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Covid Update/Student Activists

Infectious disease expert, Dr. Michael Osterholm, joins Ralph to update us on the very latest in Covid-related transmission rates, hospitalizations, boosters, therapeutics, testing, masks and more. Then, we welcome Dan Xie, the Political Director at Student PIRGs (Public Interest Research Groups) to tell us about all the great work her young charges are doing on climate issues, the unhoused, student hunger, affordable textbooks and more.

Dr. Michael Osterholm is a professor and director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. He is the author of Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs, and host of the weekly podcast The Osterholm Update: COVID-19.

Let me take a page out of “Rational Human Behavior” — the public is done with this pandemic. They’re done. They are not going to agree to do much, unless they feel a unique vulnerability… For the vast majority of the public, I don’t know that it matters what we say. They are going to do what they’re going to do. And I think from that perspective, then we have to think about “What does that mean for the pandemic?”

Dr. Michael Osterholm, Director of CIDRAP


Life is a risk. And the question is, how do you parse that risk out to what you do and don’t do?

Dr. Michael Osterholm, Director of CIDRAP

Please, don’t be afraid to go [to routine medical appointments]. Go. But don’t also be afraid to ask, before you go, what the office or clinic is doing to protect you, and to protect the workers, and other patients [from COVID-19]. And I think most times you’ll find a quite satisfactory answer.

Dr. Michael Osterholm, Director of CIDRAP

Dan Xie is the Political Director at Student PIRGs, where she directs the national political strategy, advises staff and students on strategic campaign plans, and amplifies their work with coalition partners and at conferences. Dan has managed successful campaigns to cap global warming pollution, fight the high cost of higher education, and make voting more accessible for students.


Our work is grounded in doing peer-to-peer work on campus… There’s a lot of movement today to buy big lists, to text strangers. That’s not the PIRG model. We go on their campuses, we knock on their doors, we get their leaders in College Democrats and College Republicans to come out and say, “This is why it’s important for you to vote.” And it works.

Dan Xie, Political Director at Student PIRGS


I learned a lot about the problems in my classes, and I didn’t learn a single thing about how to get my elected officials to do what I wanted them to do… PIRGS allow students to take what they’re learning in the classroom and actually apply it on the ground. And I think– it’s very rare– they then see results within a semester, or quarter, or year, or two.

Dan Xie, Political Director at Student PIRGS


[People] aren’t reading about these PIRGS [Public Interest Research Groups] in the mainstream media, because the PIRGS don’t engage in disruptive or outrageous behavior. They just get things done using reason, evidence, truth, justice.

Ralph Nader


[Hazel Henderson] was often right too soon on too many things. Therefore, she was excluded mostly from the mainstream media. How’d she react? Created her own international media! Syndicated columns, translated into 27 languages, she had her own early webinars, books, articles, conferences… She was a tremendous booster of free thinking, as if people mattered.

Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader Radio Hour Ep 429 Transcript (Right click to download)


  1. D. Scott says:

    Having tested positive for COVID, self-isolated, and now masking in public, I haven’t found good information on relationship to positive home tests and contagion. It seems you can test positive for weeks after contracting COVID, but this isn’t an indication that you’re still contagious. Any solid information about this?

    • Don Klepack says:

      I like John Hopkins University – they say How long is a person with an asymptomatic case shedding the virus?
      Most people with COVID-19 can discontinue isolation 10 days after symptom onset. For people with no symptoms of COVID-19, isolation can be discontinued 10 days after the date of their first positive test.

      Please note: This is an evolving situation and recommendations may change. For the latest, please check the CDC’s site.

