Short Pieces for Long Days:
A SARS-Cov-2 Medical Humanities Reader
Articles, essays and art
Curated by: David Elkin, MD, MSL from UCSF
(Selections do not represent the views of SFGH or UCSF)
Bugs and people: when epidemics change history:
Samuel Pepys, Plague of 1665:
Plague cure link to contemporary drink:
The 1700s Plague Cure That Inspired an Uncannily Contemporary Cocktail
Cholera epidemic in London, Steven Johnson telling the story of John Snow. Ghost Map: How the “ghost map” helped end a killer disease
Semmelweis and the power of hand-washing:
Origins of the term “quarantine,” Mary Mallon (“Typhoid Mary”) (Science Diction podcast):
Short film: 1918 influenza epidemic (Cambridge University):
Spanish Flu: a warning from history
Impacts of 1918 Pandemic on Public Health, Healthcare System Organization, Health Policies: How the 1918 Flu Pandemic Revolutionized Public Health | History
The 1918 flu pandemic and WWI: Competing memories:
Katherine Anne Porter and the 1918 Influenza Epidemic
Historical perspectives on viral vaccine development (including comparisons of influenza, zika, ebola, etc) How to Stop a Lethal Virus | Science
What Can Images of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic Teach Us About COVID-19?
Images from the National Archives Catalog show striking parallels to today’s crisis, from masks to emergency hospitals.
Mary Mallon (“Typhoid Mary”) revisited
Awful Moments In Quarantine History: Remember Typhoid Mary?
How Infectious Disease Defined the American Bathroom:
The War Against Coronavirus Comes to the Bathroom
HIV, SARS-CoV-2 and San Francisco: Two epidemics: https://www.sfchronicle.com/health/article/How-San-Francisco-s-battle-with-HIV-AIDS-shaped-15179365.php?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=headlines&utm_campaign=sfc_morningfix&sid=53bb17669dbcd4560200028a
First deaths from Covid-19 in the US:
The first 1,000: Who the U.S.’s first victims were and what we’ve learned
Challenges facing journalists as they recognize they are writing a rough draft of history:
NYReview of Books Pandemic journal: https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2020/04/06/pandemic-journal-april-6-12/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Publishers%20Letter%2047&utm_content=Publishers%20Letter%2047+CID_2a3692d1ede5dc3ac9a912033cf5d6ee&utm_source=Newsletter&utm_term=Pandemic%20Journal
The role of the humanities (Netscape: “Yes, There Is a Role for Poetry and Fiction in a Pandemic” Robert Harrington and Abraham Verghese): https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/927624#vp_1
Writers (Atwood and St. John) who described pandemics in fiction:
Culture – The plague writers who predicted today
The Exquisite Pain of Reading in Quarantine:
Quarantine Book Clubs Reminded Me to Read
Isolation and Stress
Isolation and stress: How will humans, by nature social animals, fare when isolated?
Psychology: An astronaut’s guide to surviving isolation
An astronaut’s guide to surviving isolation
Psychology: Astronaut, antarctic explorers and climbers on isolation
Living an isolated life: Astronauts, Antarctic doctors and climbers share their advice
This American Life Podcast, Episode 698, The Test: Act 1: The Inside Game The Test
“Welcome to Seclusion” by Sergio Benvenuto Published in Italian on Antinomie:
Navigating relationships in isolation:
How to maintain relationships in self-isolation
Psychological tips for maintaining social relationships during lockdown:
Hidden suffering of coronavirus: Stigma, blaming, shaming:
Hidden suffering of coronavirus: Stigma, blaming, shaming
The Dangerous History of Immunoprivilege
Fear among the disabled:
People With Disabilities Worry They Won’t Get Treatment
Changing conceptions of disability and the pandemic:
Evolving social mores: what to do when someone violates social distancing:
Standing Too Close. Not Covering Coughs. If Someone Is Violating Social Distancing Rules, What Do You Do?
German zoo may have to feed animals to each otherHow do morgues and pathologists handle the surge in dead bodies:
Health Care Inequity in COVID-19 infection and mortality
Higher death rate from Covid-19 in African Americans:
‘It’s a racial justice issue’: Black Americans are dying in greater numbers from Covid-19
and The Pandemic Will Cleave America in Two
Social inequity and the COVID-19 epidemic in the U.S.:
‘It’s a racial justice issue’: Black Americans are dying in greater numbers from Covid-19
Racial Bias Showing Up In Coronavirus Testing And Treatment : Shots – Health News
Racism, poverty and the high incidence of Covid-19 in Detroit:
How racism and poverty made Detroit a new coronavirus hot spot
Covid-19 and the state of health care in the US:
Coronavirus is revealing how broken America’s economy really is
Pollution drops during lockdown:
‘It’s positively alpine!’: Disbelief in big cities as air pollution falls
The Geography of Coronavirus:
What We Know About Density and Covid-19’s Spread
A lot of people don’t know they should stay home:
Technology will save us. Or will it?
