Epidemics and Society: From the Black Death to the Coronavirus

Published on
May 20th, 2020
Duration
59 minutes

The Remarkable Frequency of Once in a Lifetime Events


Epidemics and Society: From the Black Death to the Coronavirus

The Interview ·
Featuring Frank Snowden and Pedro da Costa

Published on: May 20th, 2020 • Duration: 59 minutes

The word "unprecedented" has been used frequently crisis to describe the ongoing pandemic, but Professor Frank Snowden, professor of history of medicine at Yale University and author of Epidemics and Society: From the Black Death to the Present, disagrees with this characterization. Snowden tells Pedro da Costa about how pandemics have imperiled societies, ranging from The Plague of Athens, to the Black Death, to the 1918 Spanish Flu. He traces how infections across history have shaped human destinies and identifies repeatable patterns in how they affect societies. Filmed on May 7, 2020.

Comments

Transcript

  • PE
    Paul E.
    11 June 2020 @ 18:25
    This was very interesting and Pedro asked some great questions. Thanks!
  • SM
    Stephane M.
    20 May 2020 @ 21:17
    When will you stop spreading YOUR fear Pedro???? You want to know why a lot of people don't fear this "very deadly" virus??? Look at this stats from where I live. Dead people by age: 0 - 39 = ZERO, NONE, ZIP, NADA 40 -49 = 0,4% 50 - 59 = 1,5% 60 - 69 = 6,3% 70 - 79 = 18,0% 80 - 89 = 40,1% over 90 = 33,4% There's a difference between catching Covid-19 and dying of Covid-19. This is not the malaria or the bubonic plague. Please, go play outside, take a deep breath and enjoy yourself since you don't look like a 70 years old man ;-)
    • SM
      Stephane M.
      20 May 2020 @ 23:35
      By the way Pedro, this was your best interview (except your excessive fear!)
    • DS
      David S.
      20 May 2020 @ 23:40
      Stephane M. - You are correct; it is more like the Spanish Flu which killed a million people. COVID-19 will hopefully be controlled before a second and/or third wave like the Spanish Flu. Each person needs to develop rules to follow. If attending a block party of 300 peoples is within your plan, do. it. It is self-evident, however, that if one is human one can suffer from COVID-19. It is also self-evident that if the plan by President Bush in 2005, were still in place, The US would have approached the pandemic much better. DLS
    • SM
      Stephane M.
      21 May 2020 @ 02:00
      DSL- The Spanish Flu killed 50 millions people (young, old ans middle age). It's self-evidence that you can't compare it to Covid-19...come on My point is that if your healthy you shouldn't fear this virus (you won't die). If you're afraid or old and/or not healthy, stay home but let the rest of us live a "normal" life...
    • MM
      Mark M.
      21 May 2020 @ 22:19
      "DSL- The Spanish Flu killed 50 millions people (young, old ans middle age). It's self-evidence that you can't compare it to Covid-19..." (Stephane M) Yes, Covid 19 hasn't killed anywhere near that number of people. Yet. It may, it may not. It all depends on the response of our world. The current predilection of so many in the US (and unfortunately imitated across the globe) to succumb to a perverse form of anti-science nihilism does nothing to encourage me as to the final outcome however.
    • DS
      David S.
      24 May 2020 @ 05:26
      Mark M.- From Wikipedia "The death toll is estimated to have been anywhere from 17 million to 50 million, and possibly as high as 100 million, making it one of the deadliest pandemics in human history." It is impossible to tell as it was a long time ago and Johns Hopkins University was not around to count. The reason I believe the count was so high is the Allied Powers were keeping the pandemic quiet so they could finish the war. Troops carried the virus with them back to all their homes and loved ones all over the world. If you wish, I can agree with 50 million. Regardless it was a horrible time. DLS
    • SM
      Stephane M.
      4 June 2020 @ 19:03
      To Mark M.: Are we near the prediction from your "science" guys yet ?!?! Millions of death??? You don't need to be a scientific to know these predictions were wrong. Just look at their past predictions (from Ferguson): Mad cow desease: 2704 death vs 150,000 prediction Avian Flu: 455 death vs 200,000,000 prediction (WoW!!) H1N1 (UK only): 457 death vs 65,000 prediction You call this science??? I call these predictions FRAUD!!
  • JF
    Jennifer F.
    1 June 2020 @ 01:38
    Please have him back for a talk on Facisim. Fantastic discussion
  • JF
    Jordan F.
    25 May 2020 @ 20:51
    The claim by Malthus that population grows exponentially but the food supply grows only linearly is easily debunked. The food supply grows also exponentially due to the increased efficiencies by division of labour/economies of scale (I don't even need to include technological innovations). Important though is that landlords do not monopolise land in terms of the economic rent (see Henry George: Progress and Poverty). This Earth and World has more than enough room for all of us. It is not population increase: Of more danger to the health of mankind are the Malthusian ideas which seem to have taken hold in academia and ruling circles.
