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public health



  • The Year We Lost

    Historians consider whether the disruptions and cancellations of 2020 are a singular conjuncture of bad news or if the year has just highlighted normal patterns of life – deferral of dreams, economic privation, and uncertainty – that the less-privileged have always lived with. 


  • The Plague in Ancient Athens: A Cautionary Tale for America

    by Fred Zilian

    The United States in some respects has fared better under COVID than Athens did during the plague that accompanied the Peloponnesian War: a vaccine is in sight, and our head of state survived the day's most feared disease. But in both cases, disease showed the strains and cracks of a society and political system that will be difficult to repair.



  • Vaccinated? Show Us Your App

    Medical historian Michael Willrich says that the prospect of smartphone-based credentialing to demonstrate an individual has been vaccinated is potentially invasive of privacy and the control of health data by private interests. 



  • How Black People Learned Not to Trust Public Health

    Times Columnist Charles M. Blow looks to scholars including historian Jim Downs to examine mistrust among Black Americans of a potential COVID vaccine; medical authorities have abused the trust and violated the consent of Black patients too often in the past for those fears to be dismissed out of hand. 


  • How Venetians Invented Health Care

    by Meredith F. Small

    It's been widely discussed during this pandemic year that Venetians invented the quarantine. But the author of a new book on Venice's history of innovation argues that it was just one of the public health measures for which we can thank them.



  • The Struggle to Document COVID-19 for Future Generations

    by Pamela Ballinger

    Images of suffering have been powerful spurs to humanitarian action in history, but the process has the potential to reinforce messages of fault, blame, and separation. Assembling a visual archive of the age of COVID must avoid those traps to be useful in the future. 



  • History Reminds Us that Vaccines Alone Don't End Pandemics

    by E. Thomas Ewing

    Positive news about advances on a vaccine for the novel coronavirus should not be taken as a license to stop mask-wearing and social distancing argues a historian of viral pandemics. 


  • Can the COVID Crisis Create a New Civilian-Military Trust in Argentina?

    by David M. K. Sheinin y Cesar R. Torres

    Many Argentinians have been suspicious of military involvement in civil affairs since the end of the country's military dictatorship in 1983. Two scholars ask if the COVID crisis presents an opportunity for healing and reimagining the military's role in Argentina.



  • Stanford Study Seeks to Quantify Infections Stemming From Trump Rallies

    Stanford researchers, led by Professor B. Douglas Bernheim, the chairman of the university’s economics department, conducted a regression analysis. They compared the 18 counties where Mr. Trump held rallies with as many as 200 counties with similar demographics and similar trajectories of confirmed COVID-19 cases before the rally date.



  • Last Week Tonight: The World Health Organization

    The weekly comedy-investigative program includes an assessment of the World Health Organization's past work eradicating disease in the developing world and the Trump administration's attacks on the agency (includes some vulgar language and jokes).