Tag Archives: pandemic

Book Review of Viruses, Plagues, and History by M. B. A. Oldstone

Arpan K. Banerjee Solihull, United Kingdom   Cover The first edition of Viruses, Plagues, and History was published to great acclaim twenty years ago and has now been updated to include the pandemics of the twenty-first century. These include the SARS, MERS, and Zika virus outbreaks, which have now been eclipsed by COVID-19. The early […]

Giovanni Boccaccio on pandemics past and present

Constance Markey Chicago, IL   The plague of Florence, 1348; an episode in the Decameron by Boccaccio. Etching by L. Sabatelli the elder after G. Boccaccio. Credit: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)) Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375) is universally celebrated for his masterpiece The Decameron, an appealing assemblage of one hundred loosely connected novellas, […]

Jack London’s cloudy crystal ball

Edward McSweegan Kingston, Rhode Island, United States   The Scarlet Plague, by Jack London. Open Library, an initiative of the Internet Archive. The COVID-19 pandemic has given quarantined readers new opportunities to discover the literature of plagues and epidemics. Many people—in order to give context to the present pandemic—have turned to books like Albert Camus’ […]

Revisiting the “Trolley Problem” in the COVID-19 pandemic

Margaret B. Mitchell Boston, Massachusetts, United States Graham M. Attipoe  Nashville, Tennessee, United States   Bridge situation. John Holbo. 2010. CC BY-NC 2.0. Via Flickr The “Trolley Problem” Originally described by Philipa Foot in 1967, the “Trolley Problem” is an ethical dilemma commonly taught in philosophy that challenges participants to explore how far they would […]

Hope quarantined

Prasad Iyer Singapore   Poet’s statement: This fictional poem expresses the feelings of a migrant separated from his family during the COVID pandemic.   Photo by Logan Fisher on Unsplash      Quarantine forceth divorced souls  Distanced families and broken wholes  Shards of thoughts, impaling my core  Locked down borders’ hearts a sore  Shallow slumber, […]

The pandemic: a medical student’s perspective

Saira Elizabeth Alex Houston, Texas, United States   The Isle of the Dead. Max Klinger after Arnold Böcklin. 1890. The Art Institute of Chicago. As medical students, we eagerly await the start of clinical rotations since the first day of school; we anticipate building memorable connections with our colleagues and patients. This is an account of my days […]

Drawing parallels in pandemic art

Mariella Scerri Mellieha, Malta Victor Grech Pembroke, Malta   Photo of the crowd at an undetermined 1918 Georgia Tech home football game. Photo by Thomas Carter, Public domain. Via Wikimedia. “Everybody knows that pestilences have a way of recurring in the world; yet somehow we find it hard to believe in ones that crash down […]

COVID-19 and the Black Death

Colleen Donnelly  Denver, Colorado, United States   A street during the plague in London with a death cart and mourners. Colour wood engraving by E. Evans. Wellcome Library no. 6918i. Source During the fourteenth century waves of the bubonic plague washed across Europe. Doomsday books of the age described an apocalypse that wiped out one-quarter […]

The tortoise and the hare: a pandemic perspective

Pranita Rao  Pune, India   The Tortoise and the Hare. Illustration From The Æsop for Children, by Æsop, illustrated by Milo Winter. Project Gutenberg.  “Are you ready to lose again?” smirked the hare, looking down at the tortoise who was warming up for their weekly running challenge. The tortoise spent his days training body and mind to win races against the […]

The Plague and physician burnout

Geoffrey Rubin Mark Abrams D. Edmund Anstey New York, New York, United States   [Bedside scenes: Doctors visit patient]. 1534. The National Library of Medicine. In Albert Camus’ novel The Plague,1 Doctor Rieux is a consummate physician, a hero and a “true healer.” His main charge is to compassionately perform his duty—a matter, in his […]