    • JF
      Jordan F.
      25 May 2020 @ 21:32
      This was in the past and is hopefully no longer the case.
    • SH
      Sahil H.
      30 May 2020 @ 15:58
      I think this depends on the time frame you're looking at... whilst longer term you may find that economies of scale does play a huge part for exponential growth in terms of food production. In the more near term, technology adoptions seems to happen much slower in agricultural industries than it does in other industries. You've also got to take into account the massive shift in labour pool as peoples preferences for living has had a huge tendency to congregate in larger metropolitan areas. However, on the other side of that, COVID may cause a trend reversal where you might see labour pools moving away from metropolitan areas
  • DM
    Dominic M.
    22 May 2020 @ 19:35
    Fantastic conversation - sincere thanks to Mr. Snowden for taking the time.
    • PD
      Pedro D. | Contributor
      28 May 2020 @ 03:43
      Thanks for watching, he was a pleasure to speak with and his book is totally amazing.
  • FS
    Faheem S.
    24 May 2020 @ 12:15
    quality discussion, I think Mr Snowden was amazing and glad that he has overcome the virus
    • PD
      Pedro D. | Contributor
      28 May 2020 @ 03:42
      Thanks Faheem! Very cool guy indeed and I'm glad he's ok. His book is incredible i recommend it highly. https://yalebooks.yale.edu/book/9780300192216/epidemics-and-society
  • SB
    Stewart B.
    25 May 2020 @ 15:40
    The right guest for our time. Thank you.
    • PD
      Pedro D. | Contributor
      28 May 2020 @ 03:39
      Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for watching.
  • JA
    Jeff A.
    25 May 2020 @ 13:40
    Good interview but CDC funding has doubled in last 10 years.
  • AP
    A P.
    24 May 2020 @ 16:11
    Fascinating interview. It would be great to hear more from Professor Snowden, as the allotted time was only able to provide a light introduction to his extensive knowledge.
  • SK
    Sławomir K.
    24 May 2020 @ 15:01
    I am from Poland and from my perspective the sentence "There are people who do use the pandemic emergency for political power purposes, as we've seen in Hungary and Poland, where we have-- it can be used that way, but it doesn't have to be." is nothing more like repeating mainstream media narrative which is not especially informative... But I would be happy to face exampleas and arguments for that thesis...
  • DV
    Dimitri V.
    24 May 2020 @ 14:20
    Should get someone on to talk about the Greek response and how successful it was
  • MC
    Mark C.
    23 May 2020 @ 01:45
    Please bring him back. Thanks for this interview. I want the second part.
  • CN
    Charles N.
    22 May 2020 @ 04:20
    The interview with Dr. Snowden was very enjoyable and very informative. I'd forgotten that Thucydides had provided such a close look at the plague in Athens. This subscriber hopes that he will come back in a few months to review how much our current history is rhyming with historical events.
  • KB
    Keith B.
    22 May 2020 @ 04:20
    Brilliant. Book ordered. Thank you
  • BJ
    Bob J.
    22 May 2020 @ 02:24
    A third of European population dies in the plague... -> Historian: "Boohoo- the worst part is the xenophobia! Oh noes - antisemitism goes up!" This perspective is so tedious...
    • KB
      Keith B.
      22 May 2020 @ 03:53
      At least wages for peasants rose though. That meant they were more creditworthy, and as such could borrow more money from the...... just kidding. Try not to be so defensive about this perspective - pogroms are pretty much a constant response to a pandemic over History. It is not the worst effect, as you point out, but it is still an important one. These biases and assumptions about persecuted ethnic groups become cultural, compound over time and then one day when combined with populist opportunism you end up with humans stuffed in cattle cars.
    • KB
      Keith B.
      22 May 2020 @ 04:10
      Throughout history the response to pandemics of fear and violence has let to the empowering of subsections of society that benefit from selling the xenophobic narrative. In the Middle Ages this was the church hierarchy, and after the reformation the printing press when combined with pre-existing ideas about the origins or nature of pestilence led not only to further pogroms, but also to the witchcraft trials, empowering the witch hunters to carry out their persecutions. In our modern, globalised age where social media allows everyone to publish unlimited content for free, the threat of xenophobia as a result of a pandemic is absolutely worth paying attention to in the context of the past. Much like the effect of the printing press, the internet is creating an explosion in the spread of good (and bad) ideas that we should be very mindful of. If you want to know more about the printing press / internet argument, it is from Niall Ferguson.
  • AP
    Alfonso P.
