Brief Opinion

Selected quotes featured in the media

“The cooperation on health projects between the U.S. and China that existed before the Trump administration could have helped to pick up the [corona]virus sooner.”

— Elanah Uretsky, assistant professor in the International and Global
Studies Program, 
on the erosion of joint public-health efforts
by the U.S. and China, in The Atlantic (March 28).

“People with disabilities are terrified. They are terrified that when it comes to scarce resources like ventilators they will be sent to the back of the line. And they are right to be terrified because many states are saying this quite explicitly in their allocation criteria.”

— Ari Ne’eman, visiting scholar at the Lurie Institute for
Disability Policy, on denials of coronavirus treatment,
on the NPR website (March 23).

“Balancing state and local budgets in ways that would amount to a default to the vulnerable people who depend on city and state services would be like us, as a society, eating our seed corn.”

— Daniel Bergstresser, associate professor of finance,
on whether state and local governments should slash budgets
to deal with coronavirus expenditures, in The Atlantic (April 1).

“There’s an odd thing about how this disaster has unfolded. For many of us, the change has felt both too slow, and too fast. It’s like a switch went off — a week and a half too late — triggering massive changes every day. […] [T]he coronavirus crisis has so far been a rolling blackout whose intensity and duration are defined by uncertainty.”

— Journalism lecturer Neil Swidey, on the coronavirus shutdown,
in The Boston Globe (March 23).

“What we’re seeing is a repeat of the 1930s, where the economy is crashing downward and at each step of the way the government’s response is insufficient, and so it keeps on bumping downward.”

— Heller School visiting professor Robert Kuttner, on the
U.S. government’s efforts in the wake of the pandemic,
on the WGBH website (March 24).

“In this moment of crisis, we’re maddened and distraught by the magnitude of the deaths around us. Can we also take these feelings as an invitation to rethink our societal approach toward death, to start rebuilding our awareness of life as a transient gift? Can we use this time to marinate in the truth of our mortality and discover the freedom and potential in that? We might as well try.”

— Anita Hannig, associate professor of anthropology, on changing
how we think about our mortality, in a commentary piece
on the WBUR website (May 4).

“This is a great alternative form of distribution, another way for us to consume entertainment instead of staying home and watching Netflix all the time. But I think this is an intermediate phase before we can get back to what we were doing before.”

— American studies professor Thomas Doherty, on the renewed
interest in drive-in theaters, in The Washington Post (May 2).

“It has shown in bright light that our social safety nets in the workplace have huge holes in them.”

— David Weil, Heller School dean, on what the pandemic
has revealed about gig-worker protections, in The Boston Globe (April 14).

“Social distancing is a quiet life-giving kind of solidarity, taking a step back to literally give breathing space to others, people you don’t know and will never meet, but whose lives depend on you.”

— Yehudah Mirsky, professor of Near Eastern and Judaic studies,
on lessons of togetherness in social distancing,
in a Forward Op-Ed (March 26).

“This risk-scoring and business-and-employee matching framework would be a clear improvement on the current system. Reopening businesses would be able to employ lower-risk workers, and individuals would be given a tool to assess their workplace risks and determine if staying home is best for their circumstances. Most of all, this proposal would prevent American deaths while increasing economic activity.”

— Anna Scherbina, associate professor of finance, on creating
questionnaires that could help determine whether, where and
when someone should return to work, in a blog post
she co-wrote on the American Enterprise Institute website (May 4).