Perspective

Time will change our stories because 4 years from now, 30 years from now, and 100 years from now, we will have more and more information and research done on the effect of COVID-19 and more and more people who can cover details that were not included or available at the time. Right now, this specific coronavirus is novel to the world, it does not have a vaccine yet, there is not even an official death toll yet. It is currently on-going, so our assignments are going to be inconclusive and un-finished.

4 Years From Now:

I believe 4 years from now, our stories will be able to be fully comparable to past diseases, because I think we would have a vaccine by then. I expect the data itself to change (death toll) and I expect there to be new information about the disease itself. Right now, we are almost a year into the disease, it came to America in February. People will not know everything about COVID-19, but scientists will be able to study it and produce conclusive articles about the disease.

30 Years From Now:

I believe 30 years from now, scientists will be able to construct research articles about the disease, the vaccine, and the human effect. This is probably the time when COVID-19 would make its way to high school history textbooks, and the disease will (hopefully) have been treatable. This is most likely when we will have a “cure” for the symptoms, as we do for treating the flu. We would probably have seen COVID-19 almost vanish, with a couple cases a year. This shifts our data even further because by the time 30 years have passed, so has an entire generation and so has the bulk of the novel disease. We’d have information readily accessible on the year 2020 in America, and there would be a lot more universal information than there was 26 years ago.

100 Years From Now:

This is when COVID-19 would be a thing of the past. Comparing it to the 1918 influenza, the disease lasted for around 10 years, and by the time 100 years passed, life would continue as normal. It would be the same with COVID-19. There would be a plethora of novels and medical articles done by 2120, and virtually everything about the disease would be known. The lifelong effects of the vaccine, whether or not the disease was eradicated entirely, the global effect of the disease, and the government response to COVID-19. Most people born in 2020 will not remember the disease (unless impacted personally) and live a life learning about what it was like for people living in 2020, just as people born in 2000 have spent their entire lives learning about 9/11.

Election Night

You are turning this blog post in the night before the last day of voting in the 2020 election. What has the experience of living through the election been like for you? How do you think we might view this election historically in the future? How have you seen history evoked in order to explain the election, candidates’ platforms, or to predict outcomes? Another cool way to approach this blog would be to identify one or two sources that you think would be critical for a future historian to look at in order to understand this election season. If you were to study the election in the future, what historical questions would you ask?

My experience throughout this election has been tumultuous, stressful, hopeful, crazy, heart-breaking, concerned, and finally hopeful again. It’s been absolutely insane. I voted in September for Joe Biden, and I have been vocal on social media about my political views, since I love politics. This election is something nobody has ever heard of before. It has been incredibly stressful, some of the Trump supporters on my social media would call me names, say I “won’t get smarter by looking into things”, and other nonsense. My boyfriend is a conservative. So this election has been very, very, very stressful.

I believe we will look at this election in the future as a mistake and hopefully the future is normal, but it will be remembered as an election surrounded in controversy and scandals. Cheap shots by our candidates, the growing fear of “fake news”, COVID-19, BLM, and the progressiveness of our nation is what makes this election different from many others. Plus, our president has not clarified whether or not he will commit to a peaceful transfer of power, which is something that has been done all throughout American history. I just hope the future is in a much better place than we are right now, and everyone is civil towards each other.

I have seen history come into play numerous times throughout this election. First, we have the people who compare President Trump to Hitler, citing the almost-concentration camps at the border, his call to bring jobs back is similar to Hitler’s platform in the 30’s, when he ran on bringing Germany’s economy back, and the way they both said “make _______ great again!”. History also has a part in this election because there have been few presidents that have only served 1 term, and there is doubt as to whether or not President Trump will join them. History says it is unlikely.

https://www.cbsnews.com/live-updates/covid-19-latest-news-2020-11-03/I think an article giving future Americans a sense of this election would be this article on COVID-19 and how it impacted the nation, thus greatly impacting the method of voting in the United States.