    21 May 2020 @ 13:11
    Extraordinary interview, gives context to what we are going trough. Pedro was really good at interviewing Dr. Snowden. Look forward to the Fascism one. Good to include this type of content, is both useful and very interesting.
    • KB
      Keith B.
      22 May 2020 @ 03:57
      In the meantime, check out Noah Harari’s TED talk on the nature of Fascism. It is worth watching.
  • TW
    Travis W.
    20 May 2020 @ 23:33
    As an Australian the Xenophobic take on things is very interesting. Anti Chinese sentiment has been under the surface for a long time mostly because housing unaffordability is often blamed on Chinese investment, but also growing sense of Chinese business influence on government and large infrastructure projects. The pandemic has given reason to bring this sentiment much more out in the open.
    • SS
      Stephen S.
      21 May 2020 @ 00:28
      Is that not true?
    • RJ
      R J.
      21 May 2020 @ 03:10
      As a fellow Aussie. Travis, it's a "thing". For us we've viewed it in terms of "capital flows" as a strategically placed and small open economy.
    • MD
      Matt D.
      21 May 2020 @ 03:54
      I disagree. As an Australian. You are correlating two uncorrelated things which have a common element. On their own they can still be both true. The sentiments aren't necessarily Xenophobic is my point.
    • MM
      Mark M.
      21 May 2020 @ 22:10
      "The sentiments aren't necessarily Xenophobic is my point." (Matt D) No But they are too often conflated by some of our less helpful politicians and (mostly) commercial media.
  • CD
    Christopher D.
    21 May 2020 @ 21:26
    Amazing historical perspective from Dr. Snowden. Thanks
  • TP
    Timothy P.
    21 May 2020 @ 16:28
    "Re-imagining the economy" sounds great on the face of it, but when you realize businesses like restaurants have extremely thin margins, reducing their seating by 50% or attempting to shift to take-out only isn't going to cut it. This is an economic firestorm. Anywhere from 30 - 50% of small business will close. Small business happens to be the biggest driver in employment, which means those not already on the rolls (now earning more than they would have when working--which is another systemic problem) will have to file and expand the already horrible unemployment numbers. This reduces demand, as continual injections of helicopter money won't be enough to plug the hole, which induces deflationary forces. This will, like it or not, will induce cries for more govt intervention and demands for perpetual "Universal Basic Income" as well. Forget the pace of re-opening, forget "second waves" and forget the rest of the virus -- the economic effects have already been unleashed. I don't see a "V" recovery, or even a "W" recovery. I'm thinking that we get a large deflationary wave which then results in the exported inflation eventually roaring back to US shores. If you need a market analog, we're in the middle of the 1929 rally off the lows, and then the subsequent grinding lower as the economy falters and small business gets decimated.
  • CM
    Charles M.
    21 May 2020 @ 14:25
    The reason people are "gathering" is because they see the DATA for what it is; and the flawed models for what they AREN'T, namely accurate. This a disease that predominantly kills the elderly and the co-morbid; whereas infection in the rest of the population is mostly mildly symptomatic or asymptomatic, and therefore doesn't justify the PLENARY lock down that has been imposed upon us---and which is tantamount to committing socio-economic suicide. (Almost half of the NY deaths occurred in nursing homes, the result of Cuomo's order forcing them to accept COVID-infected patients. "I'm from the government, and I'm here to help [kill] you."). Moreover, "flattening the curve" for the sake of a few unprepared hot spots (again, "the rotten apple") virtually guarantees that the delay of herd immunity, and a second COVID wave in the Fall. "A crisis is a terrible thing to waste;" and the politicians clearly did not miss their opportunity to exploit this one. To wit: Who needs Sanders: "we're all socialists now !"
  • JD
    James D.
    21 May 2020 @ 08:36
    What a fascinating interview, given by a very charming individual. It's always very satisfying learning from an expert who is so passionate about his or her subject. It's a shame some people are determined to find some insidious political bent to every interview, and then work themselves up into a frenzy about it. Sign of the times sadly.
  • SS
    Stephen S.
    20 May 2020 @ 14:55
    There’s often a justification for xenophobia. Otherwise it would have went away. It protects the group for outside disease. “The Righteous Mind” by Jonathan Haidt explores this. Athens probably needed more xenophobia.
    • JM
      John M.
      20 May 2020 @ 16:09
      Sparta was unaffected by the plague.
    • DS
      David S.
      20 May 2020 @ 21:16
      It is the cosmopolitan nature of Athens that made it great. It was the rural and military nature of the Spartans that made them great. One city state was more susceptible to a pandemic. I am glad that we had both. DLS
    • SS
      Stephen S.
      20 May 2020 @ 22:20
      Yes both were great for different reason. There are strengths and weakness in both approaches. Something this interview entirely missed.
    • DS
      David S.