      There website for questions is – https://publichealth.jhu.edu/headlines/coronavirus-questions-and-answers

  2. Wendyyona NooN says:

    My Heart is Broken that we LOST ReSearcher: MS HAZEL HENDERSON
    Can it be the minute I learn of her 7,000 book ReSearch,
    Her Knowledge of the Corporations & their Game Plan Digging up the USA
    That takes the minerals & electroLytes out of our food where it is suppose
    to strengthen our TEETH & BONES, & without RePlacing these ElectroLytes
    in our Diet, the Body will be TAKING from the BONE MARROW from the
    BONES & TEETH to SUPPLY the BODY VEHICLE with the electroLytes that
    the electricity in the body run on.
    I hope MS HAZEL HENDERSON’S 7,000 BooK LIBRARY will be taken care of

  3. Becky Troyer says:

    As a man that fights corporate greed and malicious treatment towards the public good, what is your thought of the corporations who have profited enormously through COVID-19 vaccines that taxpayer money funded? Dr. Michael Osterholm, Director of CIDRAP, wonders why the public doesn’t trust them. My concern is their history, their greed and their immunity if people become sick from the vaccines.
    Read https://corporatewatch.org/category/pharmaceuticals/ from London. You can read articles on the six scandals of Pfizer, the six scandals of Astrazeneca, huge profits made from COVID-19 vaccines, five ways pharma makes so much money, and the best one, “Vaccinating Capitalism: Corporate Pharma Raids the Commons and Leaves the Root Causes Untreated.”
    This article states, “the search for the vaccine is not really a search for a cure at all, but a search to avoid dealing with the causes of the virus…One is deforestation. New pathogens are released when land that has been left relatively un-touched is cleared for development and industrial use by humans. Once wild animals carrying those pathogens are displaced, the pathogens then need to maximise the opportunity to ‘leap’ from one species to another in a process of genetic drift… writers like Rob Wallace have been warning us for years, large scale industrial farming can vastly increase the chances of a virus mutating into a form that can make the leap. Once it is in the human pool, it finds its most fertile conditions in closely packed workplaces like factories, warehouses and call centres.
    The problem is that it is not just us who are being vaccinated but capitalism itself. The danger is that the vaccines will merely provide a short-term “technofix” which helps ensure the survival of the system that keeps on killing us.”
    Big Pharma is profiting while the causes are still there – which include poor nutrition, not only in the ‘third world’ but also in the USA. Poor nutrition fueled by corporate greed – the sugar, fat, tobacco industries. Dr. Osterholm compared Australia to the USA saying that the variant in Australia was different than the USA – less strong). According to https://www.worldometers.info/demographics/life-expectancy/, Australia is number 8 in life expectancy while the USA is 46. Can nutrition/diet, access to quality healthcare, living conditions, time to relax (all factors denied to many in the USA) contribute to the lack of immunity that causes diseases to flourish?
    No one seems to be confronting Big Pharma, as well as Dr. Osterholm’s supporters such as the Bill Gates and Rockefeller Foundations! There is no profit in healthy people. That’s why there will never be a cure for cancer.

    • Thomas M says:

      Right on, Becky !!

      I had a hard time listening to Dr. Osterholm. But, I had concluded, from previous episodes, that Ralph supports the vaccines.

      No mention of prevention. as expected. Let’s get someone from the FLCCC to discuss prevention and early treatment.

      Is Dr. Osterholm the “NEW FAUCI”???? Very slick.

      Still, I am a Nader supporter. No one is perfect.

  4. Linds o says:

    Ralph – Dr Osterholm is supported by Rockefeller and Bill Gates?! I’m surprised you have this corporate supported doctor on your show

  5. larry fink says:

    Ralph lets get Dr. Osterholm get away with blaming the population for “being done with the virus” as if the constant drumbeat of propaganda from the Biden administration, amplified by the corporate media, that the pandemic is a thing of the past and we’ve achieved “freedom” from the virus doesn’t matter. Ralph also politely refrains from asking Dr. Osterholm about all his warnings about how China’s Zero-Covid policy is “unsustainable”. Shanghai has just emerged from a two month lockdown with fewer than 600 deaths from the highly transmissible Omicron variant. In that same time period, 50,000 more Americans have died from the “mild”, according to Osterholm, Omicron variant. Dr. Osterholm alludes to the dismantling of PCR testing, but is careful not to point the finger at Biden and his friends at the CDC, under whose watch this has occurred. Finally, Osterholm’s pal, Biden, calls China’s Covid policy a “failure” while praising Modi of India for presiding over 4.25 million excess deaths, according to the WHO. One can judge how important human life is here in the good ol’ USA based on these facts.