History Professor Describes His Experience With COVID-19, Teaching In Historic Times

Historians in the News
tags: medieval history, COVID-19

A local professor specializing in medieval history likely never thought he'd experience unprecedented times that somehow resemble living through a plague.

But here we are, where Dr. Craig Nakashian, associate professor of history and department chair at Texas A&M University-Texarkana, not only teaches Renaissance history but has also experienced the current pandemic personally, testing positive for COVID-19 about two-and-a-half weeks ago.

All things considered, Nakashian's case was relatively mild compared to others, but he has yet to regain his senses of taste and smell. He's worried about that but he has been cleared to be back in the classroom.

"It's something we talk about in history a lot, helping people to see the people of the past as fully human, three-dimensional figures rather than having that distance of seeing them as just historical caricatures," Nakashian said. "Living through a pandemic, I think it helps us understand our many forebears who lived through countless pandemics."

Though this global coronavirus pandemic has been awful, he said, it's had a much lower mortality rate than the plague of the 14th century, for example. But it's made a massive impact.

"It still has caused major social, political, and cultural upheaval, and people's lives have had to change quite significantly, quite quickly," Nakashian said, noting he talked about the Black Plague a couple of weeks ago in his Renaissance class.

"People sort of connected with it maybe a little bit more than they used to," Nakashian said. "It helps, if nothing else, to humanize the past."

Testing positive himself allowed for some gallows humor while teaching, he said, but his experience with COVID has not been debilitating.

When he tested positive, he noticed some fairly mild symptoms: low-grade fever, fatigue, headache, stuffiness. Cold symptoms persisted for about a week, and he felt terrible. He knows other people have experienced worse.

Read entire article at Texarkana Gazette

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