As the coronavirus surges in places like India and Brazil, public health experts warn that while these situations may seem far away from the United States, their impacts are not.

Dr. Louise Ivers is the executive director of the Center for Global Health at Massachusetts General Hospital. She said that she feels privileged to be in Massachusett, where the vaccine rollout is going quite well. But she also said that the health of residents here and throughout the United States and the world depends on a unified response, particularly as new coronavirus variants continue to emerge.

"I think when you look at a virus like we have in this pandemic, you can see that it doesn't know borders, it doesn't know passports, it doesn't know immigration stops," Ivers said. "It's very very difficult to imagine that you could have a containment or that you could have one country, like the U.S., that's perfectly protected despite the virus circulating in other parts of the world. So I think the statement from me that you know, we're not safe until everyone's safe, is both a moral call of both humanity and shared humanity, but also a public health call."

And on the topic of shared humanity, we also heard from Dr. Christopher Gill, a professor of global health at the Boston University School of Public Health, about a recent paper he published that looked at the impacts of the virus in Africa.

Gill said that while public health data may show that the continent was not hit hard by the virus, he and his colleagues found that many countries in Africa lacked the resources for testing and contact tracing and may have under-counted the actual impact of the pandemic. Gill said his fear is that this under-reporting could lead to the perception that Africa needs less aid, including vaccines.

Click on the audio player above to listen to the full episode.


Dr. Louise Ivers - 2:09
Dr. Christopher Gill - 16:42