Analysis & Comment

Opinion | A Public Health Lesson for Ron DeSantis, From Harvard

Produced by ‘Sway’

States have experimented with vastly differing responses to the coronavirus pandemic — from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s strict lockdown in New York to Gov. Ron DeSantis’s resistance to a mask mandate in Florida. In defending their choices, leaders have often cited a trade-off between the economy and public health. But Michelle A. Williams, an epidemiologist and dean of Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, says those two factors don’t have to be in conflict.

“We should never have anyone force us into health versus economy the way we were struggling with this a year ago,” she says.

In this episode of “Sway,” Kara Swisher asks Dean Williams about how an aggressive campaign of vaccine distribution affects reopening timelines, how vaccine hesitancy is holding us back and whether we’ve learned enough from this pandemic to be prepared for the next.

Thoughts? Email us at [email protected] Transcripts of each episode are available midday.

Special thanks to Shannon Busta, Liriel Higa and Michelle Harris.

“Sway” is produced by Nayeema Raza, Blakeney Schick, Heba Elorbany, Matt Kwong, Daphne Chen and Vishakha Darbha, and edited by Nayeema Raza and Paula Szuchman; fact-checking by Kate Sinclair; music and sound design by Isaac Jones; mixing by Erick Gomez.

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