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The Long History Of How Pandemics Hit America's Most Vulnerable

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A mother and father stand with their three sons, daughter and cat in front of a rural house during the 1920 flu epidemic.
Collection of the Dublin Heritage Museum, Dublin Heritage Center, Dublin, CA 94568
Much like today's coronavirus, the influenza epidemic of 1918-1920 affected populations of color, native peoples and recent immigrants most profoundly.

Throughout America's history, the displaced and the disenfranchised have suffered the most from uncontrolled diseases.

Pandemics have been killing the country's most vulnerable populations since European explorers first set foot in North America. A historian explained the conditions that allow diseases to repeatedly decimate indigenous peoples and people of color.

Brian Ellison is a guest host of talk shows, newscasts, special coverage and community events for KCUR. Follow him on Twitter @ptsbrian.
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Danie Alexander is the senior producer of Up To Date.