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Understanding the global pandemics

Increasing social isolation with the extension of lockdown has put each one of us in a very critical situation. Since WHO announced Coronavirus a pandemic, the disease has not only spread among people but also whispered panic and anxiety. What we can do to overcome the stress and anxiety is to educate ourselves by reading about the global history of various diseases and pandemics of all time.

While we all are discovering a new way of living, reading books can help one to liberate and reduce stress.

Read the following books during quarantine to understand human psychology and how it responds to uncertainty.

The Plague (1947)

By Albert Camus

The 20th century essayist and novelist Albert Camus presented the bitter truth about death and humankind's responses to it. The book defines peoples' fear and courage during Ebola outbreak on both

the literal as well as metaphorical level.

Typhoid Mary (1996)

By Judith Walzer Leavitt

The book revolves around the story of an Irish immigrant cook, Mary Mallon, who becomes a silent carrier of Typhoid and infected 51 people. Walzer Leavitt narrates the story of Mary, highlighting how it changed the cultural and public health system and her life-long isolation from the public.

Flu (2001)

Gina Kolata

The book provides an excellent understanding of the most vulnerable and common illness 'Flu' due to its ability to change. The author records world's deadliest diseases; the deadly pandemic of 1918 (estimates 20 million people died worldwide, 500,000 people died alone in the US), the outbreak of 1976 (By then US developed a vaccine against a viral descendant of the 1918 virus), and 1997 avian influenza outbreak in Hong Kong. The book gives an insight into the history of flu, addresses the recurring of the epidemics and most importantly tells what we could be done for prevention.

American Pandemic (2012)

By Nancy Bristow

This fascinating book chronicles the influenza outbreak around the globe between 1918 and1920, killing at least fifty million people, more than half a million of them were Americans. The book, interestingly, shows that both the medical profession and municipal officials had no idea what they were dealing with due to its newness. The author presents a much-needed corrective to the silence surrounding the influenza outbreak and how Americans dealt with the tragedy.

China Syndrome (2006)

Karl Taro Greenfeld

This was the first book to document the SARS outbreak in China in 2003. He was the editor of Time Asia at the time of the outbreak; Greenfeld's book perfectly explains what is SARS (caused by a coronavirus similar to the one that causes COVID-19) and how it was dealt with, as well as exploring what the living conditions were like for those who contracted the illness.

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