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public health



  • The History of Saloons Helps Understand the Social Harm of the Pandemic

    "In the century and a half after the founding, saloons continued to be a key social institution, places of business, leisure, and community for many men—until Prohibition wiped them out, destroying in one fell stroke the cultural and economic infrastructure they had long provided."



  • Using DDT to Fight Polio was a Mistake, but Learning from it was Valuable

    by Elena Conis

    Recent Ivermectin mania echoes the moment in 1940s America when spurious science led American communities to demand to be sprayed with the noxious insecticide, believing it would prevent polio outbreaks; the episode underscores the need for patience in pursuing public health. 



  • Even for Polio, Parents were Slow to Vaccinate their Kids

    Dropping the historically unsupported contrast between the uptake of the polio and COVID vaccines by parents of young children should prompt us to stop moralizing and start considering the social, political, and economic factors, including poor healthcare access, that always hinder vaccine campaigns in the US.



  • How did this Level of Death Become Normal?

    In absolute and relative terms, The United States has fared horribly in the coronavirus pandemic. Historians and social scientists help writer Ed Yong explain why the nation meets mass death with a collective shrug. 



  • Whack-a-Mole

    by Rivka Galchen

    Reviewer Rivka Galchen looks at two recent books that highlight the importance of cultural beliefs in the acceptance or rejection of vaccines. 


  • New York Survived the 1832 Cholera Epidemic

    by Daniel S. Levy

    The 1832 Cholera epidemic roiled New York, terrorizing the city across lines of class and neighborhood. Today, the city's resilience can be a source of encouragement, but also a caution that today's pandemic won't be the last. 



  • Wishful Thinking on COVID is as Dangerous as Prior Episodes of Denial

    by Gregg Gonsalves

    A convergence has emerged between the right and the center that the Omicron variant is the last hurrah of the COVID pandemic and a signal to go back to "normal." A public health scholar warns this is potentially sacrificing the vulnerable to the wishes of the powerful.



  • Reducing Child Poverty Is a No-Brainer even Without Brain Science

    by Mical Raz

    Reducing child poverty is a good in itself; justifying policies to reduce poverty in terms of improvements in measures of cognition or IQ scores makes such programs vulnerable to backlash and risks validating racist and eugenicist arguments about race and intelligence.



  • Out of Context COVID Stats are Misleading

    by Jim Downs

    The first epidemiologists worked in a narrative mode, without advanced statistical measures. Without discarding quantitative methods, the field needs to refocus on telling evidence-based stories about the pandemic to clarify what's working, what isn't, and what people should do. 


  • In Critical Ways, the 1918 Flu Remains a Forgotten Pandemic

    by George Dehner

    The news has made many comparisons between the current pandemic and the 1918 influenza – especially the grim milestones of infections and deaths – but it's clear that lessons about public policy and public health practices based on the failures of the past remain unlearned.