Author: ma6056

Power of Labels and Labels of Power

Labels have power, Very recently we saw the 45th US president, Donald trump call the SARS-CoV-2 (the COVID-19 virus) the Chinese virus. this caused an uproar because labeling the virus “The Chinese virus” causes the formation of an exaugurated association between the virus and China. Therefore, indirectly causing an increase in xenophobia towards East Asians in the country.

People can use these labels to build favorable or unfavorable personas, we can find examples of this often in politics. Donald Trump has been problematic in public more than just once or twice. Throughout his presidency and candidacy, he has often made sexist, racist, and Islamophobic remarks in public, and therefore has been labeled as such. Meanwhile, our other candidate this year, Joe Biden, had led his candidacy with a persona of an anti-racist, feminist, and an open person. But looking back we can see that Joe Biden has had his share of problematic issues during his time as a politician. For example, a big issue that many Muslim voters had with Joe Biden was the fact that he voted for the war in Iraq. A war that caused the loss of thousands of lives. Yet as we have seen, many Muslims have still voted for Joe Biden because of his newer, more acceptable persona. Similarly, there was the issue of Biden behaving inappropriately with women or the comments he made on his segregationist colleagues. 

This election we had been fighting to vote Trump out of the white house rather than to get Biden into the white house. Because neither the candidates are fit to be president. But we would much rather have a progressive democrat who makes some racist comments than to have an openly racist republican.

The Past and The Present

In the pale horse, pale rider Katherine Anne Porter recalls her experiences with the 1918 pandemic. I couldn’t help but remember the countless articles that emerged where we compared COVID-19 with the influenza pandemic, even though the strains of virus for both these diseases are biologically very different, the Spanish flu was caused by the H1N1 virus and COVID-19 is caused by SARS-CoV-2, knowing the past can help us draw lessons and equip us with information we need to fight current epidemics. 

The 1918 pandemic is known to be the most severe pandemic in modern history, this is due to the rapid spread of the disease like wildfire, infecting around 1/3rd of the world’s population and claiming the lives of around 50 million lives most of which were lost during the second wave.

Red Cross Ambulance Demonstration- Washington DC

During the influenza pandemic many cities also locally mandated the use of masks and carried out some sorts of social distancing measures, this definitely helped reduce the spread of the disease and improved how economies recovered after the pandemic. We also had a fair share of anti-maskers during the 1918 flu claiming the masks as a nuisance and unnecessary. These people caused more chaos and spread of the disease much like what’s happening today (lesson: wear masks please). 

Headlines from newspapers in Chicago

Additionally, during that time we also did not have antibiotics, ventilator, and other healthcare equipment, combined with the fact that because of the war the governments themselves had fewer resources to divert into fighting the pandemic, the mortality rate of the disease was very high. The flu pandemic then ended in the spring of 1919 when the immunity of people increased greatly to the virus, this gives us hope that perhaps soon we might be able to find a way to increase our immunity to SARS-CoV-2 and the current pandemic can end. But until then we need to closely follow the guidelines set by the CDC and WHO to ensure that the current pandemic doesn’t get worse like Spanish flu before the situation improves. 

Sources used: CDC image gallery and

Here’s an interesting video that talks about the economic effects of 1918 and what we can learn from it: