The Generational Dread of the Climate Crisis w/ Varshini Prakash | Crooked Media
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May 24, 2022
America Dissected
The Generational Dread of the Climate Crisis w/ Varshini Prakash

In This Episode

Mental health among young people is worse than it’s ever been. Millennials and Generation Z are the first generation whose financial outlook looks worse than the generations before it. But that’s not even what weighs heaviest on many young peoples’ minds–the notion that the very Earth on which we are building is in crisis causes a unique kind of existential dread. Abdul sits down with the Executive Director of the Sunrise Movement, Varshini Prakash to understand how climate anxiety may be affecting mental health among America’s young people.

 

 

Transcript

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed: A third of counties in the United States now meet the CDC’s threshold for recommending masking in indoor settings. Meanwhile, the FDA has approved a booster for children aged 5 to 11. More than 2 million cases of suspected COVID have been reported in North Korea. That’s as draconian lockdowns continue to roil cities in China. A case of monkeypox has been identified in Massachusetts. This is America Dissected. I’m your host, Doctor Abdul El-Sayed. Last year, two of my favorite people did me the honor of asking me to officiate their wedding. Both had worked on my campaign for governor in Michigan from the earliest days back when we didn’t even have a campaign headquarters and were working out of a small coffee shop in Detroit. The groom is a golden retriever of a human being, always happy and hopeful. He became the mascot of our campaign, lifting spirits even in the most difficult moments. It’s why his vows nearly broke everyone in attendance. See, he talked about his partner in contrast to the existential sadness of climate change, that she was the single being that gave him hope amidst all his fears. What was so poignant about it was that he was expressing two mutually exclusive visions of a future, a beautiful future, where he and the woman he loved would build a family. That against a future where the climate crisis, with its storms and wildfires and conflict, would upend on that. It was painful to hear.

 

Mental health among young people is plummeting. In 2015, about 25% of high school students, a quarter, reported feeling persistently side or hopeless. That number is up to 40% in 2021. There’s also been a major increase in teen suicidality. There is no doubt that the pandemic has a lot to do with that. After all, it robbed so many young people the thing they crave most, one another. Another part of that is the persistent way social media tricks us into thinking that our online avatars are actually real people. But there’s no way around the fact that the future looks quite bleak for young people, and the climate crisis is one of the most indelible aspects of the angst young people are feeling today. A recent global survey of young people found that 60% were worried about climate change, and 56% felt that humanity was doomed–doomed! In a poll from the American Psychological Association, 55%, more than half of Americans, were concerned about the impact of climate change on their mental health. Among Gen Z, that number was 67%–two thirds. It was also higher among millennials. And that’s shaping the choices that young people are making. A report from Morgan Stanley, a stiff and tidy investment bank, they said, and I quote, “The movement to not have children, owing to fears over climate change, is growing and impacting fertility rates quicker than any preceding trend in the field of fertility decline.” This is a profound moment in American life. There’s a lot to be anxious about, whether it’s the pandemic or our polarizing political circumstances–all of them are taking a toll. But climate is unique because it’s a long-term problem with fundamental, existential impacts that only bear out well into the future. It’s also a problem that we can do something about. What makes it all the more frustrating is that so few of the people in power are doing those things! Though the Biden administration made climate action a priority out of the gate, they ran into the buzzsaw of Joe Manchin, a single politician from a fossil-fuel producing state whose personal wealth is tied into the coal industry. The efforts have since fizzled, and it’s hard to say we’ve made progress since the administration even took over. And yet everything the administration aimed to do was a function of committed, grassroots climate organizing, much of which was led by young people like my guest today. Varshini Prakash is the Executive Director of the Sunrise Movement, a movement of young people working to stop climate change through a transformative investment in a green economy. Varshini has led Sunrise, which she helped co-found, for five years, and she’s not even 30. As a note of transparency, I served on the Board of the Sunrise Movement for a few years. I wanted to have her on to help us understand how climate anxiety is shaping young people’s mental health, and what they’re doing about it. Here’s Varshini.

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed: All right, can you introduce yourself with the tape?

 

Varshini Prakash: Varshini Prakash, I am the executive director of Sunrise, which is organizing young people to stop the climate crisis and build economic prosperity for all.

