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“The Great Influenza” author John M. Barry


Back John M. Barry is our guest he is the author of many phenomenal books of the one we're most focused on in this episode the great influenza John talk to me about what public health learned and did to respond to that influenza and how it compares four days informing what we're doing now well I think that there are two lessons that come out of nineteen eighteen the first is to tell the truth if you're going to get the public to comply with public health advice they have to trust you and you have to trust the public and you have to tell them the truth I think that's a very clear lesson incidently that's a lesson that is written into the pandemic preparedness plan for not only the federal government for every one of the fifty states you know when the bush administration launched a very significant initiatives for preparedness including creating national stockpile vaccines technology in an acting capacity things like that included a planning process they asked me to participate in that was the last thing that I can't beating on people but nobody ever argued with me and it's very high priority tell the truth to the public the second lesson is social distancing and other public health guidelines like that the cities that you know the reason I was asked to participate in those groups was because I knew what happened nineteen eighteen and the cities that that closed down earlier stayed closed longer I tended to do better in terms of the disease and oddly enough there's some recent studies by two different federal reserve branch banks they both concluded that the economies of the cities that were closed down longer actually did much better when they came out of lockdown density you said were closer short what should what should that tell us about our pace of re opening now well I would need that we need to note phase it in hand and be very careful monitor the disease in nineteen eighteen many cities possibly most I did but I didn't do it precise numerical assessment of many cities reopened to some they were open for several weeks and had closed down again as the disease surged back there are a few cities maybe more than a tiny handful that had to do that three times our and you know S. that's a lesson that I don't know that we've learned I think politically right now it would be extremely difficult even if there is a significant resurgence for some of these states to shut back of course hopefully there won't be this search right considering your advocacy for truth telling how would you evaluate truth telling for public officials in this pandemic well you have a distinct you have to draw a distinction between fourteen people in the administration but not directly associated with the White House twenty five genes CDC and so forth I thank you know they made every effort to be auctioned and then you have the White House operation and you know clearly they have not told the truth unfortunately and the result is that you have a lot of people who are not complying with the guy with the advice date you know somehow the white house's managed to politicize attempts to save people's lives and protect them hi you know how they managed to do that I mean I know how they did it you know how they did it but a mask is become a political statement is just crazy the mask was not a political statement in nineteen eighteen I gather it was not it was not there were a number of cities particularly on the west coast which passed laws mandating mask usage in the first round there was a large got a considerable compliance without any trouble as in some cities like San Francisco where Hey you know we open this Saturday are you not to wear masks the city back down again and and and mass the mass school are required was reimposed and there was a lot of pushback and again given that Sanchez goes to one of the hardest hit cities in the country and a lot of people are dying so you know that's a sign of how strong that sentiment was mostly I think because people felt okay again after re opening and and no they thought it was over and to disappoint them again it's just this resentment that builds up why did why did you let us tell us that we were okay initially when I just keep it and anyway but that's speculation on my

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