Pandemic

This year's titles include I Was Better Last Night, Accidental Ecosystem and Winslow Homer: American Passage.

The Best Books of 2022

Smithsonian Scholars Pick Their Favorite Books of 2022

This wide-ranging list offers context for our rapidly changing world

Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman in Gaslight, a film adaptation of the 1938 play Gas Light

'Gaslighting' Is Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Year

Searches for the term, defined as the "practice of grossly misleading someone," skyrocketed in 2022

Angel Blue performing in the 2021 production of Fire Shut Up in My Bones at the Met.

Covid-19

Can Pathogens at the Opera Haunt a Performance?

New results show performers’ breath control can prevent disease from spreading

New research finds that excessive alcohol consumption is killing Americans during their prime working years.

Alcohol Caused One in Eight Deaths of Working-Age U.S. Adults

CDC research shows excessive drinking is killing Americans in the "prime of their life"

A bus being treated with ultraviolet light in Shanghai, China. Although types of UV light are already in use to decontaminate vehicles and indoor spaces, the wavelengths used are dangerous to people. Researchers hope that wavelengths of far-UVC light can be used harmlessly when people are present.

Covid-19

Could UV Light Reduce the Spread of Covid-19 in Indoor Spaces?

Some wavelengths of light in a range called far-UVC kill microbes in experiments and appear to be harmless to people

Past research has found that people’s personalities are relatively immune to changes following collective stressful events, but Covid-19 appears to be an exception.

Has the Pandemic Changed Your Personality?

Research suggests younger adults’ dispositions shifted the most during Covid-19

An inhaled Covid-19 vaccine is displayed at the CanSino Biologics booth at the Hainan International Health Industry Expo in November 2021.

Needle-Free Covid-19 Vaccines Approved in China and India

Doses inhaled through the mouth or nose might provide better protection against mild infections and transmission, preliminary studies show

People line up for Covid-19 vaccines in Washington, D.C., last December. The Food and Drug Administration approved updated booster shots Wednesday. 

CDC Recommends New Covid-19 Boosters Targeting Omicron Subvariants

The updated shots could be available within days

Long Covid is a morass to figure out, but the answers are important for the multitudes still suffering from an infection that happened to them months or even years ago.

How Long Will It Take to Understand Long Covid?

Covid long-haulers experience a litany of symptoms, and researchers have proposed a variety of theories to explain them

The protein-based Covid-19 vaccine from Maryland biotechnology company Novavax. 

FDA Authorizes Novavax Covid-19 Vaccine for Emergency Use

The shots work similar to the way that vaccines against influenza and shingles work

The gravestones say that the women died of “pestilence.”

Where Did the Black Death Start? Thanks to Ancient DNA, Scientists May Have Answers

The devastating disease possibly began in what is now northern Kyrgyzstan

 Researchers speculate that type two inflammation that occurs in allergic conditions may reduce levels of the ACE2 receptor on the surface of airway cells, where SARS-CoV-2’s spike protein binds to. (Pictured: Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 under and electron microscope)

Some Allergies Associated With Lower Risk of SARS-CoV-2 Infection

An NIH study found that food allergies reduced risk of infection by 50 percent

This year, sixteen bakers delivered on the challenge.

Good News

This Museum Is Asking People to Remake Famous Artworks With Cake

Through its annual bake-off, the Blanton Museum of Art in Austin, Texas, provides a fun way for the public to engage with its collections

Last September, an installation of almost 700,000 white flags on the National Mall paid tribute to the Americans who have died of Covid-19.

Covid-19

The Civil War Drastically Reshaped How Americans Deal With Death. Will the Pandemic?

Around 750,000 people died during the conflict—2.5 percent of the country's population at the time

Many Americans struggle with risk assessment when making decisions during the pandemic.

The Future of Mental Health

Why It’s So Hard to Make Risk Decisions in the Pandemic

Our brains weren’t built to do public health calculus like this, but following a few pieces of advice from the experts will help as you weigh your options

Members of the Portela samba school perform during Rio's Carnival parade.

Good News

Carnival Makes a Triumphant Return to Rio de Janeiro

Covid canceled the 2021 festival. Now, the Brazilian city is reclaiming its streets

A 19th-century illustration of two yellow fever victims in New Orleans

Race in America

How Yellow Fever Intensified Racial Inequality in 19th-Century New Orleans

A new book explores how immunity to the disease created opportunities for white, but not Black, people

Emily Erdos, Harvard, Massachusetts, United States 

A map is supposed to symbolize travel, discovery, and possibility, almost all of which COVID-19 has suppressed. I don’t know what comes next, or which metaphorical life turn to take during this time of perpetual uncertainty. As a friend once wrote to me, a map has a quality of authority: Follow the directions, stick to the rules, don’t digress, and you will get to where you want to go. In this time, we all tried to follow the rules, to follow the map, and yet we still got (or are getting) lost in a new normal. 

But maps can encapsulate virtual as well as physical realities. They can symbolize home as much as “awayness.” For me, home is a place, but it’s also people. During the pandemic, those people have been spread across the globe, and my only connection to them is through a screen. So my map is a series of mini, virtual, people-centered maps. Knowing that the person behind each map has their own world and journey gives me comfort. Even more so knowing that those journeys, though currently only virtually connected, will physically intersect again someday.

This Pandemic Mapping Project Shows How Covid-19 Transformed Our Worlds

Hundreds of homemade maps reveal how people from around the globe found their ways through crisis

Out of the deer tested in Iowa between September 2020 and January 2021, a third of total white-tailed deer had SARS-coV-2.

Wildlife Biologists Prioritize Monitoring Wild Animals for SARS-CoV-2

The Covid-19 pandemic is driven by human-to-human transmission, but the virus is known to infect animal species

A first grade student receives a Covid-19 vaccine in Chicago, Illinois

Six Important Things to Know About Covid Vaccination in Children

Experts share the latest research and advice about protecting kids

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