What We’re Reading: 06/26/20


This week and every week in the foreseeable future, it’s COVID-19 and the critical, complex work of dismantling white supremacy in medicine, healthcare, education, and our society at large. Here’s what we’re reading— 

Almost one-third of black Americans know someone who died of COVID-19, survey shows 

They’ve been called parallel plagues, but one feeds off the other. As COVID-19 continues to spread and spike, black people are still dying at three times the rate of white people. A well-worn disparity arising from our country’s deep-seated racial inequality. Read this article and take your responsibility to protect each other seriously. 

“This pandemic has really unearthed — shone a real bright light on — the ways these disparities should not be accepted and are not tolerable,” said Joseph Betancourt, of Massachusetts General Hospital. The findings are “a true indication of reality.” 

Race, ethnicity and lung function: A brief history 

Still to this day, fundamental anatomical understanding of the lungs and the medical care that follows are poisoned by our racist history. This article focuses on the racialization of the spirometer, a widely-used device to measure lung capacity. The spirometer uses correction factors based on racist theories that can be directly traced to the early days of enslavement in America. A must read. 

How the Virus Won 

A powerful and important visual representation of how the virus spread, and how the delayed and sporadic response by our government officials likely cost tens of thousands of lives. What’s so well done here is the mapping and tracing of travel patterns linked to hidden infections and invisible outbreaks. There are so many lessons here, lessons we can use right now as we continue to fight the first wave of COVID-19. 

And now for some fiction that hits like a crisp breeze. 

The Rescue Will Begin in Its Own Time

By Franz Kafka 

For the first time, this quartet of very short stories written by Kafka has been translated into English, and in true form they touch on all the depths of our humanity. A series of fables that will sit with you and unfold over time. Don’t sleep on this one!

Also check out:

Subscribe to Healthpoints and never miss an update.