In late winter of 2023, a community of radical thinkers and doers convened around The Fault in Our SARS: COVID-19 in the Biden Era, a new book by Rob Wallace and co-authors. The launch was a fundraiser for the Agroecology and Rural Economics Research Corps (ARERC). Watch a selection of events below, and the full speaker series by clicking here or clicking on the names below.
PANELISTS ACROSS THE TWO EVENTS INCLUDED, IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE:
*Mindy Fullilove, author, Root Shock
*Vicente Navarro, professor of Political and Social Sciences at the Pompeu Fabra University (Barcelona, Spain) and professor of Public Policy at The Johns Hopkins University.
*Max Ajl, associated researcher with the Tunisian Observatory for Food Sovereignty and the Environment and a postdoctoral fellow with the Rural Sociology Group at Wageningen University.
*Deborah Wallace, co-author, “The Recurrence of COVID-19 in New York State and New York City”
*Luke Bergmann, co-author, “Dominant modes of agricultural production helped structure initial COVID-19 spread in the U.S. Midwest”
*Allan de Campos Silva, co-author, “Meatpacking giant tied to child labor, deforestation and mass COVID infection”
*Kenichi Okamoto, co-author, “Governance is key to controlling SARS-CoV-2’s vaccine resistance”
*Meleiza Figueroa, co-author, “To live and die in Los Angeles: COVID-19, structural stress, and the path to a more resilient public health”
*Rupa Marya, co-author, Inflamed: Deep Medicine and the Anatomy of Injustice
*Gregg Gonsalves, co-author, The Politics of Care: From COVID-19 to Black Lives Matter
*Adelita Husni-Bey, artist, “On Necessary Work” (2021)
*Adia Benton, author, HIV Exceptionalism and “Race, epidemics, and the viral economy of health expertise”
*Justin Feldman, co-author of the forthcoming How to Hide a Pandemic
*Tammi Jonas, co-author, “Farming, pandemics, and a conservation program aimed at enriching the Global North” and President, Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance
*Luis Fernando Chaves, co-author, “Reifications in disease ecology: Demystifying land use change in pathogen emergence”
**DJ Justin Cheatham was present to keep the event flowing, and Jayanthi Kyle contributed her song, “That’s How the River Flows.”
***Hosted by Edgar Rivera Colón
About The Fault in Our SARS:
The Trump administration’s neglect and incompetence helped put half-a-million Americans in the ground, dead from COVID-19. Joe Biden was elected president in part on the promise of setting us on a science-driven course correction, but, a little more than a year later, another half-a-million Americans were killed by the virus. What happened? In “The Fault in Our SARS,” evolutionary epidemiologist Rob Wallace catalogs the Biden administration’s failures in controlling the outbreak. He also shows that, beyond matters of specific political persona or party, it was a decades-long structural decline associated with putting profits ahead of people that gutted U.S. public health.
COVID-19 isn’t just an American tragedy. Each in its own way, countries around the world following the “profit-first” model failed their people. Global vaccination campaigns were bottled up by efforts to protect pharmaceutical companies’ intellectual property rights. Economies were treated as somehow more real than the people and ecologies upon which they depend. Frustrated populations pushed back against lockdowns, abuses of governmental trust, and, fair or not, the very concept of public health. A social rot meanwhile wended its way into the heart of the sciences that, tasked with controlling disease, serve the systems that helped bring about COVID-19 in the first place.
In The Fault in Our SARS, Wallace and an array of invited contributors aim to strip down the capitalist social psychology that in effect protected the SARS virus. The team proposes instead new approaches in health and ecology that appeal both to humanity’s highest ideals and to the pragmatic changes we must make to survive COVID and the worst of the new diseases on the horizon.