Covid-19 - Hektoen International

Review: The History of the World in 100 pandemics, plagues and epidemics

Arpan Banerjee Solihull, United Kingdom   Cover: The History of the World in 100 pandemics, plagues and epidemics. The publication of this book could not have been better timed. The book sets out to show how pandemics, epidemics, and infectious diseases have shaped human history over the last 5,000 years. Its contents help us place […]

“An ounce of prevention”: past and present

Jack E. Riggs Morgantown, West Virginia, United States Donald R. Newcomer Glendale, Arizona, United States   Benjamin Franklin 1706–1790. Writer, publisher, philosopher, postmaster, scientist, diplomat. The Saying “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” is commonly attributed to Franklin. Image credit: Painting by Joseph Duplessis, circa 1785. National Portrait Gallery NPG.87.43. Via […]

The history of polio and cigarettes, and the need for a COVID-19 vaccine mandate

Daniel Gelfman Indianapolis, Indiana, United States   Polio Vaccine and Fundraising Matchbook. Photograph at the Science History Institute, Philadelphia. Photo Credit: Daniel Gelfman, July 3, 2021. Depicted in this display (Picture 1) at the Science History Institute in Philadelphia are technologic marvels. The first is a box that contained early vials of Dr. Salk’s formalin […]

The year gross anatomy faced the scalpel

Michael Denham New York, New York, United States   An instructor uses Complete Anatomy, a virtual anatomy software, to illustrate sections of the chest. By Michael Denham. As the COVID-19 pandemic emerged in early 2020, anatomy departments across the United States struggled to develop contingency plans to continue training the country’s future physicians. Would this […]

The Call of the Wild and COVID-19

Liam Butchart Stony Brook, New York, United States Samantha Rizzo Washington DC, United States   Winter Scene in Moonlight. Henry Farrer. 1869. The Metropolitan Museum of Art.  The COVID-19 pandemic has wrought a terrible toll upon all of us and has brought the medical system—and the providers who inhabit it—to its knees. There is a […]

The wonderful world of vaccines

Jayant Radhakrishnan Chicago, Illinois, United States   A patient with his whole body covered with smallpox lesions. Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, photo by Barbara Rice. Epidemics and pandemics became an issue about 10,000 years ago when hunters and gatherers became farmers and began to live in communities. Smallpox was one of the first […]

Covid cascade killed my father

Helen Meldrum Waltham, Maine, United States   Photo by Craig Whitehead on Unsplash My father died last year from what I call “Covid cascade,” a series of unforeseen consequences that ensue when Covid-19 breaks out in a healthcare facility. My father did not have the virus at the time he died—in fact, he tested negative […]

A return to The Plague

Bonnie Salomon Chicago, Illinois, United States   Cover of 1991 edition of The Plague by Albert Camus. For the past fifteen months, I have been reading and returning to Albert Camus’ 1947 novel, The Plague. Chronicling a fictional plague epidemic in Oran, Algeria, the narrator Dr. Rieux tells the saga of a city’s horrific struggle. […]

Boccaccio’s Decameron in the world of the coronavirus pandemic

Mateja Lekic Phoenix, Arizona, United States   A Tale from the Decameron, by John William Waterhouse, 1916. Source. Licensed for Public Use. Giovanni Boccaccio wrote the Decameron after the carnage of the bubonic plague in the late 1340s.1 Caused by the highly virulent bacterium Yersinia pestis, the bubonic plague, or Black Death, killed an estimated one quarter […]

A day in Texas

Steven Perez Virginia, United States   A photo of Steven J. Perez, MD, 2010, New York City. Photographer: Margie Eyman Perez. Published with permission. It was the late 1980s. I had just been discharged from the Air Force and returned to my hometown of San Antonio, Texas, to look for an internal medicine practice to […]