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Articles on Bubonic plague

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The Black Death inspired medieval writers to document their era of plague. Their anxieties and fears are starkly reminiscent of our own even if their solutions differ. (Shutterstock)

How medieval writers struggled to make sense of the Black Death

During the Black Death of the 1300s, medieval writers struggled to make sense of the disease just as we are now during the COVID-19 pandemic
Crinolines, by design, made physical contact nearly impossible. Hulton Archive/Stringer via Getty Images

The fashionable history of social distancing

In the past, maintaining physical distance was an important aspect of public life – and clothes played a big role.
Past disease outbreaks improved the way we lived. If governments are smart, COVID-19 could do the same. (Shutterstock)

Silver lining: Could COVID-19 lead to a better future?

Historically, pandemics have brought about profound societal improvements. Will that happen this time?
Pericles Funeral Oration on the Greek 50 Drachmai 1955 Banknote. Shutterstock

Thucydides and the plague of Athens - what it can teach us now

Thucydides’ description of the plague that struck Athens in 430 BC is one of the great passages of Greek literature. It focusses on the social response, both of those who died and those who survived.
A scene from a 1911 staging of the ancient Greek classic ‘Oedipus Rex.’ Imagno/Getty Images

Plagues follow bad leadership in ancient Greek tales

Greek epics remind audiences that leaders need to be able to plan for the future based on what has happened in the past. They need to understand cause and effect.
Body temperature scans are one tool to interrupt the spread of disease by travelers. Tatan Syuflana/APImages.com

Does screening travelers for disease and infection really work?

Travelers may undergo screenings at airports to control the spread of coronavirus. Research shows that these efforts have little to no effect on slowing the spread of disease.
What happened to make plague able to cause devastating epidemics, as in this depiction from 1349? Pierart dou Tielt/Wikimedia

Plague was around for millennia before epidemics took hold – and the way people lived might be what protected them

People caught and died from plague long before it caused major epidemics like the Black Death in the middle ages. Could what scientists call cultural resistance be what kept the disease under control?
A prisoner looks out a window on March 26, 2015, from Zhdanivskaya prison in Ukraine, were TB is rampant. AP Photo/Mstyslav Chernov

Why community and not confinement will end TB

World TB Day will be observed March 24, with the good news that deaths from tuberculosis are declining. But a trend toward confining those with TB threatens to stall advances.

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