Features

Empty Beds and Mounting Deaths: COVID-19 and U.S. Healthcare’s Systemic Failures

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It was afternoon in early April and I was only two-thirds of the way through my 12-hour shift. Between checking on how one patient was breathing and whether another was ready for discharge, I paused at the edge of an open walkway conjoining three diamond-shaped towers. Taking a deep breath behind my face shield and two layers of masks, I …

Lectures

Enlisted Laborers of Public Health: overlaps in the work of soldiers in historical perspective

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In April, a friend relayed her experience of getting a test for COVID-19 at a drive-through site at a university in Rhode Island, describing “dozens of camouflaged National Guard soldiers directing grim-faced drivers.” After more than 12 days of persistent fever and two conversations with her doctor, she reported as instructed, alone in her car, and held her ID up …

Lectures

COVID-19 as analogy for antimicrobial resistance

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Introduction

Being in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic sets the right stage for us to ponder the problem of antimicrobial resistance, or AMR. What is exactly the connection between COVID-19 and AMR? To what extent is this connection a social science issue?  

Although AMR is not at the forefront of the current pandemic, the COVID-19 pandemic does illustrate the …

Lectures

Pandemic Time

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I was sitting at my computer when we got the call. My father in his chair, my mother on the sofa. Two days earlier we had found out that my father’s aunt was in the hospital in Rio with the coronavirus. She was my grandmother’s twin sister. My biological grandmother died in the early 1970s, two decades before I was …

Lectures

Women, gender and viruses: coronas and microscopes in the time of a pandemic

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Among the multitude of narratives prompted by the current pandemic, the biography of June Dalziel Hart Almeida has been circulated by the BBC and other periodicals in numerous languages. Through the Internet’s power to feed the voracious desire and need to produce and consume information about the infection and microorganism involved, this woman virologist has achieved heroine status. It was …

Lectures

Thinking Sex in Times of Corona: A Conversation

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Over 30 years ago, Gayle Rubin argued in her seminal piece – “Thinking Sex” – that “sexuality should be treated with special respect in times of great social stress” (1984, 143). The COVID-19 pandemic raises new questions about how we engage with one another, with sex becoming a sensitive issue once again. How can one address the issue of sex …