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pandemics


  • The Plague in Ancient Athens: A Cautionary Tale for America

    by Fred Zilian

    The United States in some respects has fared better under COVID than Athens did during the plague that accompanied the Peloponnesian War: a vaccine is in sight, and our head of state survived the day's most feared disease. But in both cases, disease showed the strains and cracks of a society and political system that will be difficult to repair.



  • Last Week Tonight: The World Health Organization

    The weekly comedy-investigative program includes an assessment of the World Health Organization's past work eradicating disease in the developing world and the Trump administration's attacks on the agency (includes some vulgar language and jokes).



  • What Fans of "Herd Immunity" Don't Tell You

    by John M. Barry

    Prolonged isolation measures to fight COVID-19 do cause harm--social, emotional, and economic. But advocates of "herd immunity" are not offering a practical or safe plan to protect the vulnerable if the virus spreads on a mass scale. 



  • Fearing a Fear of Germs

    by Heather Murray

    Will responses to the Coronavirus, like early public health steps taken in response to HIV, foster suspicion and mistrust? 



  • When 194,000 Deaths Doesn’t Sound Like So Many

    by Rebecca Onion

    Historian Jacqueline Wernimont explains that the rise of quantification helps to obscure the human beings behind the numbers and makes the COVID-19 toll seem more acceptable. 



  • Plague and Protest Go Hand in Hand

    Scholars like Philip Ziegler and Mark Senn have argued that the Black Death of 1348 laid the groundwork for the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381, the first large-scale popular revolt in England.



  • The Last Pandemic

    by E. Thomas Ewing

    As we look to history for lessons in early 2020, we need to think broadly about how understanding the complexity of the past can inform decisions in the present and the future.



  • America's Coronavirus Endurance Test

    by Howard Markel

    To defeat the virus, we will have to start thinking in years, not months. We must refuse to give up on flattening the curve. It’s up to us to hold the line until our government catches up.