An addendum is needed to my post from the other day about "The Eight Ps of Coronavirus Reaction" — preppers, portfolio mangers, politicizers, psychosomatics, panicked, patients, and philosophers. The ninth P is for precedent.
At Education Next, in "Searching for Precedents in Pandemics Past," I write about the Spanish Flu and the Black Plague:
Harvard in a pandemic, even more than in usual times, is a peculiar place.
Other places have runs on hand sanitizer or bottled water. Here people have stocked up on those practical preparedness supplies, too. But here we have also had a run on books, as scholars research relevant precedents to the challenges posed by the novel coronavirus.
The university has three physical copies of Alfred W. Crosby's America's Forgotten Pandemic: The Influenza of 1918—one at the Countway library that serves the medical school, one at the Lamont library catering to undergraduates, and one at Widener, the library that makes Harvard's system the third-largest in the United States, by the American Library Association's definition. By noon Thursday, all three volumes were checked out, and each had a request—a kind of virtual waiting line for the book once it is returned. That was for the 1989 edition. Hardcovers of a second edition were also gone. A version of the book had been published in 1976 under a different title, Epidemic and Peace, 1918, was also checked out of Countway.
Please read the rest of the article here.