      21 May 2020 @ 07:42
      Stephen S - Professor Snowden did say that the formation of cities where populations were concentrated made it easier for a pandemic to occur - Athens. Sparta was rural and agrarian. In addition, the Spartans ate a reportedly terrible tasting black stew that no outsider wanted to eat. It was hard to get ambassadors to go to Sparta for this reason. That black stew may have been the best defense against any virus. DLS
  • TM
    The-First-James M.
    20 May 2020 @ 17:29
    I watched this interview and, whilst respecting the opinion of the interviewee, re. COVID-19 and its potential deadliness, as an adult I will take my chances, not sucumb to fear, and get on with my life; whilst taking appropriate measures to protect those most vulnerable who are closest to me. I choose to not live in fear and take my chances, because I know people who have already had their livelihoods ruined by lockdown and are now already living on an economic knife edge. Anecdotally, I know of one UK University with contingency plans to move its courses 100% to online next academic year (whilst still attempting to charge full tuition fees - cheeky f***ers), and this alone will absolutely devastate the local economy in my home town and the livelihoods of thousands of people who live there. I happily accept the shift to online study was already underway, but such a massive change in a handful of months will cause economic devastation to the lives of thousands of people in my home town, and I suspect the good Professor does not consider this when he expouses locking down to shelter from a virus that - let's face it - kills a tiny minority of those who are infected by it (and I currently have good reason to think I may have been infected in January - something a currently UK-lacking antibody test would confirm). Personally, I think what we have done has not been worthwhile vis-a-vis the economic devastation and negative psychological impact it is going to wreak on peoples lives (and we are not even close to seeing it all - only in anticipating some of it). The good Professor does not seem to see this from his tenured bubble, and this makes me both angry and sad for the future. The Professor talks about more damage being caused if we experience a second wave. What I would respond to this is, a second wave is pretty much a certainty now IMO, and we've already sustained a truck load of societal damage. We just don't fully collectively appreciate how much - yet.
    • DS
      David S.
      20 May 2020 @ 21:05
      Fear is an emotion. It is not an action. If we fear something, we think about it and plan a course of action. You planned you course of action. I wish you the best of luck. DLS
    • LL
      Louis L.
      20 May 2020 @ 22:24
      Well, by not locking down you end up being like the failed society that the US is and that we Europeans make lots of fun at, which is the first country in terms of deaths of the epidemic. The second country who followed the same logic is Brazil and they are currently burrying people VERTICALLY in the mass graves because they lack of space. When you have some of the most obese, cardiac-endangered population on the planet you should think twice about what you want. Italy was a great example that if you do not lock-down you get to 5% mortality rate because hospitals can not handle such a high amount of patient. That's around 15 millions of US citizens isn't it ?
    • TM
      The-First-James M.
      21 May 2020 @ 01:39
      Louis L, I'm not American. I'm British. I take your point about Brazil, and am not in the do nothing camp, re. the virulence of COVID-19. However, I feel much could have been accomplished by just mandating home working for those who could do so without shutting entire economies down. I write this as somebody who has elderly parents who can self-isolate with minimal impact to themselves and others. I am naturally concerned for them. Howevet, I am more concerned for my 4 year old nephew who's now spent 2 months put of school and away from his peers, and who's social development and education has been negatively impacted as a result. I'm also concerned for the owner of a cafe I know whose business will not come back from lockdown if her core customer base - the City's student population - do not return in reasonable numbers in the next academic year. What do you think her biggest worry is right now? COVID-19, or her livelihood going down the toilet? She's never been in debt before, but this crisis migjt put her into it. What do you think this will do for her mental, financial and emotional health? Hopefully she doesn't end up adding to the suicide stats... The point I'm striving to make is, throwing COVID-19 death stats at people whose lives have been wrecked by lockdown is not going to provoke the reaction you seek.
    • TM
      The-First-James M.
      21 May 2020 @ 01:45
      DLS. Thanks and I agree. Caution will be exercised around the vulnerable - I have face masks. However, I'm not personally afraid. I long ago accepted the only certainty I have in life is that it will end one day. Taking part in Alpine mountaineering and rock climbing in my 20's brought that reality home to me, along with lessons around risk mitigation. The core lesson was, Fear is a good servant, but a bad master.
    • DS
      David S.
      21 May 2020 @ 07:27
      Good quote: Fear is a good servant, but a bad master. Thanks. DLS
    • DS
      David S.
      21 May 2020 @ 07:36
      Louis L. - I am an American and I certainly agree with some of your points. On an apples to apples population basis, however, the EU nations and the US are reasonable equal on number of cases. Brazil has the contributing factors of a large concentrated poor population and inadequate medical facilities. We should contrast and compare leaders but have compassion for all the people suffering from COVID-19 in Brazil. DLS
  • CL
    Cyril L.
