Sabrina Sakata and Emily Fink Oral History, 2021/12/03


Title (Dublin Core)

Sabrina Sakata and Emily Fink Oral History, 2021/12/03

Description (Dublin Core)

how past pandemics relate to the current COVID-19 pandemic

Recording Date (Dublin Core)

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Controlled Vocabulary (Dublin Core)

Curator's Tags (Omeka Classic)

Date Submitted (Dublin Core)


Date Modified (Dublin Core)


Date Created (Dublin Core)


Interviewer (Bibliographic Ontology)

Emily Fink
Sabrina Sakata

Interviewee (Bibliographic Ontology)

Sabrina Sakata
Emily Fink

Format (Dublin Core)


Language (Dublin Core)


Duration (Omeka Classic)


abstract (Bibliographic Ontology)

Emily Fink and Sabrina Sakata ask each other questions about the COVID-19 pandemic and how they’re university class on past pandemics has informed taught them.

Transcription (Omeka Classic)

Emily Fink 00:00
Hello, this is Emily Fink and I'm interviewing Sabrina Sakata today. Do you give your consent to being recorded? And can you please state the date and time?

Sabrina Sakata 00:08
Yes, I give my consent and it is December 3, 11:42am.

Emily Fink 00:14
Okay, so my first question is how do you think this pandemic compares to past pandemics we discussed in class where to pandemics you researched outside of class?

Sabrina Sakata 00:24
I think I would just say that this pandemic compares to past pandemics we discussed in class because it shows how important it is to really come together as a society to work together against a force such as a global pandemic. I think it also shows just shows how effective masks mandates and general health standards and conditions are to stop the spread of disease. And it shows just how far we've come as a society to fight against pandemics, such as using advanced technology. I think it also just shows how like similar everyone feels regarding a pandemic. Like in all the pandemics we learned about there was confusion and panic which is similar to how people felt at the beginning of the Coronavirus. And I think it was honestly just really interesting to learn about all these past pandemics and how similar they were to the Coronavirus.

Emily Fink 01:12
Do you think learning about other pandemics helped put COVID-19 into context?

Sabrina Sakata 01:17
I think that learning about past pandemics helps to show how we have progressed as a society against the spread of disease. And I think it just helps to show how even like with our new technology, and advanced medical equipment with Coronavirus, the outcome can still be similar to past pandemics, just depending on the type of disease and like how quickly we react to the disease. And I think it just shows how fighting against a pandemic takes a society working together in order to collectively come together to end a pandemic.

Emily Fink 01:51
Would you recommend learning about past pandemics to other people?

Sabrina Sakata 01:54
Yes, I would recommend learning about past pandemics other people. I think it's just important to learn from history about past pandemics and diseases and to take what we've learned and apply it to future and current pandemics. I think this is important just for not like repeating past mistakes like that we've done with past pandemics, because this means that you know you're not advancing as a society. And I think like especially, with the Coronavirus, this class has really helped put it into context and learning about pandemics is very relevant and necessary to know.

Emily Fink 02:26
Okay, thank you. That was all the questions I had for you.

Sabrina Sakata 02:29
Okay, so I'm Sabrina Sakata and I will be interviewing Emily Fink. Do you give your consent to be interviewed? And can you please state the date and time?

Emily Fink 02:38
I give my consent and the date is December 3 and time is 11:46am.

Sabrina Sakata 02:44
Okay, so my first question is, do you think that we have learned as a society from past pandemics in the current pandemic?

Emily Fink 02:52
I think it varies. I think in terms of technology, we obviously have advanced in terms of like vaccines and testing. I think in terms of communication, we obviously have the internet, so it's easy to do fast communication, so that helps. But also, there's still a lot of certain countries holding out information like I know, for COVID China did not alert the world that fast, which is similar to like what happened with SARS. So that was kind of a problem. Yeah, um, in terms of like the internationalist perspective, which Snowden right, it mentioned in his writing, I feel like people in the US generally only really started carrying, like preparing for COVID when it got to Washington. So there was still that kind of feeling of immunity from the disease before it reached the US. I know, I also was like a part of this, because I remember specifically in like my Chinese class, we held a fundraiser to send masks to China. But then like, a few weeks later, school was shut down. So we were like, "Oh, maybe we should have kept that for ourselves." Or like, fundraise for like, us in America? And then also, there's always been scapegoating still, because like with COVID, there is like a bunch of blaming Asian Americans in the US. And like, even like our president at the time, Trump calling it like, the Kung Flu or the China Virus. Yeah. So in some ways it has we have progressed and some others not really.

Sabrina Sakata 04:24
Yeah, I would agree with that. So my second question is: How has learning about past pandemics affected your view of the current pandemic we are in?

Emily Fink 04:34
Kind of related to like, last thing is how, like, far we've progressed, technology wise, especially like when comparing the mortality rates of like, the Black Death or something like that was 50%, I think, and obviously, a lot of people are still dying from COVID. But compared to the Black Death, it's a lot less in terms of like the percentage of people and also like how much we've really just repeated the same mistakes. Like which I mentioned before, also like scapegoating, and like just the way we view like disease as being limited to like the borders of countries, which obviously like, isn't true.

Sabrina Sakata 05:07
Yeah. So my last question is, do you think it is important or necessary to learn about past pandemics?

Emily Fink 05:15
I think it is important because the lack of knowledge about past pandemics leads to repetition of the same mistakes that people pretend, tend to forget the devastation pandemics had on the world in between the time from pandemic pandemic. This doesn't just include the general population, but also powerful health organizations such as like the World Health Organization. I think if there was a better general education about past pandemics, there could be a shift in negative trends of pandemics in the way that the general population reacts. And, um, the shift would also make sure that who and other health organizations are prepared and well funded for the next pandemic.

Sabrina Sakata 05:51
Great. That's it. Thank you.

Emily Fink 05:54
Thank you.

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This item was submitted on December 3, 2021 by Sabrina Sakata using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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