A live weekly radio adventure through Indiana history with host Nelson Price.
Check out our extensive list of searchable archived show newsletters and podcasts. You can also listen to recent shows by clicking the podcast links below:
Our October 01 show, "Cemeteries and their historic landscaping" Click here to listen to the podcast
Our September 24 show, "Parke County: more than covered bridges" Click here to listen to the podcast
October 08, 2022
Covid history in Indiana: an update
Even by the spring of 2021, the Covid-19 pandemic had created enough medical and social history in Indiana for Hoosier History Live to explore it in a show. Since then, additional history has unfolded, so we will follow up with another show that will touch on everything from the overwhelming challenges that confronted Indiana hospitals last fall and winter to the resistance to vaccinations.
"Vaccination, especially for children, has turned out to be a hard sell," says Shari Rudavsky, the health and medical reporter for the Indianapolis Star, who has covered the Covid pandemic since the earliest cases were reported in Indiana. Shari, who has a PhD in the history and sociology of science, will return as Nelson's guest to share insights about various aspects of Covid history since our previous show, which was broadcast just as initial vaccinations were being made widely available.
"Even with vaccines, Covid maintains power to be a major societal disruptor," Shari says. She adds: "In the past year, the virus has mutated, getting better at ducking vaccines even if you are vaccinated. But vaccines do greatly decrease one's risk of hospitalization and death."
During this show, we will look at the impact of what's known as "long Covid": that is, people whose symptoms linger months or even years after an initial infection. Last fall, Shari was among several journalists from across the country who contributed reports to a USA Today article that explored long-haul Covid . The article estimated that as many as 12 million people have experienced long-haul symptoms, which can range from fatigue, headaches and "brain fog" to heart problems and gastrointestinal issues.
Last winter, Shari reported about the surge in patients (particularly unvaccinated people) that overwhelmed emergency rooms at hospitals including IU Health Methodist. In January, the Indiana Hospital Association reported the state's hospitals had treated the highest number of patients on record, according to Shari's story.
After touring IU Health Methodist's emergency room, the largest in the state, Shari noted that, at the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, the greatest need was for personal protective equipment. By January 2022, the "precious resource" had become staff, she wrote.
That's because so many health care workers had become infected or needed to be at home to care for family members, including children too young to be vaccinated then. Or they had become burned out, including many nurses who either sought other assignments in the healthcare industry or left the profession.
Last March, Shari reported about a new dashboard established by the Employers' Forum of Indiana, a health care coalition. The dashboard tracks the number of vaccinated and unvaccinated people hospitalized with the coronavirus.
Although Shari noted the dashboard has limitations (many Indiana hospitals were not participating), it made clear "what public health and medical experts have said all along: The majority of people hospitalized for Covid-19 have not been vaccinated, and the vast majority of those who wind up in the intensive care unit and on a ventilator are also unvaccinated."
During our previous show about Covid history with Shari, we described the circumstances involving the first confirmed patient in Indiana. That diagnosis was in March 2020; the patient recovered after quarantining in a hotel. We also explored the first Hoosier to die from the coronavirus. Rebecca "Birdie" Shelton, 69, a beloved employee of a car rental company in Indianapolis and a tireless community volunteer, died at Community Hospital East in March 2020.
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Roadtrip: Refurbished Gennett Walk of Fame in Richmond
Guest Roadtripper and Richmond history enthusiast Bob Jacobsen suggests a visit to the newly remodeled Gennett Records Walk of Fame in Richmond’s Whitewater Valley Gorge Park. This art installation is at the site of Richmond’s legendary blues and jazz recording studio, Gennett Records, which flourished in the 1920s and 30s.
The medallions are large bronze replicas of Gennett records, each embedded with ceramic tile mosaic featuring the pioneering musicians who recorded for the company. Bob tells us that the medallions have been lifted out of the ground, refurbished, and placed at an angle.
Bob tells us that other Richmond sites include the Depot District, the Model T Museum, and the Wayne County Museum, which includes a mummy! Richmond is along the Old National Road in Wayne County in eastern Indiana.
Hoosier History Live looks back . .
. . . to our show "Persimmons and Pawpaws with Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp" originally recorded live at WICR studios on August 12, 2017. The nip of fall is in the air, and aren’t you glad Hoosier History Live has painstakingly preserved all of our show audio and enewsletters over the years? True, some of our old work is held together with straw and baling wire, and radio technology has completely changed since we first went on the air in January of 2008. And some of you tell us that you listen to us entirely on podcast, which we are trying to get a handle on.
At any rate, here you can have a listen to the Persimmons and Pawpaws show while you check out that new recipe for persimmon pudding!
Nelson Price, host and historian
Molly Head, executive producer (317) 506-7164
Ryan DeRome, associate producer
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Acknowledgments to WICR-FM, Fraizer Designs, The Indiana Album, Monomedia, Indiana Historical Bureau, Indiana Landmarks, Henri Pensis, Kielynn Tally, Genesis Brown, Leticia Vasselli, Heather McIntyre, and many other individuals and organizations. We are independently produced and are self-supporting through organizational sponsorship and through individual contribution at the yellow button on our newsletter or website. For organizational sponsorship, which includes logos, links, and voiced credits in the show, contact Molly Head at (317) 506-7164 or email her at email@example.com. Our media reach continues to grow via podcasting.
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