This combination science, history, and literature study group will reflect on the moral, social, and philosophical impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, but from the perspective of others who have lived through other pandemics in history such as the Black Death, smallpox, cholera, yellow fever, and the 1918 Influenza. We will explore how local communities and public health agencies have tried to control these diseases,
as well as the scientists/doctors who struggled to find cures, while often being disparaged by their own medical colleagues. We will briefly learn about some of the scientific principles behind bacteria and viruses; how they attack human cells, and how the human immune system attempts to counter them. We will also look at how famous writers have attempted to come to grips with the devastation wrought by such diseases, both real and imagined, in their time. The required texts for this study group are Viruses, Plagues & History by Michael Oldstone (Oxford University Press 2009); Daniel Defoe’s Journal of the Plague Year: Annotated Edition (Auroch Press, 2020); and Albert Camus’ The Plague (any edition). Canvas used extensively.