News & Information

COVID-19 and National Security, Pandemic Voices Part IV, Replika

Top of Mind with Julie Rose
  • Apr 16, 2020 8:00 pm
  • 1:40:12

Pandemics Are a Different Kind of National Security Threat (0:32) Guest: Ryan Vogel, Director of the Center for National Security Studies, Utah Valley University President Trump this week halted US funding to the World Health Organization, which he blames for being slow to call for widespread travel restrictions and failing to press China on inconsistent and inaccurate information as COVID-19 emerged. Time and again, President Trump has praised his own decision to limit travel from China and restrict movement at the southern US border. The President’s frequent focus on travel restrictions and border control during the pandemic highlights the ways in which this is both a public health crisis and an issue of national security. US Population Is Growing at Its Slowest Rate in Over a Century (15:58) Guest: Scott Sanders, PhD, Professor of Sociology, Brigham Young University Because of COVID-19, America’s death rate this year will be unusually high. But even before the coronavirus began spreading, the US population growth rate was stagnating. Last year, half of all counties in the country had more deaths than births. Pandemic Voices: The Netherlands, Germany, Lithuania, Haiti (27:02) All week, we’ve been hearing from everyday people on almost every continent - about their struggles during the coronavirus pandemic and their hopes for the future. We’re wrapping up the series today with four final conversation. Michael Barteling in the Netherlands Melissa Dalton Bradford in Germany Arturas Ratkus in Lithuania Erika Charles in Haiti Tracking the Pill Shipments That Delivered the Opioid Epidemic (50:38) Guest: Eric Eyre, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Reporter, Author of “Death in Mud Lick: A Coal Country Fight Against the Drug Companies That Delivered the Opioid Epidemic” Opioids continue to cause the majority of drug overdose deaths in America. For much of the last 15 years, prescription pain pills were the main culprit in those deaths and West Virginia was the epicenter of the problem. Several of its rural counties had the highest overdose death rates in the nation. No coincidence, they were also being flooded with pills. One small pharmacy in a tiny town called Kermit, West Virginia distributed 12 million pills in three years. The town has a population of just 382 people. That’s insane. And something similar was happening in counties all across America. Why did drug makers and distributors keep sending the pills? Where were the pharmacy oversight boards, the local police, the federal drug authorities? An App That’s Designed to Be Your BFF (1:27:03) Guest: Eugenia Kuyda, Co-Founder and CEO at Replika During this pandemic school and work have moved online. So have therapy and routine doctor’s appointments. Many of our relationships have moved online, too. Three years ago, Eugenia Kuyda created an artificially intelligent bot that can take the place of a friend in some cases. It’ll talk or text with you about your day, offer support or insight and, because it’s artificially intelligent, it learns from your conversations over time. It’s like a warm fuzzy Siri or Alexa. Which sounds weird, but I tried it out and there was something oddly comforting about discussing my anxiety with it.