In an episode of the Bloomberg Balance of Power podcast titled “Responding to the Omicron Variant,” Rutgers Global Health Institute director Richard Marlink speaks with host David Westin about the current state of the pandemic. Among the topics Marlink discusses are vaccination uptake, protecting older people, mask mandates, frustrations with government officials, travel bans, and holiday gatherings.

Responding to the Omicron Variant

Rutgers Global Health Institute director Richard Marlink was a featured guest on Bloomberg’s Balance of Power podcast.

Excerpts from the interview with Marlink include:

“Until you’re really personally affected, a lot of people don’t change their personal health behaviors.” Marlink recalls experiences with the HIV/AIDS epidemic, in that people started to change their behaviors when they knew people who were sick or had died. “We should look around and realize that 800,000 Americans have died. Most Americans are now starting to know a family member or friend or somebody.”

“Masks work against respiratory diseases. Mask mandates – should they happen? I think they should. Are they frustrating? Yes, unbelievably so. Is it the fault of the mayor or the governor or the president or some official that says, let’s do the right public health thing? It’s really not their fault. They’re just trying to slow the virus down, and not get people infected, or not spread the infection. The fault lies with the virus.  We shouldn’t underestimate the virus.”

Listen to the podcast at