Coronavirus: Three Lessons from the AIDS CrisisRoundup
tags: racism, AIDS, public health, homophobia, HIV, coronavirus
Laurie Marhoefer is Associate Professor of History at the University of Washington.
As my governor closes all the public schools and public libraries here in Seattle, I’m thinking about 1981 – the year when newspapers in New York and Los Angeles reported that a strange new virus was killing healthy young men.
As of March 15, Seattle had recorded 420 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 37 deaths. As a historian of 20th-century queer and trans politics, I know that’s nothing compared to the toll that HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, took on our city. But these are early days.
The U.S. made serious mistakes when the HIV virus and AIDS emerged. Those errors cost many lives. But our nation learned a few things, too.
Act fast and think big.
It’s everybody’s disease.
Investing in research and public health pays off.
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