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed: Varshini, I really appreciate you taking the time and have long appreciated your work from the very start of Sunrise and have been grateful to have played a small part of it. I want to ask you, just go way back, when was the first time you realized what the climate crisis even was, that there was a such thing?

 

Varshini Prakash: I remember it really vividly. I was sitting in Earth science class when I was 14-years old and my science teacher put on “An Inconvenient Truth” and I remember getting to the end of that, hour, hour-long documentary with Al Gore back in the day, and I remember really vividly thinking, oh. We have decades to solve this. They told us, you know, we’ll need to resolve the issue of climate sometime in 2020. You know, and surely some smart, capable, concerned, responsible adults will have figured out a plan by then. And I remember the first time I heard about the climate crisis, I really kind of tucked it away. I was like, That’s big, that’s in the future, it’s not something I need to worry about. And I was way more concerned about issues of food and water and pollution, all of which, as we know, are deeply connected to the issue of climate, but I really didn’t come to organizing or landing in the climate justice movement until years later.

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed: When was the first time that the experience of, or the impending crisis of it all, and the fact that we just don’t have as much time as a lot of the folks who’ve been here longer seem to believe we have–when did the weight of that really hit you?

 

Varshini Prakash: I remember several years ago there was a bout of monsoon rains that hit really hard in Chennai, India, which is where my dad grew up and where my grandparents lived for a long time. And I found out about it kind of on Facebook and on the news and through family members, and seeing these streets that I had visited when I was a child and growing up that were submerged in ten feet of water, of seeing these mothers and families having to be evacuated, not even by the government, but by fisher people, and, you know, hearing from my grandma that the first floor of their apartment had completely been drowned in water and that people were stuck or having to walk miles to sanctuary. I remember hearing that, you know, thousands of people were displaced in those floods and seeing this image of hundreds of people who had perished and thinking to myself, like, I am so lucky. I am so lucky that my grandparents happened to be away at that time. And if they hadn’t, would they have survived, or how would they have survived? And I think it was this wake-up call to realize these climate-fueled monsoon seasons, these floods, the famine, the drought–it is, it’s upon us. It’s not 10, 20, 30 years in the future. It is affecting our grandparents, our families, our friends, our communities. It is today. It is here. It is our reality. It’s not science fiction. It is today and it is our reality. And I think that was a huge wake-up call to realize the adults aren’t in the room. There aren’t people who are coming to take care of us. We are waiting for a solution. We are waiting for something that isn’t coming. We have to be birthing that through our own actions. And that was around the same time that I joined with a number of climate leaders across the United States to begin the process of starting Sunrise.

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, narrating: We’ll be back with more with Varshini after this break.

 

[ad break]

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed: And you turned that emotion, that combination of frustration and fear, into action, into activism. But what were the emotions associated with that for you? You talked about fearing for the lives and well-being of your family, but in terms of the sort of sense of yourself in the world, in the world as it may very well be in the future, what were the set of feelings that came with that?

 

Varshini Prakash: I think it was a lot, especially when I think back to that, it was almost six or seven years ago, maybe more, it was a lot of anger. A lot of anger, a lot of like, How could you let this happen on your watch? It was like this level of desperate desperation and anxiety that I think a lot of young people feel about the climate crisis. Like, I spent a lot of time with my friends in college, like imagining the bunker we would have to live in when it all went to shit, and, you know, government just, like, didn’t exist anymore because we were embroiled in World War V. And I just remember it feeling like this churn of emotions that was both so much fear and anxiety and desperation and anger, and at the same time, coupled like, when I really dug a little bit deeper, I think the underlying emotion was love. And this sense that there’s so much that is precious in my life that is worth fighting for. There’s so much that I have, my family, my friends, my relationships, my home, my community, the soil that I was raised on and love so much. And this, like, really weird, special planet that I like, really can’t understand why we’re here, what we’re doing here, what the point of all of it is, but it feels really worth saving and protecting. And I think always under the fear and anxiety that so much of us feel, that love is the thing that is ultimately guiding our actions. And if we can allow that to come to the surface, what would be possible for the world that we might build out of the ashes of so much of this crisis.

