What the History of Pandemics Can Teach Us About Resilience

And now, the United States is facing an epidemic that has been disproportionately ill and killed. Americans of color, Who are overworked in the required work force, yet have little chance of access to medical care. As federal and state governments administer vaccine rollout, access to testing and treatment, and economic relief packages, it is important to learn from past and target policies, particularly those that reduce racial and economic disparities, which made the epidemic devastating in the first place Had made

“If the effects of racism and xenophobia were less systemic within our society, then we would see fewer deaths as a result of Kovid-19,” Mr. White said. “Bigotry is fundamentally bad for public health.”

Even as epidemics have often re-captured old prejudices and forms of marginalization, they too have often given rise to something new, especially when it comes to art, culture, and entertainment.

For example, ancient Rome was plagued by an epidemic occurring every 15 to 20 years for parts of the fourth, third, and second centuries BCE, said Caroline Weser, an author and editor who wrote a book for Roman public health Dissertation completed. At the time, the primary public-health response was a religious one, in which the Romans experimented with new rites and even new gods in an attempt to prevent the spread of the disease. In one case, Ms. Weser said, with an epidemic dragged on for three years and the public increasingly agitated, the Senate adopted a strange, new ritual from northern Italy: “They bring artists to perform on stage.” ” According to the Roman historian Livy, “This is how Roman gets theater,” Ms. Weser said, although this is fact Have an argument.

The spiritual response to the disease also brought about cultural change in 14th-century England. Remembering the mass graves of the Black Death, the British feared dying without Christian burial and to spend eternity in purity, Mr. Bailey said. So they started forming criminals, small religious groups, which essentially functioned as “burial insurance clubs”, raising money to give members appropriate treatment after death.

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