Sunday, March 1, 2020

Resources for #COVID-19, and More

The novel coronavirus disease that emerged in late December 2019 is big news. Now known as "COVID-19," it's affecting communities around the world, as well as industrial supply chains and financial markets.

cartoon of figure with tissue at nose and two other people panicking
"He might  have the CORONOAVIRUS!!!" cartoon,
from Malaka Gharib, Just For Kids: A Comic Exploring
the New Coronavirus
, NPR (Feb. 28, 2020)

Here are some resources to help you keep up:

To follow the news, you can sign up for Coronavirus Briefing, one of the New York Times's e-newsletters.

Coronavirus isn't just a medical problem; it also raises policy and legal issues. How can a government order people to be quarantined or forbid travel to or from affected countries?

This particular virus might be "novel," but an infectious disease that has the potential to affect a large community is definitely not novel, and that's why there's a field of public health law.

In Pox: An American History (a book in our Good Reads collection), Michael Willrich discusses the challenges around smallpox. Could the disease be controlled by quarantine? And by what right could a government order one? When a vaccine became available, could people be compelled to have it? How would government efforts vary between white and black communities? The chapter on the American occupation of the Philippines is harrowing: the Army used brutal techniques in the name of disease control.

In 1996, the Washington Law Review held a symposium on tuberculosis, another infectious disease with legal issues.

If you're curious about public health law, you could get started with Public Health Law in a Nutshell (available through our subscription to West Academic Study Aids).  Or browse The Oxford Handbook of Public Health Ethics (edited by Prof. Anna Mastroianni and others) (also available online). Section 8 is on communicable diseases.

Finally, if you want something quick and easy,  see this comic about coronavirus, from NPR.

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