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed: And what I hear your voice as a real urgency about this. And obviously your work has expressed that urgency at the highest levels and one of the frustrations that I think a lot of young folks have is that sense of urgency just isn’t matched by folks who’ve been around a bit longer, who don’t see the climate crisis as the existential threat that it is. How does that make you feel? I’m sure you’ve been–I know you’ve been in conversations with folks who tell you that it’s all going to be okay and you’re just, you’re just, you’re overreacting. How does that response churn the set of emotions that this recognition comes with?

 

Varshini Prakash: Yeah. I mean, it’s infuriating. I think, like something like 50% of people who are ages 18 to 35 say that the stress that they feel about climate change is actually impacting their daily lives. And this is something that a majority of Americans understand is going to negatively affect generations to come. It’s going to affect their communities. And to feel, to see the way that politicians that have come before us have known about this issue, right? We have known about this issue for over 50 years. In fact, fossil fuel companies have had the best climate science about the way in which their product was leading to climate catastrophe since the ’60s and ’70s and instead of taking decisive action on the issue, they chose to lie about it, pour millions and millions of dollars into confusing and sowing misinformation in the public, and buying out so many politicians. Like, it is not possible to be a Republican that cares about the climate crisis because as soon as you do, you find yourself kicked out. And so I think there’s this sense of like, it feels like the world is literally ending, and the science is telling us the world may possibly be ending, and it feels like, kind of like an entire generation is being gaslit around the reality of that situation. And so, you know, it feels, it’s this really intense tension that I think our generation lives with that is recognizing that we are the first to bear the brunt of the impacts of the climate crisis, that future generations are really–sorry–previous generations are really not going to be around to experience. And we’re also kind of the last generation that has power to attempt to prevent as much of the carnage as possible. And so you’re living in this reality of so much has already been lost and yet we have to drum up the level of agency and capacity to continue to fight in order to protect what has not. And so, yeah, I think it’s a really interesting, it’s like a really intense tension that our generation is living right at the nexus of.

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed: You know that sense of being gaslit, I think, you know, when I think about our generation, you know, even the generation just below me–I’m a older millennial and I sort of struggle with where I sit–like I feel like I’m a young person, but I can’t credibly call myself a young person anymore. I got excited about cardamom and coffee recently, and I was like, Oh my God, if the younger version of me could have seen me now . . .

 

Varshini Prakash: I love that for you, though. It’s the small things, you know.

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed: Thanks. Appreciate. I love that for me, too. Cardamom is delicious it turns out.

 

Varshini Prakash: It’s so good!

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed: But that notion that it’s not just that generations ahead of us are buying into the notion that any problem or solving happens linearly–and we know that this is not a linear problem, this is an exponential problem that gets worse and worse and worse, and it compounds on itself. So the space of action is limited and once you miss that space of action, the next moment of action is far less impactful even if you make a bigger action. That and the fact that it’s not just that they often have failed, our leaders have failed to do something about the problem, but instead they have capitulated to and assented to a system that has made the problem worse. And that notion, right, that almost inability to own up to having been a part of causing it, and then that showing up in the way that they leverage our youth against us, I think is one of the most profound frustrations of being a pseudo young person who likes cardamom these days.

 

Varshini Prakash: Totally.

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed: I want to ask you because, you know, we’re at this age where a lot of the big decisions of a life tend to get made. And there are a lot of structural reasons why young folks often find themselves precluded, whether it’s student loan debt or it’s the increasing cost of buying a home, the cost of having a child without child care in this country, but people are making life decisions about how they build a family. And I find that that oftentimes those decisions aren’t just structural, but they’re almost seen as a risk in terms of what you’re bringing young folks or the next generation into.

 

Varshini Prakash: Mm hmm.

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed: How has the impending climate crisis shaped yours or your peers’ decision making about forming a family, about bringing forward another generation, about having kids? How has it informed your thinking?

