Discussion Questions #coronavirusclass

For those of you following along with this week’s class on the history of epidemics and their lessons for the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve posted some discussion questions below. You can share your answers, as well as general reactions to the readings, on Twitter using the hashtag #coronavirusclass. On Thursday 19 March and Friday 20 March I’ll share some of the responses from our class and summarize our findings. Follow this link for access to the readings and some other recommended resources. Looking forward to hearing from you!


Q.1: What are the three phases of an epidemic, according to Jones (drawing on Rosenberg)?

Q.2: What are the main lessons of history, according to Jones, and do you agree?


Q.3: There are many similarities between the issues that emerged during the Spanish influenza pandemic and those developing right now in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, from the assumptions and actions of public health experts to the reactions to them among the general public, business owners, and journalists. Make a list of at least 6 historical issues Tomes discusses, and give a related example from today, either in the response in the Netherlands or internationally.


Q.4: What are the factors that shape a “disease identity,” and why is it important/useful to understand how a disease is “framed” in this way? Give examples from the reading.

Q.5: How does this concept relate to the response to COVID-19, globally, in Europe, and in the Netherlands?