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Lectures

“Escaping from Quarantine” from Quarantined: My Ordeal in Uganda’s Covid-19 Isolation Centers

This article is part of the following series:

Few published works of creative non-fiction exist on COVID-19 in Africa. With the publication of QUARANTINED, Ugandan intellectual and philosopher, Jimmy Spire Ssentongo has painted a behind-the-scenes picture of how the Ugandan state handled the coronavirus disease. While the Ugandan president praised self and staff for putting the coronavirus in check through the state’s isolation centres, the people under

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Lectures

Staying (at Home) with Brain Fog: “Un-witting” Patient Activism

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Scene 1: It’s Sunday afternoon, around one o’clock, and a group of a dozen or so people log onto a video call from their apartments. Occasionally someone’s cat will walk into the frame, obscuring the camera, or a deliveryman will ring the buzzer, interrupting the flow of conversation. But mostly, what we see of each other are scenes of domestic

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Lectures

Sanitary cordons in COVID-19: experience and the object of epidemiological interventions

This article is part of the following series:

What is the object of epidemiological interventions during an epidemic? Is it the virus, the disease, the fear, the chaos, or the threat to security? And what is the objective of those interventions? Is it to eliminate the virus, to mitigate the effects of the disease, to calm the fear, to control the chaos, or to defeat the threat?

On …

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Lectures

Lockdowns save, lockdowns kill: Valuing life after coronashock

This article is part of the following series:

The scale and severity of the coronavirus pandemic is a shock to health systems. It is a shock to economies and governments. It is also a shock to the life sciences, which were meant to anticipate a pandemic of this magnitude, but failed to do so. The “life sciences” in question are virology, epidemiology, biomedicine and pharmacology. But the social, …

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Lectures

Reflecting on SARS, 17 years and two flu-like epidemics later

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On April 12, 2003, I was evacuated from my post teaching English at Zhongshan University in Guangzhou, China. I packed my belongings into two suitcases and a duffle bag, got on a bus, crossed the border into Hong Kong, and flew, with my N95 mask on, back to the United States. It was the height of China’s outbreak of SARS, …

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Features

#COVID19: The Spectacle of Real-Time Surveillance

One of the most striking factors of the 1918 Flu pandemic is that the pandemic’s global scope and devastating impact only became visible after the fact. To determine the flu’s global distribution and to reconstruct its case numbers and fatality rates at the end of the First World War was a task eventually left to the pandemic’s historians. To …

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