 

Varshini Prakash: Yeah. It’s a really good question and I have seen it all around me. Like it’s, you know, I remember this one conversation that we had at a meeting that we were having to figure out how we respond to climate disasters. And a 16-year old in that retreat was talking about feeling like it was utterly, they couldn’t imagine having a child in this world or being a parent, given the horrors that would be the environment that that child was raised in. And it’s something I’ve heard in so many people that I work with, and something that I’ve considered myself. And I don’t judge anyone for the decision that they make, whether you have a child or you don’t have a child, it’s completely up to you. But for me, I, you know, I’m not sure that that is going to be for me for a variety of reasons, but one of them certainly this. And so, you know, I, I think in many ways this is, the level of, I think it’s dramatically tied to the level of hopelessness that young people feel in their lives right now. And even prior to the pandemic, I think about when I graduated from high school, we graduated right into the aftermath of the recession, and now these kids who are graduating or who have had so many years of their lives disrupted because of the pandemic, have lost years of social connection and development, and who are just trying to figure things out again. I mean, the level of hopelessness that has happened for young people coming out of the pandemic is three or four times what it was even going into the pandemic. And the level of depression, the level of anxiety like, you know, tremendous amount of people who are feeling persistently sad, persistently hopeless, about the future direction of the world, and I think that has a huge impact on how you make decisions about your life moving forward–whether you feel like you will be strapped to debt for the next decades of your life and either don’t pursue or, you know, strap yourself with more debt, in order to pursue education. Whether you feel like, you know, we can actually surmount the issue of the climate crisis and pass sweeping legislation, which the last few months have proven to us has been extremely difficult. And these are all the choices that people are thinking about, is like, do we have a government, do we have institutions that can hold me and take care of me and take care of my children in the decades that are coming? And a lot of them are feeling like, No.

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed: You mentioned this, but we’ve been watching as the rates of anxiety and depression, frankly, suicidality, have been skyrocketing among young people, and the inflection is offward, right? It’s not just increase, it’s the rate of change of the increase. Do you think that climate has something to do with it?

 

Varshini Prakash: Absolutely. I mean, I think young people are in despair about the climate crisis, and this goes across party lines as well. You know, people feel like the future is extremely scary. People feel like the government is lying to them or is diminishing their concerns or lying about how much progress has been made or is dismissing the concerns that they have. I mean, we saw in 2019 there were 7 million students who took to the streets during the climate strikes in every continent in the world. The level of outpouring of outrage and support for, and demands on our global leadership to take action on this issue is just so palpable, until, you know, of course, the pandemic killed a lot of our ability to gather. But I think that it’s really, I think our existing leadership, you can tell so much about the future of a country and the future of an economy based off of the well-being of its people, and particularly its young people given that those are the folks who are going to continue on for decades to come. And I am alarmed. Like, I am alarmed about how the level of fear and despair and nihilism among young people, and the severe weight of isolation that young people are feeling–which is, you know, obviously gotten so much worse during the pandemic. And it’s it’s a massive weight that people feel like they need to deal with alone, largely. Which is part of why it feels so immense and so overwhelming all at once as well.

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, narrating: We’ll be back with more with Varshini Prakash after this break.

 

[ad break]

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed: We’ve heard a lot of talk from politicians, and unfortunately, there hasn’t been a lot of action on their part. And yeah, we can point to structural realities about who’s in Congress and how they’ve made their money, ala Joe Manchin, but there is something about the idea of locus of control. The notion that you can actually do something about the circumstances in which you find yourself, that are really important for thinking about mental health and, frankly, mental illness. How do you think the failure of our politicians to act, even after paying quite a bit of lip service to the issue, how do you think that that’s shaping the dread that young people experience about it?

 

