Pandemics, quarantine and public health

Historians are responding to the Covid-19 emergency, offering insights not only on public health measures in the past, but on civil emergency responses, health communications, and national narratives of governmental competence.

If you would like to speak to any of the experts featured, please contact us. If you would like to submit a paper, please see the editorial guidelines.


Policy Papers

The real lessons of the Blitz for Covid-19

A roundtable of experts in the UK's emergency civil defence response during the Second World War explores lessons for the current crisis.

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Opinion Articles

On infection parties, herd immunity and other half-truths

The history of smallpox's eradication shows how risky attempts at creating immunity can be, says Anita Guerrini.

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Does Coronavirus spell the end for neoliberalism?

Adrian Williamson asks what the government's stimulus plan of March might mean for the future.

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COVID-19 and the 1918 ‘Spanish ‘flu’: differences give us a measure of hope

Michael Bresalier shows that the backdrop of war to the 1918 pandemic, as well as the lack of global governance and the state of clinical knowledge, formed very different circumstances to those of today.

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Epidemic control in Chinese public health: past and present

Mary Augusta Brazelton relates the history of a public health approach that has incorporated coercion, persuasion, education – and most recently, "medical diplomacy"

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Ocado for all - lessons from Second World War transport logistics

As supermarkets battle with shortages and vulnerable customers suffer, there are lessons we can learn from co-operation between companies and local and national government, says Mark Roodhouse

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Epidemics and ‘essential work’ in early modern Europe

Kevin Siena explores the redefinition of 'essential work' and notes that this is not the first time the economically disadvantaged have been pushed into the front line of disease

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Blitz spirit won’t help ‘Win the Fight’ against Covid-19

The myth of the Blitz spirit could be actively dangerous, says Henry Irving - we need to define a Coronavirus spirit of our own, where engaged citizenship encourages social distancing

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Quarantine - an early modern approach

Jane Stevens Crawshaw on early modern Italy's experiences with quarantine - originating in Venice as a response to plague

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About Us


H&P is an expanding Partnership based at King's College London and the University of Cambridge, and additionally supported by the University of Bristol, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Leeds, University of Liverpool, the Open University, and the University of Sheffield.

We are the only project in the UK providing access to an international network of more than 500 historians with a broad range of expertise. H&P offers a range of resources for historians, policy makers and journalists.

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