Background Briefing’s March 1, 2021 Broadcast on the Origins of Covid-19
In this last week of the year between Christmas and the New Year as the year comes to a close, we are looking back on Background Briefing’s coverage of the major stories and issues of the year 2021. Today we deal with the persisting pandemic which when the new Biden government took over in January after Trump’s serial bungling American deaths from Covid were at over 400,000. Now they are over 800,000 after first the Delta variant struck then now the Omicron as the race between mutation and vaccination continues with over 40 million mostly Trump followers in the country still refusing to get vaccinated. We began our broadcast on March 1, 2021 on the origins of Covid-19 which still remains a mystery due to the Chinese Communist government’s unwillingness to cooperate to determine whether the virus emerged as a zoonotic leap from animals to humans of as a result of a lab accident at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Joining us was Rob Wallace, an evolutionary epidemiologist with the Agroecology and Rural Economics Research Corps to talk about his new book Dead Epidemiologists: On the Origins of COVID – 19. We discussed the role of climate change and deforestation by agribusiness which is leading to emergent diseases and the spread of pathogens into local livestock and human communities.
Our July 14, 2021 Broadcast on How Republicans Don’t Believe You Have a Right to Vote, But You Do Have a Right To Infect
Then we go to a broadcast of Background Briefing from July 14, 2021 in which we discussed how Republicans don’t believe you have a right to vote, but you do have a right to infect. We began with the increasingly deadly and infectious strain of Covid, the Delta variant, impacting states with low vaccination rates and the role of Republican politicians and Fox News in encouraging Americans not to vaccinate. With Republicans in Tennessee firing their top Covid official Dr Michelle Fiscus for trying to vaccinate teenagers against this new deadly strain, Jonathan Metzl, professor of sociology and psychiatry at Vanderbilt University and Director of it’s Center for Medicine, Health and Society joined us. We discussed how conspiracy theories have infected Republican politics and how Republicans apparently feel you don’t have a right to vote, but you do have a right to infect. The author of Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment Is Killing America’s Heartland, we looked into how back in December Kaiser Health News and The Associated Press found that at least 181 state and local public health leaders in 38 states had resigned, retired or been fired since April 1, 2020. And as the latest victim of anti-vaxxing politics Dr. Fiscus noted, “It’s just a huge symptom of just how toxic the whole political landscape has become. This virus is apolitical — it doesn’t care who you are or where you live or which president you preferred.”
The September 3, 2021 Broadcast on How the Pandemic Provides an Opportunity to Rebuild a New Society Not Preserve the Old
Then finally we play our broadcast from September 3, 2021 on how the pandemic provides an opportunity to rebuild a new society not preserve the old. We spoke with Adam Tooze, a professor of history at Columbia University who previously taught at the University of Cambridge as well as Yale, where he was Director of International Security Studies. He has contributed to the National Intelligence Council, and he joined us to discuss the blowback from our unbalanced relationship to nature and his latest book, Shutdown: How Covid Shook the World’s Economy.