An Epidemic of Rumors: How Stories Shape Our Perceptions of Disease
Project Description

Jon Lee published An Epidemic of Rumors: How Stories Shape Our Perceptions of Disease in 2014; the book is primarily an investigation into the 2002–2003 SARS pandemic, but also touches on other epidemics and pandemics such as AIDS, Swine Flu, and MERS. However, the book's central hypothesis – that there exists a stable and predictable set of narratives that circulate in response to epidemics, and that a codification of these narratives can help healthcare workers, policymakers, and communities respond to the inevitable outbreaks of racism and xenophobia – have been proven highly accurate during the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, Lee and the University Press of Colorado have redoubled efforts to promote An Epidemic of Rumors, including giving multiple interviews with various news sources.

Translational Perspective

The project attempts to help multiple groups (healthcare workers, policymakers, and communities) understand the cyclical nature of disease narratives in order to help stymie dangerous outbreaks of racism and xenophobia, in addition to the potentially harmful "cures" that circulate during outbreaks.

Contact Infomation: First name
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Contact Information: Institutional affiliation
Suffolk University
Contact Information: Email address
jdlee [at]

Boston, Massachusetts, USA