As we enter month five of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States, while many countries around the world slowly ease back into some semblance of normality, it can be difficult not to despair. Infection and death rates are rising, especially in states that rushed to reopen, and now some states that did open too fast are putting restrictions back in place. One of the few lights in the darkness has been Philip Alcabes, whose birds-eye view of the pandemic in essays on our website has paid particular attention to how its effects play out in the unequal society in which we live. His most recent essay, “Bodies and Breath,” connects Covid-19’s disproportionate effect on Black communities to the ongoing #BlackLivesMatter protests. The essay draws on the work of longtime Scholar contributor Harriet Washington, who has won the National Book Critics Circle Award for her writing on racism and medicine. We invited them to join us for a discussion about how public health cannot be divorced from the fractures in society.
Go beyond the episode:
- Read Philip Alcabes’s essay “Bodies and Breath,” and his previous coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic
- Harriet Washington’s latest book is A Terrible Thing to Waste, which considers the devastating effects of environmental racism
- Read her cover story on how infectious diseases disproportionately affect the poor and minorities, “The Well Curve,” which was expanded into her book Infectious Madness
Tune in every week to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek.
Download the audio here (right click to “save link as …”)
Have suggestions for projects you’d like us to catch up on, or writers you want to hear from? Send us a note: podcast [at] theamericanscholar [dot] org. And rate us on iTunes!
Permission required for reprinting, reproducing, or other uses.