Analysis | The Technology 202: There are a lot of questions about Google and Apple’s big coronavirus effort
When will the economy turn around? The coronavirus recession, explained.
Privacy and surveillance:
Mental Health Impact
Lockdowns, stress and domestic violence:
Global Lockdowns Resulting In ‘Horrifying Surge’ In Domestic Violence, U.N. Warns
Pandemics and serious mental illness:
Little Demons, Death And Biting Dogs: How We Picture Disease
Photography and the epidemic:
20 photographs of the week | Art and design
How do you make the case for art and artists during the pandemic?
In a Pandemic, How Do You Make the Case for an Art Emergency?
Covid-19: Street artists take on the pandemic:
Street Artists Take On Coronavirus Pandemic With Powerful, Poignant And Witty Pieces
More work from street artists:
New Yorker cover: “After the shift”
Owen Smith’s “After the Shift”
Video: Ohio PSA about the effects of social distancing and flattening the curve:
And how they filmed it:
Mousetrap PSA Nails Importance Of Social Distancing In The Snappiest Way
Art from past pandemics:
Plague in art:
Plague in Art: 10 Paintings You Should Know in the Times of Coronavirus
Art re-enactments at home:
Instagram challenge sparks hilarious submission of painting reenactments
And: People are Recreating Classic Paintings as Hilarious Photos in Quarantine
Ending lockdown in Wuhan (photos):
Lessons from Ebola: Health care providers pin photos of their face to their gown to connect with their patients:
A Photo Project Helps Mitigate Patient Loneliness During COVID-19 Pandemic
Children’s books, re-imagined:
‘Gruffalo stayed in the cave’: Axel Scheffler and Julia Donaldson’s coronavirus cartoons
Why the Covid-19 epidemic is so hard to model, explained in comics:
A Comic Strip Tour Of The Wild World Of Pandemic Modeling
Politics and Public Health
2017 piece wondering if America was ready for a pandemic:
Is America Ready for a Global Pandemic?
And it turns out we weren’t–a public health lesson for future generations:
Trump ignored coronavirus warnings from experts for months
More on the public health failure to contain SARS-CoV-2 during early 2020:
He Could Have Seen What Was Coming: Behind Trump’s Failure on the Virus
The role of political leadership:
New York Review of Books Pandemic Journal: Pandemic Journal, March 23–29
Leslie Jamison on single parenting during the pandemic: ‘Since I Became Symptomatic’
Breaking up in a pandemic:
Getting Dumped During A Pandemic
Of dogs and people in the pandemic
Of dogs and their humans: Late life in a more-than-human world of the COVID-19 pandemic
Stephen King on why he’s sorry that you feel like you’re stuck in one of his horror novels:
Stephen King Is Sorry You Feel Like You’re Stuck In A Stephen King Novel
Tom Perrotta (author of The Leftovers) on epidemics, religion and meaning: Tom Perrotta on ‘The Leftovers’ and how we behave in times of fear and loss
Short video: A brief meditation on humanity, the environment, and the pandemic: https://youtu.be/f5on3AZWdik
The Wolves of Stanislav: An Improbably True Parable for the Pandemic Age by Paul Auster https://lithub.com/the-wolves-of-stanislav-an-improbably-true-parable-for-the-pandemic-age/?utm_source=pocket&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=pockethits
The Nocturnists podcast:
The Nocturnists on Apple Podcasts
Video diary of a NYC EM physician:
Inside a New York ER where the hallways are filled with covid-19 patients | Voices from the Pandemic
Hospital Chaplains During the Coronavirus Pandemic:
Here in spirit: oral history of faith amid a pandemic:
Adapting to the new normal:
The Road” Wakley Prize winner (Lancet): https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(05)67892-0/fulltext
Parts of Idaho experienced an early surge in cases:
Ethics and Professional Identity
NY Magazine on ethical choices with COVID-19 patients and possible PTSD in health care providers (moral distress): ACA Architect Ezekiel Emanuel on Coronavirus Triage Ethics
“Making the Call” Podcast with Zeke Emmanuel and Jonathan Moreno on COVID-19 and ethics: Making the Call on Apple Podcasts
When your spouse works in the ED: open.https://slate.com/human-interest/2020/04/coronavirus-emergency-room-doctors-nurses-spouses-conversation.html?sid=5388f4efdd52b8e411013658&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_content=TheSlatest&utm_campaign=traffic
Emergency room physician loses custody of her four year old due to Covid fears:
An ER doctor loses custody of daughter because of coronavirus fears
Professional identity: dealing with work/home balance (graphic art)
The bittersweet wait for coronavirus to bring its death and suffering
Malm, Heidi, Thomas May, Leslie P. Francis, Saad B. Omer, Daniel A. Salmon & Robert Hood. “Ethics, Pandemics, and the Duty to Treat, The American Journal of Bioethics (2008), 8:8, 4-19, DOI: 10.1080/15265160802317974 Full text available via Taylor and Francis Online.
