Tag Archives: Covid 19

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 […]

COVID-19 and 1665: learning from Daniel Defoe

Brian Birch Southampton, Hampshire, UK   London plague victims being buried in 1665, one of nine scenes from John Dunstall’s Plague broadsheet (1666). Credit: Wellcome Collection.  (CC BY 4.0) Daniel Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year is an account of the 1665 Great Plague of London. Based on eyewitness experience, the undersigned initials “H. F.” […]

Covid battleground

Elena Wilson Rockville, Maryland, United States   A collage showcasing the way COVID-19 cases have dominated our minds. Edited to include a trend line of cases. Original by Gerd Altmann, via Pixabay. Up and down, up and down they rise Forgetting so easily all of the cries Cries for help, cries for change Cries for […]

Book Review of Intensive Care: A GP, A Community and COVID-19

Arpan K. Banerjee Solihull, United Kingdom   Intensive Care: A GP, A Community and COVID-19. Gavin Francis is a family doctor in Scotland who has written several critically-acclaimed books. In his latest work, he chronicles his experience of the COVID-19 pandemic as a family doctor (general practitioner or GP) and the effects of the virus […]

Ancient Greek plague and coronavirus

Patrick Bell Belfast, Northern Ireland   Plague in an Ancient City by Michael Sweerts, ca 1650. Credit Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Introduction Homer’s Iliad, Sophocles’ Oedipus the King, and Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War have been termed “the three earliest, and arguably most influential, representations of the plague in Western narrative.”1 This […]

The loneliness of the long-living doctor

Peter Arnold Sydney, Australia   Study of the head of an old man. Peter Paul Rubens. between 1610 and 1615. Kunsthistorisches Museum. Via Wikimedia. A noticeable phenomenon of the twenty-first century is the increasing frequency of friendships between older men. The importance of such friendships to both mental and physical health has been well documented.1,2,3 […]

To wear or not to wear? Attitudes towards mask wearing then and now

Mariella Scerri Victor Grech Mellieha, Malta   In September 1918, the Red Cross recommended two-layer gauze masks to halt the spread of “plague.” Image: Public Domain via Wikimedia. More than a century ago, as the 1918 influenza pandemic raged around the globe, masks of gauze and cheesecloth became the facial frontlines in the battle against […]

A wrong time to die

Anthony Papagiannis Thessaloniki, Greece   Lockdown in Thessaloniki. Photo by the author. Death is the one absolute and unexceptional certainty in life. In the Bible we read that there is a time for everything, including a time to die [Ecclesiastes 3:2]. Is there ever a “right” time to die? Faced with such a question, we […]