Is Finding a Vaccine to the Virus Enough? Four Lessons from the Middle of the Pandemic
Endowed lecture with Dr. Jeremy Youde offers insight into “what we know now” about global healthcare systems and socio-economic prosperities
An issue of an immense global scale, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about change in every aspect of our lives – from studying and working to how we socialize and interact with each other. In a time where many questions about the pandemic remain unanswered and many details are still ambiguous, the inaugural Kennedy Lecture in Global Social Issues brought together students, faculty, and community members for an exploratory discussion.
Not the last pandemic
Dr. Jeremy Youde, dean of the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota Duluth, delivered the lecture, “Four Lessons from The Middle of the Pandemic”. The discussion explored global healthcare systems, the relationship between socio-economic disparities and the risk of COVID, how the virus moves beyond political boundaries, and the answer to the question on many minds: is finding a vaccine to the virus enough?
“This is not the last pandemic,” noted Professor Youde in his lecture. “We know that we will see future pandemics. We don't know when they'll happen, we don't know where they will start, and we don't know what the disease will be, but we need to have a system that's going to be resilient and able to respond as soon as something comes up like this.”
Understanding the sociology of medicine
Dr. Tugce Ellialti-Kose, assistant professor of Sociology at Trent, had students in the course SOCI-3631H: The Sociology of Medicine attend the lecture as a supplement to topics they are exploring this term. The lecture provided students with real-world insight into the world of medicine.
“Issues of health, illness, and medicine are not simply a biological phenomena or individual medical issues; they are phenomena that are effectively informed by broad social forces and processes,” explains Professor Ellialti-Kose. “The policy context in which health care decisions are made and put into practice shapes, and often reinforces, the existing power inequalities in health care including the social structural factors that determine health and illness.”
Key to consider international inequalities
In the lecture, Prof. Youde pointed to the impact that the lack of explicit laws governing international responses to diseases is especially important. He pointed to trends that see a correlation between international inequalities and rates of COVID-19 infection, hospitalization and death.
“We can say that borders are these artificial lines on the map and that they don't have an effect, but they obviously do. Because we have a system that's based on sovereignty,” explains Prof. Youde. “We see that there are real differences in terms of how countries have responded and those have direct effects.”
Watch the recording of the inaugural Kennedy Lecture in Global Social Issues.