Government Responses: Past Pandemics and Epidemics

The Politics of Pandemics

Robert Peckham, "I've Studied the History of Viral Outbreaks. Coronavirus Panic Shows How Little China Learned from SARS," The Independent (January 30, 2020)

Graham Mooney, "Quarantine is one of the oldest powers in the book. That doesn't mean governments should use it to fight coronavirus," The Globe and Mail (March 6, 2020) 

Laura Spinney, "The World Changed Its Approach to Health After the 1918 Flu," Time (March 7, 2020) 

Cindy Ermus, "The Danger of Prioritizing Politics and Economics during the Coronavirus Outbreak," The Washington Post (March 13, 2020)

Melissa Reynolds, "Communication Failures in a Pandemic Can Be Catastrophic," The Washington Post (March 18, 2020)

Jim Downs, "The Epidemics America Got Wrong," The Atlantic (March 22, 2020) 

Alexandre I.R. White and Katrina Quisumbing King, "The U.S. has an ugly history of blaming 'foreigners' for disease," The Washington Post (March 24, 2020) 

Paul M. Renfro, "Coronavirus is different from AIDS," The Washington Post (April 6, 2020) 

Farren Yero, "When Politics Go Viral: COVID-19 and Lessons from the Atlantic World," The Panorama (April 24, 2020) 

Jim Harris, "The Crucial Difference between the 1918 Flu and Covid-19," The Washington Post (May 11, 2020)

George H. Nash, "Coronavirus Pandemic: A Historical Perspective," National Review (May 11, 2020) 

Graham Mooney, "How to Talk About Freedom During a Pandemic," The Atlantic (May 19, 2020) 

Cindy Ermus, "When Bubonic Plague Hit France in 1720, Officials Dithered. Sound Familiar?" STAT (May 25, 2020)  

Rachel Constance, "Cholera and the Politics of Prevention," World History Bulletin (Spring/Summer 2020)

Andrew Wehrman, "Early Americans Knew Better than President Trump How to Prioritize Health," The Washington Post (July 17, 2020)

Benoît Pouget, "Quarantine, Cholera, and International Health Spaces: Reflections on 19th-Century European Sanitary Regulations in the Time of SARS-CoV-2," Centaurus (July 27, 2020)

Brian Dolan, "It Wasn't Supposed to Be a Coronavirus: The Quest for an Influenza A(H5N1)-Derived Vaccine and the Limits of Pandemic Preparedness," Centaurus (July 27, 2020) 

John Henderson, "The Invisible Enemy: Fighting the Plague in Early Modern Italy," Centaurus (July 27, 2020)

Videos and Podcasts:

"Contagion and the State: Epidemic Disease and the Social Contract with Peter Baldwin," The History of Now (March 30, 2020) 

Mariola Espinosa, "Pandemic Insights: Mariola Espinosa, Medical Historian, Reflects on Lessons of Yellow Fever," The Obermann Center for Advanced Studies (April 13, 2020)

Local Government 

Erin Maglaque, "Inclined to Putrefaction," London Review of Books (February 20, 2020)

John M. Barry, "The Single Most Important Lesson From the 1918 Influenza," The New York Times (March 17, 2020) 

Doug Kenck-Crispin, "A Century Ago, Portland Faced a Health Crisis That Now Sounds Eerily Familiar," Willamette Week (March 24, 2020)

Christopher McKnight Nichols, "President Trump's Desire to Reopen Businesses Quickly is Dangerous," The Washington Post (March 25, 2020)

Christopher McKnight Nichols, "Oregon Response to Flu in 1918 Offers Insights for Coronavirus Fight in 2020," The Oregonian (April 5, 2020) 

J. Alexander Navarro and Howard Markel, "To save lives, social distancing must continue longer than we expect," The Washington Post (April 8, 2020) 

Jeffrey Anderson and Janet Golden, "The Local Impact of the 1918 Influenza Epidemic in Philadelphia," History News Network (April 12, 2020) 

Lorna Ebner, "Quarantine in Nineteenth-Century New York," Books, Health, and History (April 14, 2020) 

Paige Winfield, "The Health 202: Twelve takeaways from the 1918 flu epidemic that help us think about the novel coronavirus," The Washington Post (April 20, 2020) 

Jacob Steere-Williams, "Charleston Learned the Hard Way What Happens When You End a Quarantine Too Soon," The Post and Courier (April 25, 2020)

Scott Podosky, "'Some New Kind of Infection or Plague:' The 1918 Flu Pandemic & COVID-19," Center for Primary Care Harvard Medical School (May 14, 2020) 

Catherine DeCesare, "Pandemic Policy Parallels: Rhode Island Perspective," University of Rhode Island Social Science Institute for Research, Education, and Policy (May 22, 2020)

Judith W. Leavitt and Lewis A. Leavitt, "Epidemics are powerful agents of change," Democratic Socialists of America  (June 3, 2020) 

Jessica Brabble, Ariel Ludwig, E. Thomas Ewing, "'The Mask Law Will Be Rigidly Enforced': Ordinances, Arrests, and Celebrations during the 1918-1919 Influenza Epidemic," Society for Historians of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era (August 11, 2020)

Mimi Eisen, "The COVID-19 Pandemic in Historical Perspective," History Associates Incorporated 

Presidential Leadership

Joyce Chaplin, "Even Andrew Jackson Showed More Leadership than Donald Trump in a Pandemic," The Washington Post (April 1, 2020)

Dave Welky, "The President vs. The Epidemic: FDR's Polio Crusade," History News Network (April 12, 2020) 

Nicholas William Moll, "Learning from History: Cycles of Disease in Australia," World History Bulletin (Spring/Summer 2020)

Economic Impacts

Elena Conis, "What History's Economy-Disrupting Outbreaks Can Teach Us About Coronavirus Panic," Time (March 9, 2020)