On the latest episode of the Ask a Historian podcast, we speak with Professor Gregg Mitman about the 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak in Liberia. How did people’s faith in or mistrust of their government shape the trajectory of the epidemic? What lessons can the history of Ebola offer in the context of COVID-19?
Gregg tells us about the long history of capitalism, politics, ecology, and medicine behind Liberia’s Ebola outbreak. He reflects on the unique geopolitical challenges of our current moment and the ways COVID-19 confronts racist Western assumptions about disease. Finally, he underscores the vital importance of building trust in order to successfully stem an epidemic.