One Year Into the Pandemic: My Story So Far

An Epidemiologist’s Tale

10 min readMar 12, 2021

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On February 4, 2020, I woke up around 4 in the morning and started to get ready for what would be a very long day. The previous evening, a friend in Washington, DC, had asked if I was available for a radio interview the next morning. A local radio station in DC — a Spanish language station — wanted to talk to someone about the virus from Wuhan, China, that was causing a stir. I agreed to do the interview, which meant that I had to be in DC by no later than 5:30 in the morning.

Image of a radio studio with a man and a woman at the microphones. The man is wearing a black had and a red shirt. The woman is behind equipment.
It was a fun morning, but I needed coffee… Lots of coffee.

Over the previous weeks, my colleagues and I had been talking online and in person about what was going on in China. Some of us theorized that a novel influenza strain had emerged, but the lack of laboratory evidence made that less plausible. (The lack of information from the PRC made sense; they have always been secretive with their outbreaks.) Others theorized some more deadly virus, while others correctly theorized that a coronavirus had been involved in a spillover event.

Slowly, the information from China continued to trickle out, and the World Health Organization and China started reporting what was really going on. By mid-January…

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DrPH in Epidemiology. Associate/JHBSPH. Adjunct/GMU. Epidemiologist. Father. Husband. (He/Him/His/El)