As the coronavirus spreads across the globe, public health officials are growing more concerned about how to contain the illness. Two scholars from the University of Arizona wonder whether the outbreak is a time to consider a strong preventive measure to thwart epidemics before they wreak havoc – by requiring proof of vaccination to fly. Airplanes can be flying petri dishes, spreading pathogens onboard and also bringing them to new locations, write Christopher Roberts, a professor of law, and Keith Joiner, a professor of medicine.

Today, The Conversation’s collaboration with WBUR and NPR’s live national talk show “On Point” features University of Dayton professor of human rights and law Shelley Inglis, along with historian and Russia expert Cythia Hooper from the College of Holy Cross. Both will be discussing the role of truth in politics, the media and power.

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Bill Chen at San Francisco International Airport after arriving on a flight from Shanghai. Chen said his temperature was screened at the Shanghai airport before he departed. AP Photo / Terry Chea

Airplanes spread diseases quickly – so maybe unvaccinated people shouldn’t be allowed to fly

Christopher Robertson, University of Arizona; Keith Joiner, University of Arizona

Air transportation unquestionably spreads disease. Should airlines be more proactive by requiring proof of vaccination? Two experts reflect on the current and former crises.

Economy + Business

Politics + Society

Ethics + Religion

  • How civil rights leader Wyatt Tee Walker revived hope after MLK’s death

    Corey D. B. Walker, University of Richmond

    In a sermon two weeks after MLK's funeral, civil rights leader, Wyatt Tee Walker, urged young seminarians to be hopeful and take action for making change happen. His sermon has valuable lessons today.

  • 4 things to know about Ash Wednesday

    William Johnston, University of Dayton

    The day that begins the Lenten season is called Ash Wednesday. Here's why it holds deep religious significance for Christians.

  • Why do Christians wear ashes on Ash Wednesday?

    Michael Laver, Rochester Institute of Technology

    Churches started to use ashes early as the ninth century as a symbol of repentance. In 1091, Pope Urban II ritualized their use to mark the beginning of Lent. Today, churches provide 'ashes to go.'


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