Politics and Pathogens: America’s Inability to Escape the Politicization of Infectious Disease

dc.contributorCavanagh, Shannon
dc.creatorHawkins, Madeline
dc.date.accessioned2024-02-22T17:03:51Z
dc.date.available2024-02-22T17:03:51Z
dc.date.issued2021-05
dc.description.abstractIn the face of an emerging global pandemic, it’s no secret that the United States failed miserably in its initial response. The country met the encroaching disease with ignorance, allowing transmission to multiply and victims to suffer. And a response like that one is nothing new. In fact, the U.S. has a long-standing history of politicizing infectious disease. In this thesis, I will argue that such politicization is an innate, subconscious feature that the country possesses, regardless of the leader in power. To do so, I will first present the United States’ health care system in comparison with those of its peer nations, as the U.S. is the only one without universal coverage. Second, I will introduce the reasons behind the lack of universal care, including America’s core philosophies, overestimation of upward economic mobility, and rigid structure. Third, I will illustrate a manifestation of this argument, outlining the initial outbreaks of HIV/AIDS in the United States and the United Kingdom. Both leaders, President Ronald Reagan and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, had very similar ideologies, yet their responses to the epidemics were vastly different. Because of this, I argue that the differences in their respective health systems are to blame. Lastly, I will compare the HIV/AIDS outbreak with the situation in the U.S. today, given changes such as the Affordable Care Act and the outbreak of COVID-19. The United States still suffers from its government’s politicization of infectious disease, and it’s highly worrisome in the face of the next inevitable disease outbreak.
dc.description.departmentSociology
dc.identifier.urihttps://hdl.handle.net/2152/123756
dc.identifier.urihttps://doi.org/10.26153/tsw/50550
dc.language.isoeng
dc.relation.ispartofPlan II Honors Theses - Openly Available
dc.rights.restrictionopen
dc.subjectdisease
dc.subjectHIV
dc.subjectAIDS
dc.subjectpoliticization
dc.subjectAmerica
dc.titlePolitics and Pathogens: America’s Inability to Escape the Politicization of Infectious Disease
dc.typethesis

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