What we can learn from pandemics in history

Poll China Outbreak
This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, yellow, emerging from the surface of cells, blue/pink, cultured in the lab. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19.

Confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States continue their upward trajectory. Testing for the new coronavirus has increased and some areas have reported evidence of community spread. As we watch the spread of the respiratory virus, historians and public health officials look back in time for lessons from pandemics and major illnesses of the past.

MPR News host Kerri Miller talked with two medical historians about what our past shows us about the new coronavirus; what outbreaks of illness show us about our society; and what to watch for in the coming weeks.


To listen to the full conversation you can use the audio player above.

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