Jacalyn DuffinDec 12, 2022
McGill-Queen's University Press 2022
For two years the COVID-19 pandemic has upended the world. The physician and medical historian Jacalyn Duffin presents a global history of the virus, with a focus on Canada.
In Covid-19: A History ( McGill-Queen's UP, 2022), Duffin describes the frightening appearance of the virus and its identification by scientists in China; subsequent outbreaks on cruise ships; the relentless spread to Europe, the Americas, Africa, and elsewhere; and the immediate attempts to confront it. COVID-19 next explores the scientific history of infections generally, and the discovery of coronaviruses in particular. Taking a broad approach, the book explains the advent of tests, treatments, and vaccines, as well as the practical politics behind interventions, including quarantines, barrier technologies, lockdowns, and social and financial supports. In concluding chapters Duffin analyzes the outcome of successive waves of COVID-19 infection around the world: the toll of human suffering, the successes and failures of control measures, vaccine rollouts, and grassroots opposition to governments' attempts to limit the spread and mitigate social and economic damages. Closing with the fraught search for the origins of COVID-19, Duffin considers the implications of an "infodemic" and provides a cautionary outlook for the future.
Corinne Doria is a historian specializing in the social history of medicine. She is a lecturer at the Chinese University of Hong Kong in Shenzhen and teaches Disability Studies at Sciences-Po (Paris). Her work focuses on the history of ophthalmology and visual impairment in the West.