Acclaimed Historian Analyzes COVID-19 Response To 1918 Pandemic Flu

Apr 21, 2021

Credit photo provided

The University of Kentucky Center for Clinical and Translational Science kicked off its annual Spring Research Days with a keynote panel featuring acclaimed historian and author John M. Barry. His 2004 book “The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History” was a New York Times bestseller and named by the National Academies of Science as the year’s outstanding book on science or medicine. Dr. Greg Davis spoke one on one with Barry and got his take on how the United States' response to the COVID-19 outbreak compared with that of the 1918 Spanish Flu, and what lessons are to be learned going forward.

  

 From UK Now:

Credit UK Now

Barry’s award-winning work has led him into public health policymaking at the international level. The only non-scientist on a federal government Infectious Disease Board of Experts, he served as an advisor to the Bush and Obama White Houses on pandemic preparedness and response and was on the team that recommended public health measures to mitigate a pandemic. He has worked with the private sector and with state, federal, United Nations, and World Health Organization officials on pandemics, water-related disasters, and risk communication. 

The keynote panel, which was co-sponsored by the UK Center for Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS), was moderated by Claire Clark, Ph.D., associate professor of behavioral sciences; Karen Petrone, Ph.D., professor of history and director of the CHSS; and Lovoria Williams, Ph.D., associate professor of nursing, endowed research professor in cancer health equity, and associate director of the CCTS.

“The Cooperative is pleased to partner with the CCTS and introduce author John Barry,” said Petrone. “Barry's historical research into the 1918 influenza pandemic has demonstrated the ways in which public policy failures led to the spread of the epidemic and showed that the disease fundamentally reshaped public health infrastructures. Now, a hundred years later, as we are in the throes of another pandemic, we reflect on the lessons that were not learned and consider what long-term impact the pandemic might have on our public health infrastructure.”