topped the ticket in 2019. His favorite part of being a city councilor was constituent services and communication. He chaired the transportation & public safety committee and was a member of the land use committee. While serving as a city councilor on nights and weekends, he managed teams at both a Fortune 100 and a startup. He led product development in cybersecurity and insurance. He has degrees in economics and finance from Harvard College and MIT Sloan.
Rep. Auchincloss lives in Newtonville with his wife, Michelle; their son, Teddy; and their Labrador Retriever, Donut.
January 14, 2021
Today we continue the Congressional COVIDCalls with my guest, Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey.
U.S. Senator Bob Casey fights every day for Pennsylvania families. He is a strong advocate for policies that improve the health care and early learning of children and policies that will raise wages for the middle class. Senator Casey serves on four committees including the Senate Finance Committee and Senate HELP Committee. He is also the highest ranking Democrat on the Special Committee on Aging, where his agenda is focused on policies that support seniors and individuals with disabilities. Senator Casey and his wife Terese live in Scranton and have four adult daughters.
January 13, 2021
Today we continue the discussion of COVID-19 vaccines and vaccination with Tara Haelle and Maya Goldenberg.
Maya Goldenberg is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Guelph (pronounced Gwelf) in Canada. She works in philosophy of medicine and has a new book on vaccine hesitancy coming out in March 2021. _Vaccine Hesitancy: Public Trust, Expertise, and the War on Science’_ is published by University of Pittsburgh Press.
Tara Haelle is a freelance science journalist and photojournalist who serves as the AHCJ Core Topic Leader for Medical Studies. She particularly specializes in reporting on vaccines, pediatrics, maternal health, obesity, nutrition, mental health and medical research in general, and she regularly speaks on vaccine hesitancy. Her work has appeared in Elemental, Scientific American, New York Times, Forbes, Politico, Slate, NOVA, Wired and Science, and she writes and covers medical conferences regularly for Medscape and MDEdge. She co-authored an evidence-based parenting book, "The Informed Parent," and authored "Vaccination Investigation: The History and Science of Vaccines," along with a dozen children's science books.
January 12, 2021
Today we start the CONGRESSIONAL COVIDCalls discussions with my guest United States House Representative Chrissy Houlahan.
Chrissy Houlahan is an Air Force veteran, an engineer, a serial entrepreneur, an educator, and a nonprofit leader. She’s in her second term representing Pennsylvania’s 6th Congressional District, which encompasses Chester County and southern Berks County. She serves on the House Armed Services Committee, the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and the House Small Business Committee.
January 11, 2021
Today we have a discussion of political crisis in the pandemic with historian Julian Zelizer.
Julian Zelizer is the Malcolm Stevenson Forbes, Class of 1941 Professor of History and Public Affairs, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University. He is the author and editor of 19 books on American political history, including Governing America: The Revival of Political History and The Fierce Urgency of Now: Lyndon Johnson, Congress, and the Battle for the Great Society. Most recently, he co-authored with Kevin Kruse, Fault Lines: A History of the United States Since 1974. He has published over nine hundred op-eds, including his weekly column on CNN.Com.
January 8, 2021
Today we have a discussion of the law, policy, and ethics of the COVID-19 vaccine in the United States with Dorit Reiss and Ross Silverman.
Dorit Rubinstein Reiss is a professor of law at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. Increasingly, her research and activities are focused on legal issues related to vaccines, including exemption laws and tort liability related to non-vaccination. She published law review and peer reviewed articles and many blog posts on legal issues related to vaccines.
She received an undergraduate degree in Law and Political Science (1999, Magna cum Laude) from the Faculty of Law in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She received her Ph.D. from the Jurisprudence and Social Policy program in UC Berkeley.
She is a member of the Parents Advisory Board of Voices for Vaccines and the the Vaccine Working Group on Ethics and Policy, and active in vaccine advocacy in other ways.
Ross D. Silverman, JD, MPH, is Professor of Health Policy and Management at the Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health and Professor of Public Health and Law at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis. He is a member of the IU Centers on Health Policy and Bioethics. His recent vaccine- and pandemic-related work has appeared in such peer-reviewed publications as the New England Journal of Medicine, BMJ, JAMA, JAMA-Pediatrics, the Hastings Center Report, and the Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics. He serves as a member of the Covid-19 Vaccine Allocation advisory committee for the Indiana State Health Department, and is an Associate Editor for the journal Public Health Reports, the official journal of the U.S. Surgeon General and the U.S. Public Health Service.
January 8, 2021
Today we have a discussion of COVID-19 vaccines, and vaccination with Dr. Peter Hotez.
Peter Hotez MD Ph.D. is professor of pediatrics and molecular virology at Baylor College of Medicine, where he is also co-director of the Texas Children’s Center for Vaccine Development and Endowed Chair in Tropical Pediatrics. He is a vaccine scientist who led the development of vaccines to prevent and treat neglected tropical diseases and coronavirus infections. A new Texas Children’s COVID19 vaccine is being accelerated in India now undergoing clinical testing.
Prof. Hotez obtained his undergraduate degree from Yale University and his MD and Ph.D. from Weil Cornell Medical College and Rockefeller University. He is the author of more than 550 scientific articles indexed on PubMed, and 4 single-author books. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine and American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and has been honored by PAHO/WHO, Research America, B’nai Brith, American Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene, and other organizations. He appears frequently on major news outlets promoting global health, and vaccines and immunizations, countering antivaccine and Antiscience movements.