/ 2022.07.04

Moral panics during epidemics

Infectious diseases have often caused ‘panics,’ ‘moral panics,’ and/or general public anxieties, particularly when they are newly emergent. These are sometimes interrelated phenomena, that may also intersect with stigma and discrimination against specific groups of people. We are now all familiar with the panic that has ebbed and flowed as COVID-19 first emerged with little known about it or how it was transmitted. In this Epicast, we will look specifically at social science approaches to understanding moral panics and how they can emerge during epidemics using examples from HIV/AIDS in Ghana and COVID-19 in Canada.

Please see more here, for a link to referenced work by LGBTQI+ Ghanaians and allies: linktr.ee/killthehatebill

Music Credits to Joseph McDade https://josephmcdade.com/music  – track names “Sunrise Expedition” and “Quiet Calculation”

EPICAST is available on Spotify, Apple Podcast, and Google Podcast.



Dr Megan Schmidt-Sane

Dr Megan Schmidt-Sane is a medical anthropologist and Research Fellow in the Health & Nutrition cluster at the Institute of Development Studies. Her work is currently on the Social Science in Humanitarian Action Platform (SSHAP), which brings together social scientists, public health and humanitarian practitioners to address the social dimensions of epidemic and humanitarian crises. Her research focuses on the social science of epidemics in both informal settlements and border areas.


Dr Akua Gyamerah

Dr Akua Gyamerah (DrPH, MPH) is a sociomedical scientist with training in HIV prevention and care and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Community Health and Health Behavior at the University at Buffalo. Her research broadly aims to understand the multilevel and intersectional determinants of HIV and mental health disparities among racial, sexual, and gender minorities, including how historical and socio-structural factors such as racism, intersectional stigma, violence, and criminalization shape disease outcomes among these populations.


Dr Gabriela Capurro

Dr Gabriela Capurro is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Community Health Sciences, University of Manitoba, Canada. Her research focuses on health and risk communication, lived experiences of risk, and mediated discourses of health and illness. She has published studies on media discourses of vaccination and vaccine-hesitancy, risk communication during health crises, and on public perceptions of risk and infection prevention behaviour. Dr Capurro is also an instructor in the School of Journalism and Communication at Carleton University in Ottawa.


Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

A note on language
Select language