    20 May 2020 @ 17:37
    All these comments about the guests' politics are getting old. The majority doesn't care. No one is 100% objective, everyone is biased, and it's fine. One shouldn't need to agree with a guest on everything to take something away from the interview. If you have counter-arguments and/or facts, please share. Otherwise, please stop polluting the comment section with your rants. I could understand if the guest was obnoxious, but this is not the case here. Thanks.
    • LK
      Lauri K.
      20 May 2020 @ 21:01
      Well we can start with stating there is zero proof of the SARS-CoV-2 being zoonotic. The increase in temperature globally has no proven causation in the likehood of increasing malarial mosquitoes. Basically the history part was accurate but all the conclusions lacked scientific credibility.
    • DP
      David P.
      21 May 2020 @ 02:18
      Lauri, given the risk impact of each option, in both cases, you are reversing the burden of the proof. A similar misunderstanding of risk as "Prove me climate change/COVID19 pandemic risk is real" cause models are imperfect. You should always prove that stuff with heavy tail risk is safe. Prove me that shorting OTM option is unsafe. I didn't go bust...yet.
    • LK
      Lauri K.
      21 May 2020 @ 06:27
      David you are not understanding correctly. The right answer is we don't know, as there is no evidence. Further research must be conducted. Claiming something, like zoonosis happened has a much larger risk of "going bust" than being honest and admitting the lack of evidence. The safe way is to not claim anything without evidence. Just a theory to disprove the increase of malaria infections due to climate change: some other species eating mosquitoes gains more from warming temperatures and results in net decrease of the mosquitoes. The doctor ous making these leaps from theory to conclusions, which is very dangerous.
    • DS
      David S.
      21 May 2020 @ 07:23
      Lauri K. - If you heard that SARS-CoV-2 and climate change were proven true on Fox News and confirmed by President Trump and Vice President Pence would you believe? I am trying to uncover what makes something true for you. What source of fact do you believe? DLS
  • JH
    Jess H.
    21 May 2020 @ 06:53
    Congratulations on an excellent guest and wonderful interview. Wisdom accrues from previous experience, both one's own and that of others. Historians of the caliber of Professor Snowden provide insights that allow us to learn from the experiences of humanity in the distant past. This is particularly valuable for our present encounter with COVID-19 because pandemics of this magnitude are not part of our living memory. The severe criticism of a few of the comments is misplaced, and, as suggested, may stem from the degeneration of politics into partisan ideologies, with sharp differences in values. This is unfortunate because reason, clear-sighted observation of reality, and long-range planning are the faculties that are the hallmarks of humans. We must rely on those faculties, rather than emotional reaction and political ideology, when making decisions that have severe effects on ourselves and others. This interview offers a fine example of the clear thinking and reasoning that we need now. The role of the plague in the Peloponnesian War seems clear. Thucydides explained that the Spartans were fearful of the Athenians' power and invaded. The plague struck the Athenians shortly after the invasion but never harmed the Spartans. The disease left "death raging within the city and devastation without." This unexpected calamity weakened the Athenian forces and was a major cause of their defeat.
  • DK
    Dennis K.
    20 May 2020 @ 08:36
    Although hearing about the history is always very intresting, i do have the strong feeling from this interview, that it is a very political correct one, very left side biased to say it simple. And also advocating for cencureship (talking with one voice.... just the biased left side voice you can hear him saying between the lines, which have us presently cut all the forrests to fight ....climate change 🤷‍♂️). Global warming, xenofobia, covid19 all through the left wing playbook. I myself do need some Victor David Hanson podcast for a anti-dote to this 50 minutes.
    • PU
      Peter U.
      20 May 2020 @ 09:36
      well, if it is Pedro, you know what you will get
    • RP
      Raoul P. | Founder
      20 May 2020 @ 11:43
      You shouldn't not listen because the politics aren't to your suiting or you miss the learnings imbedded...
    • PU
      Peter U.
      20 May 2020 @ 11:55
      Raoul, I subscribe to RV to get unbiased insight. I am not interested in biased insight from either side of politics. More facts less bias is what makes RV what it is. Hate to to see it slip. Clearly I am not the only one that feels certain people interview with an inherent bias, IMO. I agree with you that you don't learn from seeking confirmation bias interviews. However, and just as important, a biased interviewer lessens the credibility of and makes it more difficult to ascertain the imbedded relevant information.
    • SS
      Simeon S.
      20 May 2020 @ 12:57
      Well, the message is clear, if someone doesn’t get it, they won’t get even if you formulate it directly
    • RP
      Raoul P. | Founder
      20 May 2020 @ 16:03
      Peter - You misunderstand. Our job at Real Vision is to give you BOTH sides, be it Pedro or Steve Bannon or whoever. That is not bias. It is freedom of expression. You can not not talk about politics when you discuss economics as they are linked. That is fine. I just tune down the political stuff but still I have to figure out how it might affect the economics.
