LISTEN LIVE: Here & Now

Advertisement

 

How the experts got the cholera outbreak of 1854 so wrong10:50
Download

Play
The John Snow pub with a replica of the original water pump, at right, that in 1854 Dr John Snow tracked down as the drinking water source of a cholera outbreak that killed more than 500 people, the first time anyone had identified cholera as a water-borne disease, on Broadwick Street, in the Soho area of central London. Snow is considered one of the founders of modern epidemiology. (Matt Dunham/AP)
The John Snow pub with a replica of the original water pump, at right, that in 1854 Dr John Snow tracked down as the drinking water source of a cholera outbreak that killed more than 500 people, the first time anyone had identified cholera as a water-borne disease, on Broadwick Street, in the Soho area of central London. Snow is considered one of the founders of modern epidemiology. (Matt Dunham/AP)

The cholera epidemic of 1854 quickly killed more than 600 people in a neighborhood of London. Officials incorrectly assumed it spread through smelly air, until one maverick doctor insisted that contaminated water was the culprit.

Here & Now's Scott Tong looks at how the health establishment had false assumptions about cholera and the parallels with the COVID pandemic, where experts made a similar wrong assumption about how the virus spread.

Author Sandra Hemphill at a replica of the historic Broad Street Pump in London. (Scott Tong/Here & Now)
Author Sandra Hempel at a replica of the historic Broad Street Pump in London. (Scott Tong/Here & Now)
Retired epidemiologist Rosalind Stanwell-Smith of the John Snow Society, with a photo of Snow in the background. (Scott Tong/Here & Now)
Retired epidemiologist Rosalind Stanwell-Smith of the John Snow Society, with a photo of Snow in the background. (Scott Tong/Here & Now)

This segment aired on May 10, 2022.

Scott Tong Twitter Co-Host, Here & Now
Scott Tong joined Here & Now as a co-host in July 2021 after spending 16 years at Marketplace as Shanghai bureau chief and senior correspondent.

More…

Advertisement

 

Advertisement

 
Play
Listen Live
/00:00
Close