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 …

Lectures

A Place Apart

This article is part of the series:

On a crisp autumn day in April in Melbourne, my phone has several missed calls from an Indonesian friend. With a heavy heart, I call back to see what might be wrong. As has been the case over the past several weeks, he has grown increasingly restless and confused since the beginning of social distancing and travel restrictions that stem …

Lectures

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

This article is part of the series:

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

This article is part of the series:

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

On Vulnerability, Resilience, and Age: Older Americans Reflect on the Pandemic

This article is part of the series:

Every morning, Americans wake up to fresh news of the heavy toll the coronavirus pandemic is exerting upon vulnerable older people—from the likelihood of developing a more severe form of Covid-19, to the risks of isolation and mental health problems as they give up social contacts in order to stay safe. We read essays like the New York Times opinion