Presentation (Project) Title

Pandemics Past and Present: Social Impacts Connecting the Second Plague Pandemic to COVID-19

Mentor Information

Andrea Vianello (Department of Anthropology)

Presentation Format

Event

Abstract

Epidemics are frequent in history, and while today’s medicine has reduced their impact in western countries, the COVID-19 pandemic reminded us of their lethality and ability to disrupt life. As part of an effort to provide contextual information to the USF Venice project, my research project uses literary sources to compare the COVID-19 pandemic with the second plague pandemic (The Black Death) and identify matching patterns and solutions. Not all communities are impacted in the same manner, with those in poverty at a higher risk due to diminished health. Race/ethnicity contributed to the risk of contracting COVID-19; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data shows that people of color and ethnic minorities are disproportionately affected. Studies performed by DeWitte, S. N., and Hughes-Morey, G. (May 2012) as well as DeWitte, S. N., and Wood J. W. (February 2008) were utilized to address the Black Death. Fear surrounding the Black Death also led to the persecution of Jews, who were blamed for the disease. This phenomenon is mirrored in the Anti-Asian hate crimes during the COVID-19 pandemic. Future research should continue to search past outbreaks of disease to identify areas of improvement that apply to modern day society.

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Pandemics Past and Present: Social Impacts Connecting the Second Plague Pandemic to COVID-19

Epidemics are frequent in history, and while today’s medicine has reduced their impact in western countries, the COVID-19 pandemic reminded us of their lethality and ability to disrupt life. As part of an effort to provide contextual information to the USF Venice project, my research project uses literary sources to compare the COVID-19 pandemic with the second plague pandemic (The Black Death) and identify matching patterns and solutions. Not all communities are impacted in the same manner, with those in poverty at a higher risk due to diminished health. Race/ethnicity contributed to the risk of contracting COVID-19; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data shows that people of color and ethnic minorities are disproportionately affected. Studies performed by DeWitte, S. N., and Hughes-Morey, G. (May 2012) as well as DeWitte, S. N., and Wood J. W. (February 2008) were utilized to address the Black Death. Fear surrounding the Black Death also led to the persecution of Jews, who were blamed for the disease. This phenomenon is mirrored in the Anti-Asian hate crimes during the COVID-19 pandemic. Future research should continue to search past outbreaks of disease to identify areas of improvement that apply to modern day society.