Lectures

Science Skepticism as a Veneer for Nationalistic Humor

This article is part of the series:

Recently we saw a splash of headlines about the Russian Covid-19 vaccine, as Russia became the first country to register a vaccine and governmental officials shared plans for starting mass vaccinations in October. This news was shared all over my social media, with the commentary hewing to repetitive jokes, the humor value of which was based on an implied shared …

Lectures

Asian Medicines, COVID-19 and the Politics of Science: An Unpublished Letter to the Editor of Nature

This article is part of the series:

We are sharing below a ‘Letter to the Editor’ submitted to Nature. On May 6, 2020, an article titled “China is promoting coronavirus treatments based on unproven traditional medicines” appeared on the website of the esteemed scientific journal. The article was internally commissioned and authored by David Cyranoski, the magazine’s Asia-Pacific correspondent. We found this Nature article to …

Lectures

A Room with a View: Observations from Two Pandemics

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From my balcony, I see Tampa Bay’s calm water, the Dali Museum’s distinctive architecture, the Mahaffey Theater’s empty parking lot, the balconies and porches of St, Petersburg, Florida, around me, but I see no people. It is quiet, even the dogs seem to respect the ‘self-isolation’ I find myself practicing. The COVID-19 pandemic is like a leitmotif of fear in …

Lectures

Sanitary cordons in COVID-19: experience and the object of epidemiological interventions

This article is part of the series:

What is the object of epidemiological interventions during an epidemic? Is it the virus, the disease, the fear, the chaos, or the threat to security? And what is the objective of those interventions? Is it to eliminate the virus, to mitigate the effects of the disease, to calm the fear, to control the chaos, or to defeat the threat?

On …

Lectures

In and outside the nursing home: On the (im)possibilities of meaningful contact while being held apart

This article is part of the series:

Ben (77) wrote this poem when he became unable to visit his wife Lise in the nursing home where she lived, expressing the loss and desperation of suddenly and indefinitely being held apart. As part of the measures taken in the Netherlands to prevent the spread of COVID-19, a visit ban had been imposed on nursing homes. Apart from staff, …

Lectures

First in Masks? How Czechs Wore Face Masks When There Weren’t Any Available

This article is part of the series:

On March 18, 2020, the Czech Republic became the first country in Europe to legislate mandatory coverage of the mouth and nose in all public areas in an attempt to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. One could no longer walk down the street, use public transport, enter shops or pharmacies, go to school, or pass through communal areas of shared …