58 - The Original (Antigenic) Sin
The COVID-19 pandemic laid bare the racial health disparities in the United States, with markedly increased mortality especially among Blacks and Native Americans. In this episode, Tony Breu and I discuss the conception of race, racism, and the social determinants of health through three historic plagues in the United States -- from yellow fever in New Orleans, to poliomyelitis, and finally the early days of HIV/AIDS -- and what lessons we can draw for COVID-19. Along the way, we’ll discuss the unique social capital afforded by acclimation, immunity passports, the concept of the “original antigenic sin,” and constitutionalism and eugenics. This presentation was performed live at the annual meeting of the Massachusetts American College of Physicians, and is only lightly edited.
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