Augustana anthropologist says COVID-19 changing the way we define community

Coronavirus

SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — An Augustana University professor says how we respond to global pandemics like the coronavirus is as much of a reflection of our society as it is of our medical capabilities.

Augustana anthropology professor Adrien Hannus says the Bubonic Plague of the Middle Ages offers a textbook example of how a pandemic unfolds.

“The plague for instance in Europe let’s say in the 12th, 13th, 14th century kept coming back and coming back and coming back, because these diseases are there,” Hannus said.

Fast forward centuries into the present, and there are billions more of us, spread farther out across the planet, putting entire populations at risk of a pandemic. President Donald Trump is mobilizing more national resources to fight the coronavirus.

“I look at it – I view it as a – in a sense, a wartime president. I mean, that’s what we’re fighting,” Trump said on Wednesday.

“They’re describing this now as a war. Well, we need to go on a war footing that shows us that we all need to cooperate,” Hannus said.

Hannus says pandemics are forcing communities to think globally when it comes to how we respond to the threat. Going it alone he says will only cost more lives.

“We are in this together and that is not a joke. And it may be that some people think, ‘I don’t want to be in this together with you,’ but in fact, they are,” Hannus said.

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