Researching COVID-19 and Past Pandemics

  • June 29, 2021

Mask-wearing during the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918, via HeinOnline

While COVID-19 is a new disease, you can find connections between it and previous pandemics throughout history. Whether you're researching the current crisis or looking for historical comparisons, these collections from our library databases can help.  (PurplePass login required if off-campus)

COVID-19: Pandemics Past and Present (via HeinOnline)

Publications on the various ways COVID-19 has impacted every aspect of life, from testing issues, to stimulus payments, to the quest for a vaccine. Content is organized into these areas:

  • Economic Impact
  • Global Impact
  • Health Care Impact
  • Societal Impact

This collection also features a sub-collection dedicated to Past Pandemics, showing how the federal government has responded to medical disasters of the past and how these previous pandemics inform today’s response.

COVID-19 Pandemic in the United States (topic page from Gale Opposing Viewpoints)

Our Opposing Viewpoints database explores current issues and controversies in a pro/con format supplemented by a variety of materials. The COVID-19 topic page includes viewpoint essays, newspaper articles, and scholarly journal articles.

Coronavirus Research Database (via ProQuest)

A collection of journal articles, preprints, conference proceedings, dissertations and more related to COVID-19 and other coronaviruses. It includes coverage of past pandemics and epidemics, like MERS and SARS, to give context around the current global crisis.

Quarantine and Disease Control in America (via Accessible Archives)

Part 1: Newspapers (1736-1922)

Administrative and community responses to diseases as found in the press from colonial America through World War I. Learn about outbreaks of smallpox, yellow fever, typhoid fever and more. This information lets you compare past outbreaks, civilian and governmental reactions, and disease control practices to what is happening today.

Part 2: Books (1823-1928)

Books and county histories published in the 19th century through World War I, showing the details of early quarantine and sanitation practices in cities and towns across the country. Additional Civil war materials show how diseases such as pneumonia, dysentery, and cholera, killed more soldiers than combat did.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) disease pandemic- Statistics & Facts (topic page from Statista)

This topic page includes not only data on cases and vaccinations, but also public opinion related to the pandemic. Additional topic pages cover Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the U.S., COVID-19 and Mental Health, COVID-19 Impact on Global Tech Goods and Services, and COVID-19 Impact on the U.S. Retail Landscape.