Another article would have to be this BLM article from the New York Times. You cannot talk about the 2020 election without talking about the social momentum of the country and the response to injustice. This, alongside the Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett confirmations, Trump’s House impeachment, and Russian meddling/Facebook misinformation spread would also help give future Americans a sense of the political and social climate in 2016 and 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/07/03/us/george-floyd-protests-crowd-size.html

If I had to study this election in the future….. I believe I would ask “why was the 2020 election of _____ so controversial?”. And I’d probably research each candidate’s stances and their supporters. Just try to figure out a question that I cannot even answer right now; “Why?”

My Memories From Week #1

Our first day of class, I actually almost missed. I got too far into a Netflix hole, lost track of time, and after checking my phone, I had to book it to class. Once I got there, everyone was spread out. Three seats apart, masks on, and somehow everyone’s personalities were just exuberant. I think we were all just happy to be back, no matter the restrictions or disease. At least I had the two in-person classes. For me, what sticks out the most on the first day was Professor Whitaker remembering who I was and my disability. In a time when everything is so up-and-down, isolated, and scary, our Professor made me feel comforted and seen. It went a long way, even though it was a short talk.

Our class was pretty funny that day, and the next class was more serious. We just talked about the lecture and class materials, it was our first class where we were being taught the course material. I also discovered that this class is rad, as I would expect with a group like this and our professor, whom I loved having last year. I just really miss the first week of school. It felt like hope, if that makes sense? My first week was just filled with hope and good thoughts that we could make it a little further into the semester without going virtual. Being hearing disabled during a pandemic is the hardest hearing challenge I think I’ve ever gone through. Trying to understand what people are saying when their masks make their speech garbled and not being able to read lips has been so frustrating. I had to drop an in-person Spanish class because I can barely hear the person at Salad Works speak English, how am I supposed to learn a new language, especially with the professor’s mouth covered? It just didn’t work out this semester, which sucks pretty hard-core. I think feeling this way is quite universal.

Who are Historical People?

Question #1: When does a person become a historical subject?

A person becomes a historical subject once the time period in which they experienced unique political, social, and economical events passes, and if they tell their stories about the events they went through. Also, it has to do with time. A historical person usually translates to: someone who went through a historical event and told their story. For example, a historical person would be President Jimmy Carter. He lived through a unique presidency, and every interview or media appearance he has been on, was as a historical person. When he shares his past political experiences, he is speaking as a historical figure. Another example would be Anne Frank. A historical person does not have to be alive, they just have to tell their story. Frank wrote down current events in her diary, leaving behind a first-person story about the Holocaust. Martin Luther King Jr. is a historical person, my 95 year old great-grandmother is a historical person because they were alive during historical events.

Question #2: Who are your historical subjects? What considerations do you need to make to represent them responsibly?

My historical subjects are people who were alive during the 1918 influenza epidemic, the 2003 SARS epidemic, and people who are right now living through the COVID-19 epidemic. I will respect their stories and do background research on them so I can make sure their voices are heard. Since I am going to have to rely mainly on journals/diaries/newspapers from 1918 to gather stories, I will try my best to encapsulate various perspectives of the illness. Same for the historical people who went through SARS and those who are currently living through COVID-19.

Midterm Proposal

Question: How does the government and social response to the COVID-19 pandemic compare to the 1918 Influenza epidemic, and what makes COVID-19 different from other outbreaks of SARS and MERS?

Project description:

I will be doing my project in the form of a Washington Post ‘Made by History’ op-ed. I decided to do the op-ed because I feel I can mention everything I want to in 1000-1250 words and I’ve lowkey always wanted to do a historical article, for a midterm or a website. Using primary and secondary sources, I will compare and contrast the two pandemics by their severity, mortality rate, and how the government/citizens reacted. I will also go into depth as to why the COVID-19 pandemic is different than past SARS and MERS outbreaks, what the degrees of severity they had, the government response, and how citizens reacted to the outbreaks. I think it is important to draw on historical examples whenever it’s applicable. For example, with the influenza pandemic, people were told to wear masks outside, just like we are currently being suggested to do. I believe we should look at the history of pandemics to help strategize what needs to be done to slow the spread.