    • DK
      Dennis K.
      20 May 2020 @ 19:20
      I agree with Raoul. Both sides of a story. But in my ears there was such a political message inside this interview, which i normaly try to avoid by not watching any msm broadcast. I just felt the need to respond. People can agree or disagree, give arguments against my ”reply” or support it. That’s were a debate is for. Just keep it respectfull. Nothing wrong with Mr. Snowden or Mr. Bannon on this show. Is a interview with Victor D Hanson an option ?
    • GT
      Gene T.
      20 May 2020 @ 20:20
      Peter - You said in a comment above that you skipped the video; move on and save the comments for intelligent discourse vs. tribal B.S.
    • SS
      Stephen S.
      20 May 2020 @ 20:21
      I’m gonna echo Dennis K on this. Downvote away if you want.
    • MM
      Mark M.
      20 May 2020 @ 20:50
      Science is science. It ain't politics.
    • PB
      PHILLIP B.
      20 May 2020 @ 20:53
      Please do not post a comment on this nature here. If you want to further troll divisions of left and right, post comments on ZH.
    • SS
      Stephen S.
      20 May 2020 @ 21:28
      “Science is science. It ain't politics.” Science is very political these days.
    • SS
      Steven S.
      21 May 2020 @ 04:01
      Firstly, an excellent interview. Secondly, the politicization of science is, shall I say, deplorable. Fortunately, it is almost entirely isolated to those who do not do science. I think you have two rational and objective choices: 1) Get your facts, results and interpretation from scientists or 2) educate yourself for a couple decades in statistical modeling, physics, atmospheric chemistry, virology, epidemiology and mathematics, then analyze the raw data, whether it be core samples from Greenland ice packs or SARS-Cov-2 binding data to the Ace2 protein, and draw your own conclusions using rigorous scientific approaches. These are issues that impact the entire world in profound ways deserving of unbiased critical assessment.
  • TS
    Timothy S.
    20 May 2020 @ 10:06
    FYI: Yale University offers a free online course of Dr. Snowden's titled "Epidemics in Western Society Since 1600".
    • CB
      Clifford B.
      20 May 2020 @ 11:09
      Why on earth would someone downvote this comment? Baffling.
    • JH
      Jim H.
      21 May 2020 @ 02:39
      Timothy, thanks for sharing that info. I wish that had been in the show notes for those of us who want to learn more. I'm a history nut.
  • JH
    Jim H.
    21 May 2020 @ 02:35
    Pedro, I very much enjoyed the Professor. What a great interview. Genuine academic who can talk about his field for days on end. I'd love to be stuck next to this guy at a dinner party to soak up history. I have a few quibbles but why spoil a good interview with second guessing?!? J
  • SS
    Stephen S.
    20 May 2020 @ 15:05
    Couldn’t finish this one. Standard Neo Liberal POV. Get this everyday from ever other news source. Jonathan Haidt is someone who is much more nuanced and interesting that could talk about this type of thing.
    • RP
      Raoul P. | Founder
      20 May 2020 @ 16:00
      Stephen - no one cares about your political view and you shouldn't care about someone else's.
    • PD
      Pedro D. | Contributor
      20 May 2020 @ 18:41
      Dr. Snowden is historian, there is nothing neoliberal about him.
    • SS
      Stephen S.
      20 May 2020 @ 19:27
      Just didn’t get much from this interview. Xenophobia happens in plagues ok, but no investigation as to why that happens. Also being a Professor at an American University more or less implies a Neo Liberal POV.
    • SS
      Stephen S.
      21 May 2020 @ 00:38
      Also I get no cares about my politics. Just said I couldn’t finish this one, suggested someone else. I’ve heard this perspective enough. My daily life is in a far left environment.
  • DS
    David S.
    20 May 2020 @ 23:20
    Great and timely interview Mr. da Costa. Dr. Snowden presented a non-politically motivated discussion around pandemics and the current COVID-19 crisis. Dr. Snowden took care to present the information as accurately as he could giving examples while carefully trying not to provoke a political uproar. Many are so polarized that they think something is objective only when their side is presented. Like dogs our media has program us with key words and phrases. No one even cares if the key word changes from night to night. One night someone is great. The next night he/she is public enemy number one. Maybe we have two pandemics - COVID-19 of the respiratory system and Pavlovianism of the brains. DLS
  • LL
    Louis L.
    20 May 2020 @ 22:26
    What a lovely person and a great interview ! I loved it. Currently I am trying out RV with the 1 dollar suscription but I will definitely subscribe more, such great content every day damn
  • BC
    Bryan C.
