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Cornelius News

Pandemics then and now: Livestream and learn Wednesday

Dr. Kyle Harper

April 3. By Dave Yochum. You can livestream a virtual event, “Plagues upon the Earth: Infectious Disease and Human History,” on Wednesday, April 8, courtesy of Davidson College and Dr. Kyle Harper, a Professor of Classics and Letters and Senior Vice President and Provost at The University of Oklahoma.

MPH Online, an independent online resource with a special emphasis on public health degrees—in particular Master’s in Public Health—says plagues have killed hundreds of millions of people over the centuries.

One example: The Plague of Justinian in 541-542 decimated the city of Constantinople, where at its height it was killing an estimated 5,000 people per day and eventually resulting in the deaths of 40% of the city’s population. All told, 25 million people died across Europe and the Mediterranean.

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation is estimating the cumulative total of COVID-19 deaths to be around 93,000, within a projected range of 39,966 to 177,866, depending on various factors including social distancing.

Harper, who received his Ph.D. from Harvard, has focused his research on social and economic history from the days of the Roman Empire and the early Middle Age.

His current work on the environmental and population history of the first millennium explores the impact of climate change and disease on the history of civilization. His book, “The Fate of Rome: Climate, Disease, and the End of an Empire” (Princeton University Press, 2017), argues that climate change and pandemic disease were integral to the fall of the Roman Empire.

His livestream will be accessible here. The page will be updated with the new link closer to the time of the lecture.

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