Medical and Scientific Responses: Past Pandemics and Epidemics

Vaccinations and Medications

Susan M. Reverby, "'Liberate' yourself to be a COVID-19 Vaccine Volunteer," (April 26, 2020) 

Marie-Amélie George, "How the fight against AIDS has shaped how potential covid-19 drugs will reach patients," The Washington Post (April 29, 2020)

Heidi Morefield, "The potential risk of chasing a Covid-19 vaccine," The Washington Post (May 19, 2020) 

Elena Conis, Michael McCoyd, and Jessie A. Moravek, "What to Expect When a Coronavirus Vaccine Finally Arrives," The New York Times (May 20, 2020) 

Joe Palca, "The Race for a Polio Vaccine Differed from the Quest to Prevent Coronavirus," NPR (May 22, 2020)  

Elena Conis, "Q&A with Elena Conis," C-SPAN (June 9, 2020)

Videos and Podcasts:

Dora Vargha, "Polio Across the Iron Curtain: A Conversation with Dora Vargha," Consortium for History of Science, Technology and Medicine (March 2020)  

Dr. Josefa Steinhauer, "From smallpox to the coronavirus: The history of vaccinations explained," NBC News (April 1, 2020) 

Jill Lepore, "Jill Lepore on How a Pandemic Ends," The New Yorker Radio Hour (May 15, 2020)  

Medical Knowledge and Research

Merle Eisenberg and Lee Mordechai, "Why Treating the Coronavirus like the Black Death is So Dangerous," The Washington Post (February 6, 2020)

Susan Lindee, "To beat Covid-19, the government must bring back the process that gave us penicillin," The Washington Post (April 1, 2020) 

Anita Guerrini, "On infections parties, herd immunity and other half-truths," History and Policy (April 8, 2020) 

Bert Hansen "The Story of Serum Therapy," Distillations (April 28, 2020) 

Justin Barr and Scott Podolsky, "A National Medical Response to Crisis-The Legacy of World War II," The New England Journal of Medicine (April 29, 2020) 

Justin Barr, Deborah Doroshow, and Scott Podolsky, "Biomedical Research in Times of Emergency: Lessons from History," Annals of Internal Medicine (May 7, 2020) 

Merry Wiesner-Hanks, "Teaching the Black Death," World History Bulletin (Spring/Summer 2020)

Theodore J. Drizis, "A History of Virology and Current Medical Research Confront the Novel Coronavirus," World History Bulletin (Spring/Summer 2020)

Ann Reid, "Decoding the 1918 Flu," Society for Historians of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era (July 7, 2020)

Robin Wolfe Scheffler, "A Coronavirus Vaccine Can't Come at the Expense of Fighting the Virus Now," The Washington Post (July 24, 2020)

Flavio D'Abramo and Sybille Neumeyer, "A Historical and Political Epistemology of Microbes," Centaurus (July 27, 2020)

Kristin Heitman, "Authority, Autonomy and the First London Bills of Mortality," Centaurus (July 27, 2020)

Christian W McMillen, "Tuberculosis and the Optimism of Biomedicine," Origins (September 24, 2020)

Elena Conis and Daniel Roman, "Epizootic: How Plague Took Hold in Western Wildlife," Bay Nature Magazine (September 27, 2020)

Nükhet Varlik, "How Do Pandemics End? History Suggests Diseases Fade but Are Almost Never Truly Gone," The Conversation (October 12, 2020)

Videos and Podcasts:

Kit R. Roane, "Why History Urges Caution on Immunity Testing," Retro Report (May 13, 2020) 


Graham Mooney and Jonathan Reinarz, "Hospital visiting in epidemics: an old debate reopened," History & Policy (April 9, 2020) 

Catherine Pate, "How One Hospital Handled the 1918 Influenza Epidemic," Harvard Countway Library (April 16, 2020) 

Videos and Podcasts:

"New York's Hospitals, Past & Present," Rediscovering New York With Jeff Goodman (April 14, 2020) 


Patricia D'Antonio, "1918 Redux: Supportive Nursing Care for the Coronavirus Pandemic Is Courageous Care," Echoes and Evidence (March 18, 2020) 

Laura Mogulescu, "A Stern Task for Stern Women: Nursing during the 1918 Flu Pandemic," Women at the Center (May 4, 2020) 

Sam Kean, "The Nurse Who Introduced Gloves to the Operating Room," Distillations (May 5, 2020) 

Infection Control

Sarah Eilers, "How to Wash Your Hands, Historically," Circulating Now (April 7, 2020) 

Liam Foster, "Disease in Buddhism: Literal, Spiritual, or Both?" World History Bulletin (Spring/Summer 2020)

E. Thomas Ewing, "The Last Pandemic," Humanities (Summer 2020)

Lincoln Paine, "The History of Quarantine with Lincoln Paine," Engelsberg Ideas (July 1, 2020)

Videos and Podcasts:

NPR, "The Mask," Throughline  (May 14, 2020) 

"The Mask: Historical Reflections on Personal Protective Equipment, with Lessons for the COVID-19 Era," Princeton University Media Central (May 29, 2020) 

"The Perils of Reopening: The Plague in Marseille, 588 CE," Newberry Library (June, 2020)

Medical Leadership

Justin Barr, E. Shelley Hwang, and Cynthia K. Shortell, "Surgeons, plague, and leadership: A historical mantle to carry forward," The American Journal of Surgery (April 29, 2020)

Videos and Podcasts:

Edward L. Ayers and David K. Randall, "Overcoming an Outbreak: How San Francisco Survived the Plague," BackStory (April 9, 2020)