Tag Archives: Coronavirus

When I heard the learn’d epidemiologist

Dean Gianakos Lynchburg, Virginia, United States   Photo by prottoy hassan on Unsplash  Sitting on the maroon recliner in my den, I am having trouble concentrating on the epidemiologist who is talking on the television. He points to a Covid hot zone on a color-coded map of the United States. The screen changes before I can locate Virginia. […]

Have we learned anything from 1918-1919 influenza?

Edward Winslow Wilmette, Illinois, United States   Actual daily deaths from influenza, September to November 1918. Monthly Bulletin of the Department of Health, December 1918. NYC Municipal Library. Source.  The 2020 viral pandemic (COVID-19),1 in spite of being caused by a novel virus family, bears striking epidemiological and social resemblance to the influenza pandemic of 1918.2 […]

Animality revisited in times of the coronavirus: A fable

Frank Gonzalez-Crussi Chicago, Illinois, United States   Figure 1. Jacob Savery (1566-1603). Orpheus among the animals. From Wikimedia. Imagine, as painters have done, representatives of animal species congregated in an assembly (Fig. 1). A man comes to address this motley crowd in this way: “You guys [he purposefully adopts this condescending language] have recently wronged […]

Locked down!

P. Ravi Shankar Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia   Art by Devika Allath, Year 8, Willoughby Girls High School, Sydney, Australia, 13-year-old niece of the author. The sun was about to rise on another day of lockdown. At the beginning of a new day there is a vague sense of optimism, but that is followed by an […]

The hunt for a yellow fever therapy

Edward McSweegen Kingston, Rhode Island, United States   Roux’s syringe for delivering antitoxin, The College of Physicians of Philadelphia  Source In March 2020, a research group in China reported the use of convalescent plasma to treat ten patients suffering from coronavirus COVID-19 infections.1 This type of therapy—passive immunization—dates back to 1891 when the German bacteriologist Emil […]

A plastic surgeon’s weeks in lockdown

Neha Chauhan Bangalore, Karnataka, India   As I tuned in to the announcement on March 24th, 2020 that India would be completely locked down for next three weeks to flatten the curve of coronavirus spread, my heart skipped a beat and then almost sank. I spent a sleepless night trying to understand my reaction of […]

Philip Roth’s “Nemesis:” a lesson for today

James L. Franklin Chicago, Illinois, United States   Polio patient in a wheelchair. Images like this were used to encourage individuals to receive polio vaccinations, which were made available in April, 1955. CDC Public Health Library. Source.  As we grapple with the impact of the current pandemic caused by the coronavirus, Covid–19, we may wish to […]

COVID-19 and Malta’s Black Plague epidemic of 1813

Victor Grech Pembroke, Malta   Fisherman. Painting by Victor Grech Malta in the British Empire In the nineteenth century Malta had a population of around 91,000 people and was governed by the British Empire. Despite its small size and absence of natural resources, the island was an important Mediterranean crossroads, with a vital natural harbor […]

Reporting a pandemic

Francis Christian Saskatoon, Canada   Nonno watching the news. Jakob Montrasio. Taken on December 21, 2011. From Flickr. CC BY 2.0 Dust to dust and doom delivered by newscasts dripping irony in considered doses of despair; feigning knowledge of ignorance, feigning ignorance of absent panic and knowledge from experts claiming uncertainty.   But the web […]

Washing our hands

Anthony Papagiannis Thessaloniki, Greece   Winter Sunshine, Halkidiki, Greece. Photo by the author Ever since Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea, washed his hands before condemning Jesus Christ to death by crucifixion, this simple act of personal sanitation has been used as the figurative icon of a disclaimer, the denial of responsibility. Today, in […]