Should medical students continue their training during the epidemic?
Should Medical Students Continue Clinical Rotations During the COVID-19 Pandemic?
And a rejoinder:
Medical Ethics in the Time of COVID-19: A Call for Critical Reflection
Ethics, Covid-19, and moral injury:
Doctors are making life-and-death choices over coronavirus patients – it could have long-term consequences for them
Psychology, Coping, Vulnerability and Risk
Coping with the stress of the pandemic:
Medical anthropologist on why we wear masks:
Opinion | The Social Life of Coronavirus Masks
Counterphobic reactions to danger (an ironic face mask design comment):
Using an ‘Alien’ Facehugger As a Protective Face Mask
Why do so many people believe in SARS-CoV-2 conspiracy theories?
5G Conspiracy Theories: Pressure of a pandemic brings old fears of new wireless tech into the
Celebs share rumors linking 5G to coronavirus, nutjobs burn cell towers
The illusion of perfect protection:
Math and appreciating risk:
What numbers can we trust, and which should ignore?
Coronavirus statistics: what can we trust and what should we ignore?
Protecting yourself from disinformation:
The rise of false hopes and hydroxychloroquine:
Analysis | How false hope spread about hydroxychloroquine to treat covid-19 — and the consequences that followed
How Covid-19 is remaking social relationships, ethics and history:
Coronavirus: How COVID-19 is changing the world – Monash Lens
Who Will We Be This Time Next Year? On Pandemic Times and the Life to Come
André Aciman: Who Will We Be This Time Next Year?
What if Covid-19 Returns Every Year, Like the Common Cold?
How will the Covid-19 epidemic end?
The difficulty of modeling the epidemic:
Why It’s So Freaking Hard To Make A Good COVID-19 Model
More about forecasting the end of the pandemic:
Our Pandemic Summer
Pandemic offers a chance to remake cities:
(Economics) Where we could go from here?:
Pandemic Response Requires Post-Growth Economic Thinking
The FIRST lines of 10 classic novels, rewritten for social distancing:
The first lines of 10 classic novels, rewritten for social distancing.
The LAST lines of 10 classic novels, rewritten for social distancing:
Okay, now the LAST lines of 10 classic novels, rewritten for social distancing.
Film in the age of COVID-19:
Nature is healing/We are the virus meme:
The Coronavirus “Nature Is Healing” Meme’s Backstory
Links to Other Syllabi
Northeastern University Coronavirus Humanities Reader:
A crowdsourced cross-disciplinary resource:
*Adapting ANTH101 Challenges for Covid-19 (Cultural Anthropology for Everyone). Michael Wesch (2008 U.S. Professor of Year), University of Kansas State, USA
*Archaeology of Epidemics Syllabus, University of Washington
*Assignment: A Day in the Life of a Pandemic: COVID-19 Assignment, Natalia Molina, University of Southern California.
*Bibliography: Coronaviruses • SARS • MERS • COVID-19
*Care in Uncertain Times Syllabus, Limited Open-Access Books from Duke University Press.
*#coronavirussyllabusk12 (K-12 Teaching Resources)
*Coronavirus Tech Handbook
*Disability Justice Framework COVID-19 Resources
*Economic History Review Limited Open-Access articles on Epidemics, Disease and Mortality in Economic History
*Ethics Resources on the Coronavirus (COVID-19), The Hastings Center.
*Feminist Resources on the Pandemic, Centre for Feminist Foreign Policy (UK)
*Humanities Coronavirus Syllabus
*Lessons from Ebola: Preventing the Next Pandemic (free online course from Harvard via edX)
*NBER Collection on Economic and Other Consequences of Previous Epidemics, National Bureau of Economic Research.
*Politics of Plague Course Syllabus, Patricia Stapelton, Social Science and Policy Studies Department, Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
*Public Collection of COVID-19 Citations, Yale University Medical Library
*Queering the Pandemic Syllabus
*Teaching Coronavirus—Sociological Syllabus Project
*Teaching COVID-19: A Collaborative Anthropology Syllabus Project, Teaching and Learning Anthropology Journal.
*The Black Death: Pandemic Disease in the Medieval World
*The Emergence of Global Health