Varshini Prakash: Yeah. No, it’s a huge part. I just the story of the last year, last several years actually, is a big piece of this with, you know, the the the climate part of Build Back Better, which was really substantial. Largely because of movements and because of the kind of organizing that has happened over the last few years, climate topped the agenda for the Biden administration. It was the first time that I had heard it mentioned with as much clarity in, you know, a presidential inaugural speech. There was like a New York Times article that said climate change became the largest part of the Biden spending bill. It was like if we could have written The New York Times a headline for 2021 of this year back in 2017 when we launch Sunrise, I’m like, I don’t know if we would have gotten any better. And it was like, you know, it came from movement energy. There were young people on the campaign trail who were asking every single presidential candidate if they were going to back a Green New Deal and stop the climate crisis and not take money from the oil and gas industry. We were getting people elected to office who are climate champions and, you know, and throughout last year there was so much activity. I remember people, towards the end of last year, Emma, who was turning 18, went on a hunger strike the day after and didn’t eat food for two weeks. And to see a young person who is 18-years old, who was so convicted around the future that she wants to build, that she is willing to sacrifice her body, like to see her go from being this healthy, vibrant young people person to being in a wheelchair for days and not being able to walk or use the restroom, I mean, it was just heartbreaking. And then even after that sacrifice and that action, to see a future just squeezed to death by the hands of a man who is more beholden to corporations and the fossil fuel empire than to his own people. Like he looked those kids in the eye, you know, in a wheelchair, and still refused to take action. What do we expect? And that’s why I gets so pissed when people are like, Well, young people don’t vote, Oh, well, young people aren’t engaged politically. I’m like, Look at the ones who are, we are leading in so many ways. And like, who is actually lacking humanity here? Who is actually failing to take action commensurate to the crisis? Because I can tell you right now, it’s not the teenagers. It’s not the teenagers. And it has political implications, too, right? I mean, at the beginning of 2021, young people were hugely supportive. He had the highest net approval rating among young people of all age groups, and at the end of that year, he gave, you know, young people gave Biden a lower net approval rating that basically every other age group. And a lot of that is because of the way that the administration has not delivered in combating the climate crisis. And so this is a huge piece of it. And the thing that I will say, like what gives me a shred of hope is seeing, not because of the leadership of our politicians, not because of economics or the market–just to see how much ordinary people coming together has shifted the entire political landscape around this issue and has forced it into our public debate has lowered–I mean, sorry, has, not lowered–has increased the bar so dramatically for what constitutes climate action, has connected the issues of race and economy and climate–that is what gives me hope. And we don’t know how this story is going to end, but I really believe that if we get even an iota of justice over the course of the next few years, it’s going to be because of ordinary people coming together and taking action.

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed: You know, to your point, young people are just like any other voter, and they’re going to show up when they believe that their vote matters, that the politicians that they elect to deliver on the things they want them to deliver on. And the challenge is that often there are few voters that are taking us for granted as young people. If people treated, you know, your average 18 to 25-year old, the way that, you know, we treat the mythical suburban white mom voter, we would have delivered on a whole bunch of other public policy choices. And the problem is, is that the assumption is that, you know, progressive young folks are always going to show up and they’re going to show up regardless of the circumstance, and if they choose not to show up, well, then they’re not being pragmatic about the way the political process works. They should have showed up even more. And part of the frustration is, is that, well, how much more do you want to ask people to show up for something that a lot of them have all-but given up on? And you got to remember that, you know, raising past history is very little succor for a young person who hasn’t lived that past history. Because, you know, if you’re–I’m 37, right, and I graduated, I was in high school during 9/11 and I watched our country make war on people who look like I did and prayed like I did because of the awful actions of 19 people and their backers. And then I graduated college into the Great Recession, when I watched a lot of my classmates who worked hard in college and got great grades and did everything they’re supposed to do, they watched their parents lose their jobs and couldn’t find a job for themselves. And then meanwhile, I’m like raising my kid in the worst pandemic in modern history, in large part because during that period, we disinvested in the basic public health infrastructure that people deserved. And that’s as somebody who’s 37, right? Now, if you are 27 or 20, your lived experience of the world around you is that politics does not deliver for the things that you need and deserve in your life.

 

Varshini Prakash: No, that’s exactly right.

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed: And your structural reality is the failure of politicians like Joe Manchin. And, you know, now we’re going to come and ask you, You got to show up and you got to vote, right? Because that’s the way the system works. Yes, that’s true. That is the way the system works. But if you’ve never seen the system work, then at some point you’re like, What is this pipe dream you’re telling me about the system working? I’ll tell you, as someone who has sort of, you know, as an older young person, the thing that gives me hope is two. A, I got a four-year old and I can’t, I don’t have the luxury of not having hope because I don’t deign to leave her in a world where we haven’t thought through these things, where she has to suffer the existential crisis, just like this generation just under me and my generation have had. But then the second piece is watching young folks like you, and folks all over Sunrise and so many other movements decide that–you know, forget hope–that existential responsibility is going to bring them to lead for their generation and the generation afterwards, no matter what people tell them. And that, to me, is truly hopeful. And so I’m really grateful for leaders like you and and all the folks out there doing the work. And I truly am deeply sorry that we have not handled this yet, right? And that we have not at least put down the bricks that ought to at least give you some relief from that existential dread. We owe you, and, you know, the generation that comes after you so much more. So grateful for you and your leadership, and grateful for you coming to join us today and talk to us about the intersection between the climate crisis and mental health. That was Varshini Prakash. She is the Executive Director of Sunrise.

