Tag: Americas

America's Devastating First Plague and the Birth of Epidemiology

America’s Devastating First Plague and the Birth of Epidemiology

The terror that is gripping Americans due to the coronavirus would be familiar to America’s founding generation. As Noah Webster, then the editor of New York City’s first daily newspaper, wrote to a friend in the fall of 1793, “The melancholy accounts received from you and others of the progress of a fatal disease…excite commiseration in every breast. An alarm is spread over the country.”

The disease was the yellow fever, a virus that attacked the liver and kidneys. This American plague, which got its name because its victims became jaundiced, swept through the nation’s biggest cities a few times between 1793 to 1798. The first outbreak occurred in August of 1793 in Philadelphia, which served as the nation’s capitol from 1790 to 1800. By the middle of that November, the yellow fever would decimate the city, wiping out 5,000 of its 50,000 residents and forcing President Washington and his

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China and America’s Blame Game Over COVID-19 Hurts Everyone

China and America’s Blame Game Over COVID-19 Hurts Everyone

The U.S. and Chinese governments now appear more interested in taunting each other than cooperating to contain the damage wreaked by COVID-19. That’s bad news for the whole world, because if they worked together to limit further human and economic damage from this crisis and to prevent future viral emergencies from going global, there is much they could do.

U.S.-China relations have now reached their lowest point since the immediate aftermath of the Tiananmen Square massacre in June 1989. Both countries have suffered large-scale loss of life and a sharp economic slowdown, but political officials in both countries are working to protect their own domestic standing by blaming the other’s government. President Trump has taken to calling COVID-19 the “Chinese virus,” while senior Chinese officials and state media have pushed a ludicrous theory that the U.S. created the virus and planted it in China last fall.

This animosity didn’t begin,

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India faces spike in coronavirus cases, says study, in test for health system

FEATURE-South America’s indigenous people lock down as coronavirus takes hold

By Anastasia Moloney and Fabio Teixeira

BOGOTA/RIO DE JANEIRO, March 23 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – F or decades, indigenous groups from Colombia to Brazil have been fighting the threat to their lives posed by oil exploration, deforestation and illegal logging.

Now, the battle is against the deadly coronavirus outbreak.

Indigenous tribes are locking down and closing off their reserves to visitors as they fear the disease that is fast spreading across South America could wipe them out.

As they have little or no immunity to common outside diseases, “an epidemic can wipe out an entire tribe,” warned Jonathan Mazower, communications director at London-based Survival International, an indigenous rights group.

While, so far, no confirmed coronavirus cases have been reported among indigenous people in South America, Canada’s Navajo Nation has at least 26 confirmed cases in parts of North America, according to the tribe’s newspaper.

Across Latin America and the Caribbean,

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Coronavirus risk looms large for America’s elderly and sick prison population

Coronavirus risk looms large for America’s elderly and sick prison population

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) this week sent a letter to the Department of Justice and the Bureau of Prisons calling on the agencies to immediately release incarcerated individuals, who are either elderly or have chronic health conditions, to reduce the risk posed by Covid-19. The request came as jails around the country grapple with how to respond to the growing threat of widespread infection among a vulnerable prison population.

Both public health officials and families of incarcerated people are worried about Covid-19 spreading within the close quarters of correctional facilities. Despite 37 correctional systems suspending all visitation (except for legal visits), Covid-19 continues to breach prison walls, from Rikers Island to state prisons. Some county jails are releasing non-violent offenders early. Others are halting prisoner transfers, creating a potentially dangerous “bottleneck” in jails.

But experts agree with the ACLU that one of the most effective moves prison

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America's extreme neoliberal healthcare system is putting the country at risk

America’s extreme neoliberal healthcare system is putting the country at risk

<span>Photograph: Vanessa Carvalho/REX/Shutterstock</span>
Photograph: Vanessa Carvalho/REX/Shutterstock

At the final debate of the Democratic presidential primary on Sunday, Senator Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden clashed on the coronavirus. Sanders contended the pandemic laid bare “the incredible weakness and dysfunctionality” of the US healthcare system, and called for single-payer reform. Biden countered that Italy’s universal system had failed to protect the Mediterranean nation, and asserted that Covid-19 “has nothing to do with Bernie’s Medicare for All”. At first glance, the ex-vice-president seems right: of course single-payer can’t close the door to a novel virus, any more than it can forestall a deadly earthquake or fend off a zombie apocalypse. Nonetheless, a national health program with unified financing and governance – basically the opposite of what we have in America today – is a powerful tool in a health crisis.

Related: Coronavirus has taught Italy hard lessons. Other countries must learn from us | Maurizio Molinari

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