    20 May 2020 @ 19:49
    Interesting perspective, but for a historian he does not seem to fully understand the American federalist system. He says it was "chaotic" that each state and local municipality handled lockdown measures differently as if this was a bad thing and seemed to prefer some kind of centralized, authoritarian response instead. I'd argue the different responses by state is exactly what should happen in a situation like COVID-19 with each state handling it uniquely depending on population density, hotspots, demographic risk, etc. One-size-fits-all governance is rarely the answer. When Professor Snowden summed it up by praising the Rome newspaper, "For the first time in Roman history, the citizens are obedient," I got a chill down my spine. I hope voices like his aren't the only ones at Yale University.
    • JS
      JEVGENI S.
      20 May 2020 @ 20:27
      I get what you're aiming at, but don't you think that in this particular instance, you're taking the professor's words out of context, i.e. hearing a hidden agenda that's not really there ?
    • DS
      David S.
      20 May 2020 @ 20:59
      Bryan C. - I understand your point, but there are times when an intelligent strategy needs to be national. The lockdown should have started on a national basis. It was not. In the US now so many people believe if they say something is true that it is true. "It is just the flu." Medically it would have been better fought nationally at first, then opening to the states after there was some control limiting the spread of the virus. We will lose a lot of people just like any war. It is a war of attrition until we can find better ways to fight the sickness and/or find a vaccine. I we had testing and tracking; we could have opened in some rural locations much earlier. In other areas, how can you separate the strategies and tactics on fighting this virus between New York and New Jersey? From the beginning we needed to be working together at the federal, state and local level. We did not because we choose to be divided by politics. We will pay a much larger price in the fall unless something unexpected happens. DLS
    • SS
      Stephen S.
      20 May 2020 @ 22:15
      Yale actually has had a string of fairly Orwellian type events recently. Could look into more if you’re interested.
    • DF
      David F.
      20 May 2020 @ 22:25
      Perhaps: there are essential roles for the states and the Federal; government. Maybe they can work together? Not either / or.
  • DF
    David F.
    20 May 2020 @ 22:21
    Wow!
  • SP
    Steve P.
    20 May 2020 @ 06:49
    We won’t see violent riots. We Americans are simple to control. Feed us entertainment and sugar and we calm down. Our country is the apex of gluttony. All we want is to be entertained. It’s something human, to yearn for more yet do little to nothing to fight for it. How do 200-300 people in North Korea control the will of millions? Psychology. The human mind is the strongest and weakest tool. Most people’s fears and anxieties relate to their personality and attitudes, not actual survival mechanics like hunger, thirst , losing property. Most rioting isn’t survival rioting, it’s a personality of cult and tribal attitudes seeking to establish the image of power and dominance. Germans literally told Jewish people to march to their own death. Who fought? Only the Albanians protected the Jews, yet the Germans were afraid to fight the Albanian villagers for the location of the Jews. All psychology, all attitude. There won’t be riots. Just your usual American kicking, crying and screaming from the left. Chest thumping, harassment and flexing from the right.
    • DD
      Dmitry D.
      20 May 2020 @ 07:35
      This is so spectacularly misinformed and plain illogical that one can only laugh at it. Literally nonsense
    • DS
      David S.
      20 May 2020 @ 21:31
      Dmitry D. - There is always a little truth in humor. DLS
  • RM
    Robert M.
    20 May 2020 @ 12:30
    What do the age statistics show as to the mortality rates? How do these mortality rates compare to the 1969 and 1957 flu pandemics? Why do some virologists seem to have their voices/testimonies censored?
    • DS
      David S.
      20 May 2020 @ 21:24
      I am not a virologist, but COVID-19 is more dangerous because it can spread before symptoms appear. If I get the flu I do not go to the hospital. When I get the flu, I stay home, do not spread the infection and hopefully get well. COVID-19 is not just the flu - repeat often, take two aspirins and call me in the morning. DLS
  • MM
    Mark M.
    20 May 2020 @ 20:42
    What a wonderful, warm and intelligent interview. Another example of how our ideas can be enhanced through unexpected discussions and the inputs of experts from outside our expectations. Real Vision continues to cast the net wide! Yesterday was the fabulous Mike Novogratz, today Professor Frank Snowden 🙂I am loving the breadth, depth and intelligence of this Quarantined: Global Recession series. Keep them coming! Great interview Pedro!
    • PD
      Pedro D. | Contributor
      20 May 2020 @ 21:22
      Many thanks!
  • PU
    Peter U.
    20 May 2020 @ 09:32
    not giving Pedro another chance . . . skipping this
    • TE
      Tito E.
      20 May 2020 @ 16:27
      You'd be making a mistake. Learned alot from this.
    • PD
      Pedro D. | Contributor
      20 May 2020 @ 18:42
      Come on Pete, we have the same name!
