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U-M Dr. Says No To The Return Of Big 10 Football In Current Health Crisis, Says It's Just Too Risky

Sep 16, 2020

Michigan Stadium
Credit Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

Six months into the pandemic, and, although there is still no treatment or still no cure, life seems to be getting back to normal for many people.  That includes the just announced return of Big Ten football.

 

WEMU's Lisa Barry talks with Dr. Howard Markel, a physician, author, and medical historian at the University of Michigan, who has watched closely and written extensively about our global health crisis, including a recent piece in the New Yorker.  He weighs in on whether college football is a good idea right now and talks about the importance of a vaccine for ending the COVID-19 crisis.


Dr. Howard Markel
Credit Writers' Representatives / writersreps.com

Dr. Howard Markel says this is a time of a health crisis, and it's just too risky to have university athletes, who are technically students, that close together on the field playing football.  He points out the Big Ten football players are technically university students--young men who are going to college--and are not professional athletes and not being paid.  

Dr. Markel says, "We're still hiding from the virus as there is no vaccine," and with a thousand deaths a day in the United States, "we're not out of the woods yet" and says he believes we could be dealing with this for another year.  He says avoiding the virus is still very much about "risk reduction" and what he called "the three D's"--duration, distance, and diversity (as in how many different people are you around). 

Dr. Markel adds, "The more you social distance, the safer you will be."

The University of Michigan physician and medical historian says he is "very hopeful" a vaccine will be created but requires careful testing, manufacturing, and distribution.

Markel says a vaccine "is the silver bullet that is going to get us out of this pandemic." 

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— Lisa Barry is the host of All Things Considered on WEMU. You can contact Lisa at 734.487.3363, on Twitter @LisaWEMU, or email her at lbarryma@emich.edu