 

Varshini Prakash: Thanks Abdul.

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, narrating: As usual, here’s what I’m watching right now. A third of U.S. counties now meet the threshold for CDC masking guidelines. This was CDC director Rochelle Walensky issuing a dire warning.

 

[clip of Dir. Rochelle Walensky] While cases remain much lower than during the Omicron surge this past winter, the current seven-day daily average of cases is now at about 94,000 cases per day, which is an increase nationally about 26% over the previous week, and a three-fold increase over the last month.

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed: As COVID cases rise, communities are facing important questions about how to respond. In New York City, Mayor Eric Adams has ruled out bringing back mask mandates, and yet, this moment in the ongoing pandemic leaves us with relatively few options. Research into the immune response to COVID-19 infection shows that immunity wanes after 3 to 4 months. And while vaccines remain the single most important thing we can do to protect ourselves, vaccine-mediated immunity appears to wane against these new Omicron sub variants too. For their part, the FDA has approved, and the CDC has recommended, a third dose for children aged 5 to 11, and yet only a third of kids in this age group have gotten their first two doses to begin with. There’s also the implicit question of timing. Though cases are rising, we’re also expecting another possible wave in the fall. If immunity wanes after another dose, is it better to have a third dose now or to wait? All of this highlights the challenges of this moment in the pandemic. If new variants can continue to evade our immunity, which wanes, then how do we think about prevention? Make no mistake, COVID is still out there. Infections and hospitalizations are rising, and we still do well to keep that in mind as we make decisions. Meanwhile, in North Korea, officials are reporting more than 2 million cases of what North Korean authorities call “fever” but is suspected COVID. Though the beleaguered country has reported zero actual cases to the WHO, there’s a lot of concern about what COVID could do to a population that is largely impoverished, malnourished, and immuno-naive to the virus. The government has blocked vaccines even from its ally in China, and lacks the means of testing. What’s happening across North Korea’s border in China, could signal what might be coming for the country. In China, authorities have placed the entire city of Shanghai, with 26 million inhabitants, under a draconian lockdown for seven weeks. They reported zero COVID cases for five days, but new cases this week may prolong the lockdown, which is slated to end on June 1st. All of this raises an important set of questions about Omicron sub-variants. We experience them in the US, where upwards of 60% of people have already been infected and nearly 70% have had at least two doses of the vaccine, as relatively mild, but that could be as much because of baseline immunity in our population as because of anything about the virus itself. So what about in communities where there has been little vaccination or previous infection?

 

Meanwhile, back home, a case of monkeypox was identified in Massachusetts. Though monkeypox is endemic in parts of Central Africa, this case is the first in the U.S. and appears to be part of a global outbreak, with several cases identified in the U.K.. Monkeypox, a cousin of smallpox, is an infectious illness that spreads both from animals to humans–it’s called monkeypox because it was first identified in the monkey–and from humans to humans. But before you start to freak out, let me give you some context on this. It’s not nearly as transmissible as COVID. Though it does spread through aerosols,. It requires a lot of face-to-face time. It can also be spread through contact with the infectious lesions, the pox, or through contact with fomites, the things that someone who is infected has touched. All of this means that we’re not likely to see the kind of explosive growth we saw with COVID. Depending on the variant, it can kill between 3 to 10% of the people infects, and the incubation period is long, up to 21 days, meaning that you might not have symptoms for up to three weeks after you’re exposed. Symptoms come in two phases. The first phase lasts about five days. It feels like a flu with swollen lymph nodes around the jaw and neck. But that’s when the pox starts to appear. Small pox that erupt all over the body. So if you think you might have been exposed, watch out for that flu-like illness and swollen nodes. Although it’s highly, highly unlikely.

 

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Dr. Abdul El-Sayed: America Dissected is a product of Crooked Media. Our producer is Austin Fischer. Our associate producer is Olivia Martinez. Veronica Simonetti mixes and masters the show. Production support from Tara Terpstra and Ari Schwartz. Our theme song is by Taka Yasuzawa and Alex Sugiura. Executive producers include Sara Geismer, Sandy Girard, Michael Martinez, and me, Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, your host. Thanks for listening.