Tag Archives: pandemic

Applause: reflections on “The Plague” and being a doctor in a pandemic

Roger Ruiz Moral Universidad Francisco de Vitoria. Madrid, Spain   Quote from the English version of The Plague by Albert Camus in the Library Walk (New York City). Accessed via Wikimedia. Sculpture by Gregg LeFevre. Photo by Heike Huslage-Koch/Lesekreis.  “I imagine then what the plague must be for you. Yes, – said Rieux – an endless defeat.”1 The COVID-19 lockdown is today […]

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 […]

How a small town kept smallpox small

Annabelle Slingerland Leiden, the Netherlands   Fig. 1 Presentation of smallpox. To make a mountain out of a molehill is a vice, but to keep the mole underground is a virtue. The little town of Tilburg in the south of the Netherlands was not accustomed to seeing mountains, but when a molehill first came into […]

Epidemic encephalitis lethargica

JMS Pearce Hull, England, United Kingdom   Table 1. QUARANTINABLE DISEASES Cholera Diphtheria Infectious tuberculosis Plague Smallpox Yellow fever Viral hemorrhagic fevers Severe acute respiratory syndromes Influenza pandemic From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Legal authorities for isolation and quarantine. Source The pandemic Covid-19 infection, first reported from China in December 2019, reminds us […]

Dr. Arrieta’s lesson: Have we lost something in the gain?

Ariana Shaari New York, New York, United States   Figure 1: Self-Portrait with Dr. Arrieta. 1820. Francisco Goya. Height: 45.1 inches. Width: 30.1 inches. Oil on Canvas. Source.  A global pandemic has transformed, almost overnight, the way medical care is delivered. Telemedicine without face-to-face contact has facilitated social distancing, eased the burden on physicians, and […]

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 […]