Too Close for Comfort: The Familiarity of Anti-Mask Rhetoric

Haejoo Kim // Last summer, a friend was accosted by a woman as he was walking down the street to my house in Syracuse, NY. The woman was not wearing a mask and wanted him to take off his mask as well. “Look up Andrew Kaufman, MD,” she yelled, “you will learn everything you need…

Grieving in a Pandemic

Sara Press // On a warm day in October, I found myself staring at fallen leaves in a forested burial ground in Toronto. My parents and I stood back from the constellation of mourners, all of whom had been asked to sign their names on a contact tracing form before entering the service. We surrounded…

COVID-19: Not the Only Game in Town

Brenda Tyrrell // A notion that has been carelessly tossed around since COVID-19 emerged last spring is that it is ‘the worst pandemic in the last century.’ Is it, though? Those making this declaration are most likely thinking of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic, when one-third of the world’s population was infected by the H1N1 virus,…

Anxiety and acceptance: A ritual death under pandemic conditions

Miki Chase //  On Wednesday, October 7th, 2020, an unnamed Jain woman in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, India, died on her 64th birthday. Local news reported that she had recently been discharged from a private hospital, having recovered from coronavirus and tested negative following treatment for Covid-19. A doctor at the hospital, however, who pointed out that she had…

Cutting: Traditions in anatomy and Thanksgiving

Yoshiko Iwai // The three of us go around the table to introduce ourselves, smiling under our masks and glasses, warming up our fresh scrubs. I had never met either of them before or even seen their faces through Zoom. A moment of silence passes. The guy across from me offers to hold the instruction…

Thanksgiving, Tradition, and Ted Cruz: A Public Health Crisis

John A. Carranza // On November 21, 2020, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) tweeted the cover image of a trussed and cooked turkey with a black star immediately above it and the words “Come and Take It” below. The tweet is a take on the flag used at the Battle of Gonzales in Texas, in…

The Virus, the Market, and the Body

Bojan Srbinovski // What has the COVID-19 pandemic taught the medical humanities about the body? On Monday, November 9, the American pharmaceutical company Pfizer announced the encouraging preliminary findings of a COVID-19 vaccine study that suggested an efficacy of more than 90 percent. This welcome news came as a bright spot against the background of…

Exit, pursued by a Shark: A Pandemic in Four or More Acts

Emily Waples // Following reports of the President’s coronavirus infection, Twitter was replete with a certain kind of comment, expressing consensus that something—the presidency, the country, the year 2020—had decidedly jumped the shark. A throng of commenters including Dr. Bob Wachter, Chair of the UCSF Department of Medicine—who has tweeted copiously about COVID-19 in an…

Hierarchies of Care in Quarantine

Sara Press // In early June, the New York City Department of Health confirmed that the first dog in the United States had tested positive for Covid-19.[1] Few details were known about the dog beyond his location, his breed, and his prognosis—it was believed he would recover. However, on July 11th, the details of this…

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Health ✪ Part 3 Civil Rights and the Body Politic

Sarah L. Berry //  “Racism is a public health threat,” declared Dr. Lisa Cooper in a recent webcast. Over just a few months, COVID-19 exposed racial disparities in health on a national stage, helped ignite organized national protest over police violence against Black Americans,[i] and illuminated a link between persistent economic inequality (i.e., essential workers…