    • GT
      Gene T.
      20 May 2020 @ 20:18
      Nobody cares about comments from someone that DIDN'T watch the video. Move on quietly next time please.
    • MM
      Mark M.
      20 May 2020 @ 20:48
      Your loss.
  • RL
    Roman L.
    20 May 2020 @ 19:02
    Can someone tell the prof that it's perfectly okay to take some breath now and then, and slow the pace down. It would have made this video 100x better.
    • PB
      PHILLIP B.
      20 May 2020 @ 20:45
      He is recovering from coronavirus. Just two days out of quarantine. Speculation on my part, but perhaps the observation is related to healing of lung function.
  • KS
    Kim S.
    20 May 2020 @ 20:19
    I loved this one!
  • PC
    Philip C.
    20 May 2020 @ 13:19
    I doubt Prof Snowden's belief that the virus will permanently affect things like tourism and air travel. People have very short memories. Lots of people can't wait to get back to taking foreign holidays, even cruises.
    • JS
      JEVGENI S.
      20 May 2020 @ 19:56
      Mhm, until another outbreak happens and then they'll just chill at home playing next gen console or what-not.
    • GT
      Gene T.
      20 May 2020 @ 20:14
      Over time, perhaps, but it will take time. It took 7 years for U.S. air passenger volumes to surpass pre 9/11 levels; millions avoided air travel due to the extraordinarily remote possibility of a repeat terrorist attack; some may return to pre-pandemic travel immediately, but at the margin volumes will be depressed for years.
  • JS
    JEVGENI S.
    20 May 2020 @ 20:02
    Great lecture, really enjoyed it. Perhaps we could get a sub-series on the history of various sectors? - Doesn't have to be the full history, but perhaps the past 50-100 years; where we stand now and future outlook /w sector-based challenges, breakthroughs etc..
  • MT
    Mark T.
    20 May 2020 @ 18:57
    A very interesting interview. Pedro, good job. Thanks.
    • PD
      Pedro D. | Contributor
      20 May 2020 @ 19:35
      Thanks!
  • DD
    Dmitry D.
    20 May 2020 @ 06:43
    A treat indeed. Thoroughly enjoyed that, thank you to Prof. Snowden, Pedro and Real Vision
    • PD
      Pedro D. | Contributor
      20 May 2020 @ 18:43
      Cheers! Appreciate the feedback.
  • MD
    Michael D.
    20 May 2020 @ 08:47
    Pedro, well done. I enjoyed the historical insights. Great interview!
    • PD
      Pedro D. | Contributor
      20 May 2020 @ 18:42
      Many thanks.
  • MH
    Michael H.
    20 May 2020 @ 12:40
    59 minutes to get some context or an alternative view. Either way, a very worthwhile 59 minutes. Thank you
    • PD
      Pedro D. | Contributor
      20 May 2020 @ 18:42
      Glad you liked it. It was a pleasure interviewing him.
  • RW
    Richard W.
    20 May 2020 @ 11:45
    Really interesting
    • PD
      Pedro D. | Contributor
      20 May 2020 @ 18:42
      Thank you!
  • RM
    Richard M.
    20 May 2020 @ 17:29
    Pedro, great interview. Prof Snowden was very interesting and knowledgeable and the history was fascinating. I have to admit I was a little worried it would be another "political" show like some of your previous videos, but I thought this was pretty much non-political (and THANK YOU for that). Not sure where the comments below saw "political" statements being made, I must have missed that! Perhaps maybe just your name has become a "trigger" for some. Oh well, to each his own!
    • PD
      Pedro D. | Contributor
      20 May 2020 @ 18:39
      Thanks very much! The interview was certainly an education for me, as is Dr. Snowden's epic book.
  • MT
    Mark T.
    20 May 2020 @ 18:12
    Don't think 'decimation' of the Roman legions has been used in the context of the inability to conscript new soldiers. :-)
  • JM
    John M.
    20 May 2020 @ 15:58
    There is (I think) a sincere desire among many countries around the world to thoroughly investigate the source of this pandemic and to draw appropriate lessons. But this issue appears to be very political. I wonder therefore how much we are really going to learn from this pandemic?
    • RP
      Raoul P. | Founder
      20 May 2020 @ 16:05
      Totally agree. It has become a political issue and thus has immediately become tribal yet again and no one will listen to the other side or even the science.
  • mw
    michael w.
    20 May 2020 @ 15:47
    You can believe in science and not be fearful.
  • SS
    Steve S.
    20 May 2020 @ 13:25
    Really enjoyed this interview. Love the historical epidemic examples. Xenophobia is the constant during every international pandemic. The amount of terrible things I have seen being said to the East Asian Community (Chinese, Japanese, Koreans), many of whom are actually born and brought up in our Western countries is very sad to see.