U-M Medical Historian: Vaccinations Are The Only Way Out Of 'This Contagious Nightmare'

Feb 17, 2021

COVID-19 Vaccine
Credit Shutterstock / shutterstock.com

Calling it "the second greatest, most significant contagious crisis in recent history," physician, professor, author, and director for the Center For The History of Medicine at the University of Michigan Dr. Howard Markel talks with WEMU's Lisa Barry.  He shares his perspective on where we are now in the pandemic compared to previous pandemics and how he sees it ending.


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

Dr. Howard Markel from the University of Michigan sees he now believes the COVID-19 pandemic is very different from the pandemic of 1918 now that we're seeing a downward trend in cases and deaths from the virus.  He blames the lack of vaccines in Washtenaw County and elsewhere around the state and around the country on the last presidential administration, which he says did not buy enough vaccines or plan ahead for what would be necessary to address the problem.  Dr. Markel found it interesting but wasn't sure why there are no confirmed cases of influenza in the community at a time where it typically peaks.  He said, "The most predictable thing about a pandemic is their unpredictability."  

Dr. Markel weighed in on the Ann Arbor public school situation, where there is still no date for offering some in-person teaching during the pandemic.  He said "it is probably safe" but not sure it's "worth risking the health of our most cherished loved ones--our children."  He said there are also risks for faculty and staff working inside the classroom during the pandemic. 

Dr. Markel added he thinks Ann Arbor school officials have done a good job in taking a cautionary, measured approach in deciding what is best for students.  And he says no matter what choice Ann Arbor school superintendent Dr. Jeanice Swift makes for virtual or in-person learning, she's potentially going to be wrong and upset somebody.  He believes it's always better to be safe than sorry.

The physician and medical historian from the University of Michigan says that vaccinations are "the only way out" of the pandemic which he says he is "100 percent certain this pandemic will come to a close,"  but he still cannot say when.

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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