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U-M Dr. Who Coined Term "Flatten The Curve" Says It's Difficult To Predict Current Pandemic Pattern

Apr 27, 2020

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

Dr. Howard Markel is an American physician, author, editor, professor, and medical historian.  Markel is the George E. Wantz Distinguished Professor of the History of Medicine at the University of Michigan and Director of the University of Michigan's Center for the History of Medicine.  He spoke to WEMU's Lisa Barry and shared his thoughts about the current pandemic and how it might end and we can move forward in our lives.


Even though the coronavirus has popped up three times already in the 21st century, Dr. Markel says we live in a world of emerging infectious diseases, and it is very hard to predict what happens next.  He said, "These diseases are socially mitigated and spread by breathing and coughing, sneezing and close contact, and that is putting people in an untenable situation of trying to decide if they should go to work to earn money to pay their bills or stay home to avoid getting ill."

He says this situation points out the importance of supporting our public health system adding, "We need a better plan and have to take care of our citizens much better as a nation."

Dr. Markel said he couldn't predict when our current situation will change but says we will know it has when the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths from it decline.  He suggested we might get a bit of a break before a vaccine is developed and manufacturered, which could take 12 to 18 months if the weather warms up and kills off the virus.  But he adds that has yet to be seen.  

He says better testing will help us get back to our lives being more like they were before the pandemic but adds asymptomatic carriers of the disease will make that more difficult.  Adding, "Because this is a novel virus, we are learning more about it as we go along."

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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