Compare the flu pandemic of 1918 and COVID-19 with caution – the past is not a prediction

Differences in the viruses' biology and societal contexts mean there's no guarantee today's pandemic will mirror the 'waves' of infection a century ago.

Megan Culler Freeman, Pediatric Infectious Diseases Fellow, University of Pittsburgh • conversation
June 4, 2020 ~11 min

Tags: influenza history-of-medicine covid-19 pandemic sars-cov-2 1918-flu-pandemic h1n1-influenza virology second-wave

Ignaz Semmelweis, the doctor who discovered the disease-fighting power of hand-washing in 1847

A Hungarian obstetrician was the first to nail down the importance of handwashing to stop the spread of infectious disease.

Leslie S. Leighton, Visiting Lecturer of History, Georgia State University • conversation
April 14, 2020 ~8 min

Tags: history-of-medicine maternal-mortality handwashing history-of-science hand-washing disease-control contagion cleanliness handwashing-and-coronavirus

Calling COVID-19 a 'Chinese virus' is wrong and dangerous – the pandemic is global

Emphasizing foreign origins of a disease can have racist connotations and implications for how people understand their own risk of disease.

Mari Webel, Assistant Professor of History, University of Pittsburgh • conversation
March 25, 2020 ~10 min

Tags:  history-of-medicine  infectious-diseases  covid-19  coronavirus  history  ebola  pandemic  rift-valley-fever  wuhan  world-health-organization  sars-cov-2  2019-ncov  epidemics  new-coronavirus  world-health-organization-who  norovirus  wuhan-coronavirus  lassa-fever  cholera  bush-meat  ebola-virus  ebola-virus-disease  rift-valley-fever-virus  ebola-zaire  ebola-blame  covid-19-pandemic

How we learned to keep organs alive outside the body: a horrible history

Grisly early experiments laid the foundation of our understanding of how to keep organs 'alive' in isolation.

Sarah Hosgood, Senior Research Associate in Surgery, University of Cambridge • conversation
March 11, 2020 ~8 min

Tags:  history-of-medicine  medicine  surgery  organ-transplant  interdisciplinarity  blood  french-revolution

Naming the new coronavirus – why taking Wuhan out of the picture matters

While identifying a new disease by its place of origin seems intuitive, history shows that doing so can have serious consequences for the people that live there.

Mari Webel, Assistant Professor of History, University of Pittsburgh • conversation
Feb. 18, 2020 ~9 min

Tags:  history-of-medicine  infectious-diseases  covid-19  coronavirus  history  ebola  rift-valley-fever  wuhan  world-health-organization  2019-ncov  epidemics  new-coronavirus  wuhan-coronavirus  lassa-fever  cholera  ebola-virus  ebola-virus-disease  rift-valley-fever-virus

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