3 Primary Sources: (for now)

“Update 95 – SARS: Chronology of a Serial Killer.” World Health Organization. World Health Organization, July 24, 2015. https://www.who.int/csr/don/2003_07_04/en/.

  • This article was written on February 11, 2003 (it had added information after discovering more about the disease) and I believe it is a primary source for the time. I believe it will help give me a timeline as to what government action was taken during the pandemic and what public restrictions were implemented.

Wilder-Smith, Annelies, Calvin J Chiew, and Vernon J Lee. “Can We Contain the COVID-19 Outbreak with the Same Measures as for SARS?” The Lancet Infectious Diseases. Elsevier, March 5, 2020. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1473309920301298.

  • I am having trouble finding direct primary sources as to how the US implemented safety procedures during the 2003 SARS epidemic, so I hope this source comparing the two (COVID) can qualify as a type of primary source. This source is important because it shows the comparison of the two diseases, and is something I will use to answer my research question.

Robertson, John Dill, and Gottfried Koehler. “Preliminary report on the influenza epidemic in Chicago.” American Journal of Public Health 8, no. 11 (1918): 849-856.

  • This primary source details the measures doctors and first responders went to try and contain the spread. It also has information as to the height of the disease and talks about the vaccines that were in the works at that time. It will be useful to compare the public safety measures put in place by the government and how people responded to those measures to how people are responding to the government safety restrictions and what they put into place.

I also plan on using anti-masker and anti-quarantine people’s opinions on the current epidemic to further compare the two!

3 Secondary Sources: (for now)

Hogan, Bill. 2020. “Invisible Enemies.” MHQ: Quarterly Journal of Military History 32 (4): 32–33. http://search.ebscohost.com.libproxy.temple.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=31h&AN=144353399&site=ehost-live&scope=site

  • Invisible Enemies will help me understand the direness of the 1918 influenza, what restrictions were imposed on society and the economy, and the hysteria surrounding the disease. It also includes the rumors floating around about ‘German spies’ masquerading as doctors/nurses to give Americans the disease and a bunch of other interesting facts about the disease.

Wu, Larry. “A Timeline of COVID-19 Symptoms.” Point of Blue, July 9, 2020. https://blog.bcbsnc.com/2020/07/a-timeline-of-covid-19-symptoms/.

  • I’m having trouble finding scholarly secondary sources on COVID because it is ongoing, but this article by Blue Cross NC lists the symptoms of COVID, which is something I need to include in my article when comparing it to the 1918 influenza, and other SARS/MERS illnesses. I will use this and another article detailing the lockdown and quarantine to describe what the disease is and how people are reacting to it.

“Department of Health.” Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), 2011. https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/sars/fact_sheet.htm.

  • This source will help me understand how SARS is transmitted and the similarities it has with COVID. I will continue to look for more sources, and I do believe I will need a lot, but this will be a good start! It details how SARS spread, where it came from, how many were infected, and what was done to combat the spread.

1918 Influenza Pandemic

The influenza was first thought to have appeared in March, 1918. More than 100 soldiers stationed at Camp Funston in Fort Riley, Kansas had become ill with the flu. Such flu activity began spreading throughout the United States and Europe, possibly Asia, at various rates. By September 1918, the second wave hit, and 14,000 new flu cases were reported at an Army training camp and a naval facility, both in Boston. Within the month of October, 195,000 Americans were killed by the flu. Because the war was ongoing, nurses and doctors were deployed overseas, and the remaining ones at home were short staffed, as they would not allow black nurses and doctors to work. In San Francisco, masks were required for those serving the public, and government officials highly recommended civilians to wear masks when outside. Philadelphia went through a hard time, with thousands people dying everyday. There were 500 bodies yet to be buried, and officials used cold-storage plants as temporary morgues. Often times, people would fall ill and die, and the people who were serving in their funerals fell ill as well.

