Former SSU vice president writes book on COVID-19 response


SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — A former Savannah State University vice president of academic affairs has published a book reflecting on the coronavirus response in the United States.

Political scientist Dr. Joseph Silver recently wrote “Pandemic, Public Health, Race and Class: The American Challenge.”

In the book, Silver addresses how the Trump administration has handled COVID-19 in the U.S., the virus’s effect on certain groups of people and how the pandemic highlighted the digital divide facing students attempting to learn virtually across the country. 

Silver also explores what he believes the U.S. has learned about the virus’s impact thus far, as well as what he feels the country and its leaders should have learned. 

He shared in an interview with WSAV NOW that he felt the U.S. lacked key leadership as the pandemic unfolded.

“The rest of the world, in pandemics such as Ebola and the MERS, they looked to the U.S. for leadership, and they looked to the U.S. for leadership in this particular instance and just wasn’t there,” Silver said.

“In the book, I was saying that this is more political than it is a medical, public health emergency,” he said. “The non-response is political.”

Silver, who serves as president of education consulting firm Silver and Associates, dedicated the book to his friend, Dr. John Marshall, who was reportedly one of the first doctors to die of COVID-19 in Georgia. 

Silver says he was able to speak at Marshall’s memorial service.

At the time the book went to print, Marshall, who died on Aug. 12 after contracting the virus from a patient, was still clinging on to his life.

“From what I understand from his family, he was out unconscious for two days before they found him, so they airlifted him to Savannah,” Silver said of his late friend. “He’s actually from Savannah, his family’s from Savannah, and he was in the hospital a total of 111 days but didn’t make it.”

Silver’s “Pandemic, Public Health, Race and Class” also explores how the pandemic shed light on existing problems surrounding racism in the U.S.

“One thing we have learned, and we see this with George Floyd and other situations where Black [people] have been killed, this virus has exposed racism to a greater degree,” Silver said.

“This virus did not cause racism, but the virus has exposed the deep-seated racism in our country, and as a result of that, we see that individuals are being targeted based on race,” he added, pointing to how COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted certain groups more than others. 

To obtain a copy of the book, Silver can be reached at The book can also be obtained from the publisher, Edwin Mellen Press.

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