Honors Program lecture hosts Harvard professor in webinar over coronavirus

Mason Jones

It’s been over seven months since the Coronavirus pandemic has infected the United States, and possibly over 10 months since the virus was brought into the world since the first case was recorded in Nov. 2019

Many questions have been raised since the start of this virus, including its origin, effects on the human body, the survival rate, and the biggest question of them all, what’s going to happen in the future and when is the vaccine coming?

While some of these questions remain unanswered and some are partially answered, there is evidence that this sort of pandemic happened years before; the spanish flu pandemic of 1918, the 1817 cholera outbreak, the plague of 1718, and of course the black death of the 14 century. While there are many other Pandemics in world history, these in particular caused many to become sick and die over a short period of time. 

To better understand the events of the 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic, the Ashland University toxicology department is hosting a lecture presented by Dr. Allen Brandt of Harvard University called “No Magic Bullet: COVID-19 in Historical Perspective”.

“The Honors program sponsors a lecture every semester. They bring in someone who proposes challenging ideas and we open these lectures to the whole campus and community,” Dr. Weidenhamer, chair of the Honors Program and professor of chemistry said. “Due to the Pandemic, and with the restriction of the gatherings of large numbers of people together, the lecture will be presented in an online format, more specifically a webinar.”

With the coronavirus still spreading throughout the country, the Honors department decided that it would be wise to have Dr. Brandt speak in the form of online communication instead of having many people packed into a lecture hall to hear his lecture.

 “Dr. Brandt I believe is going to look at how the impact of a disease organism on human beings is determined by the disease organism, so COVID-19 has different effects on human beings than the Spanish Flu did, but in both cases there are issues with society’s response to that to try and keep things under control,”

While the Spanish flu pandemic was over 100 years ago, there are several similarities between the two, as both are very contagious and spread easily between people.

 “If you look at human history, there have been a number of diseases that have originated without warning and they spread through large numbers of people, so how is it that Governments should prepare for that eventuality is something Dr. Brandt will discuss as well,” Weinhammer said.

Weidenhammer also points out that Dr. Brandt will discuss how humans have disrupted forests and damaged the natural environment to an extent that they never have before, in which case humans come into contact with many different organisms that they never have before, with COVID-19 being the latest of those cases.

“One of the metaphors for COVID-19 is that ‘this is a perfect storm scenario’, as it is out of our control, and he (Brandt) is going to look at the role that human actions play in combating COVID-19, and how human actions have modified the course of past pandemics, and their history with that” Weidenhammer said in regard to human actions taken towards fighting COVID-19.

While these are the big topics that will be discussed, there is plenty more to tune in and listen to from this informational lecture. The lecture is scheduled for Oct. 28 at 7:30p.m. To access the link to this lecture, contact [email protected] for more information.