This poster, published by United States Shipping Board Emergency Fleet Corporation in 1918, is an example of public safety measures taken to slow the spread of the disease.

United States Shipping Board Emergency Fleet Corporation 1918

Fast forward to January 1919, 3 months after the deadly month of October, a third wave had struck during the winter, causing many more to die. In San Francisco, there were 1,800 reported flu cases and 101 deaths in the first month of the year alone. In New York City, people began thinking there was a resurgence after 706 cases were reported and 67 deaths. People had excruciating pain, fevers, and chills when they contracted the disease. Physician Franklin Martin had travelled home after a post-war tour of Europe, when he suddenly fell ill. Martin and hundreds of thousands of others shared the same uncomfortable symptoms, and spent their days in misery.

By the end of the year, the influenza was mainly under control. People were still dying, falling ill, and losing their loved ones, but the illness was not perceived as an enormous threat anymore. The vaccine would come a little more than a decade later, and modern medicine made the horrible disease much easier to treat.

Primary Sources

For my final project, I want to focus mainly on medical journals/newspapers describing the diseases and also the public’s response.

For this blog post, I’ll include articles surrounding the Ebola virus.

Leggiadro, Robert. “Ebola.” Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal 39.10 (2020): 882. Journals@Ovid Full Text. Web. 29 September. 2020. http://ovidsp.ovid.com/ovidweb.cgi?T=JS&PAGE=reference&D=ovftw&NEWS=N&AN=00006454-202010000-00004.

This article was published in the Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal, and it describes what strains of Ebola were in various outbreaks, how it’s carried, and talks about the vaccines being tested on humans. I will use this article primarily for the description of the Ebola virus, and where its outbreaks were located.

This next article is from the Library of Congress discussing the local outcry, containment, spread, and how the disease affected international affairs.

Cook, Nicolas, and Tiaji Salaam-Blyther. Ebola: 2014 Outbreak in West Africa. , 2018. Library of Congress. November 24, 2014. https://crsreports.congress.gov/product/details?prodcode=IF10178

I plan on using this article to detail the beginnings and the spread of the 2014 Ebola outbreak, and the initial international and local response to the disease.

Doctors vs. Pandemics

Fashion show, held in thanks to all medical professionals battling COVID-19

I’m interested in learning more about the doctors struggles and tribulations they’ve had to face during COVID-19. Seeing people refuse to wear masks and social distance made me feel really bad for the healthcare workers all over the country, and such anti-mask protests struck me as ungrateful and selfish. It dawned on me that civilian’s ignorance is costing us our doctors and nurses lives. I can’t imagine the stuff they’ve had to deal with during this time, and that peaks my interest.

My project is going to be centered around modern-day doctors dealing with COVID and the unwilling general public, with takes on past pandemics and how the doctors and public reacted during their times of crisis.

The larger historical themes that my project would be connecting with is the stopping of the Bubonic Plague, polio, and Ebola (still ongoing, but I’m mainly focused on the early 2010 Ebola scare). From wearing scary crow masks to face shields, how have doctors responded to these times of medical insanity? I hope to discuss the Plague’s impact on the people of the time and COVID’s impact on people today.

I think my project will teach people the importance of wearing a mask and following doctors and surgeon general’s warnings about public crowding by including stories of fallen doctors/nurses and the efforts they go through to safely treat the sick. It’ll mention the downfalls of past treatment of pandemics and give information that will educate the public on past mistakes and how to avoid those situations.

I hope to learn about past plagues and epidemics/pandemics, what they did to curb the spread, how the citizens reacted, and what life looked like after the disease.

