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Comparing the COVID pandemic to the response to HIV in the 80s

COVID-19 might seem like a new problem, but the truth is...we've been here before. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.


For those of us a little long in the tooth, there's much about the current pandemic that is eerily familiar. And humans are just not very good at learning from history.


In very recent history we dealt with a previously-unseen virus that started killing people without a cure in sight, could be spread by unwitting asymptomatic carriers, the government dragged their feet before finally suggesting that covering up might prevent its spread, minority groups were worst affected leading to inaccurate speculation, desperate people started turning to unproven therapies, conspiracy theorists cashed in, the British eventually ran a landmark treatment trial and at the heart of the battle against this virus was a certain Anthony Fauci. Many mistakes were made in the fight against HIV/AIDS, but instead of learning from them, we've made the same missteps all over again in the fight against SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19.


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© Rohin Francis