TIME

Time feels like it can sometimes move very fast or extremely slow. During big events or busy days, time moves very fast for me. When there are days of relaxation and chill, time moves very slow. 2020, in my opinion, is the fastest year I have ever seen fly by. The past two decades have flown by. In 2000, I was born. From the time I could remember things to now feels like a blur, and that could be said for quite a lot of people. Time does not slow down for anyone. When I think of time, I think of age. Aging is something nobody can escape, and I think that’s where people get scared. Death comes with time (hopefully nobody dies young), and getting older is a reflection of inescapable nothingness.

So, for my blog post, I decided the best way to showcase time was looking at myself growing up.

As a little kid growing up around a bunch of hippies, I was throwing up the peace sign in almost every picture taken of me. I was in preschool when this picture was taken. An example of subjectivity regarding this picture was “I had a great childhood”. Personally, as a child who did not know anything about money or wellness, I would say I had great childhood. However, my family was struggling with money and my parents smoked cigarettes all the time, while me and my one brother at the time were in the car, inside the house, outside the house, everywhere. If people knew that information, they may say my childhood could’ve been better. However, I loved it. I have great, loving parents who quit smoking, my family is financially comfortable, and I have extended family and friends who I love incredibly. I wouldn’t change my childhood for the world.

Another picture I have is of me in middle school, again, throwing up the peace sign.

Me in middle school, catching at a softball tournament at my school

In middle school, my parents were still in the same sinking financial boat, but it was in the process of getting better. I loved playing softball, I was primarily a catcher or in the center/left outfield. The peace sign has been around for 13 years already, and this was the beginning of my parents and friends teasing me for how much I did it (all love). I had no plans of stopping. Looking at this picture, I can state this fact: I was a happy 13/14 yr old girl who was obsessed with boys and loved being silly with her friends. Removing the subjectivity, I was happy, but I was also getting body-shamed in school. I had been getting slightly picked on since 5th grade, because I was almost done developing and most other girls weren’t. So when they saw how my shirts fit me awkwardly and non-flattering, girls began to call me fat. I was obsessed with boys, but learned very fast that they only liked me back because they were horny middle-schoolers. I did love my friends with all my heart, but they began diving into an emo/goth phase that I didn’t relate to or want to be in (no emo tween phase for me).

I moved in the summer of eighth grade to Maryland, on the Eastern shore, and I felt like it was a fresh start. Time felt like it was dragging on in Montrose, PA (where I am from), and I wanted something new and exciting. My time in Maryland went by very fast, and I had a lot of fun there. Like the saying goes, time flies when you’re having fun. But it was time to come back to PA and live closer to my grandparents, who are experiencing the end of their lives. Moving definitely taught me that time does not stay still when you leave or take a break from your world. People age, and everyone you remember looking baby-faced or how small your 3 year old cousin is, had all changed and matured. Time waits for no one.

Me at the end of summer 2020

This is me now, throwing up the peace sign at the age of 19, almost 20. I’ve learned a lot since I was 13. Body positivity, learned how to fall in love, the meaning of family and friends, and how to enjoy life. People have asked me since I was little, “why do you smile so much?”. Well, I figured it out. I believe that life is wonderful and I don’t believe in a God, but I feel truly blessed to have the life that I do. Time is too short to not smile, in my opinion. A lot of my life has been spent worrying about death and having a fear of dying, but I am thrilled to be alive. Moving back to Montrose has made my happiness soar beyond the skies. I think it has something to do with maturity and age.

Life is subjective. I can say I’ve lived a fantastic, happy life, but when it comes down to brass tacks, there were events and details that can be seen as bad.

Earlier, I mentioned how the subjectivity would be that I was living a great life, and was super happy, but the reality was different. At the end of this blog, I realized it’s the opposite. I had a lower-middle class childhood, my parents were smokers, and I didn’t have clothes that accentuated my assets properly (lol). But the reality is that I’m so happy it was like that. I only have good memories associated with my childhood, and that’s all that matters.

Time is a crazy concept invented by humans thousands of years ago, and time will continue after everyone alive right now dies. Use your millisecond time period where you’re alive to do the things that make you happy and others happy. Life is short.