Covid-19 vs. The Black Plague

Do you believe Covid-19 today is worse than the Black Plague in the mid-1600s in Europe?

Both are pandemics. That is epidemics that travel internationally and are larger and more widespread.

The plague is an acute, severe infectious disease caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis. The bacterium is found in fleas and wild rodents such as rats and squirrels. It may also be from exposure to the body fluids from dead, plague-infected animals. The bacteria enter through the skin via a flea bite and travels by way of lymphatic vessels to a lymph node, causing it to swell. Seven days after exposure to the bacteria, flu-like symptoms develop— fever, headaches, and vomiting. Swollen and painful lymph nodes occur in the area closest to where the bacteria entered the skin. Mortality reportedly is 10% for treatment with antibiotics and 30-90% if untreated. Covid-19, our current pandemic is caused by a virus. It is highly contagious and most likely spread from person to person and from contact with surfaces where Covid-19 droplets have fallen. The theory is the virus rides in on bats.

The most common symptoms include: Fever, fatigue, dry cough and less commonly, aches and pains, sore throat, Diarrhea, pink eye, headache, loss of taste or smell, rash, or discoloration of fingers or toes. The most serious symptoms: difficulty breathing or shortness of breath chest pain or pressure; loss of speech or movement.

It is true the plague almost depopulated Europe in but today the death rate is 10 percent with treatment but 90 percent without. Could Covid depopulate the world? The Covid-19 death rate is not certain but is thought to be less than 2 percent.

Covid-19 has a 14 day prodromal after exposure.

International data from South Korea, Spain, China, and Italy suggest that the COVID-19 case-fatality rate for people older than 70 is more than 100 times greater than for those younger than 40. During the plague people were told not to touch someone with the illness and to remain in their homes.

Journal Of The Plague Year Is A Book By Daniel Defoe, Prolific Writer, Politician And Spy. The Book was first published In March 1722. The Plague and Covid-19 both affect daily living and commerce. Defoe described how the plague disturbed commerce. People were required to stay in their homes. This is also true during this Covid-19 pandemic. In both frightening diseases many citizens fled and great unemployment occurred.

Ad Defoe pointed out, all kinds of handicrafts workers, tradesmen and mechanics became unemployed. Their bosses, as during today’s calamity, tried to keep the workers working and hoped employees who had fled the city would come back. And many did as soon as the reports of a down turn in the illness was reported. In both pandemics, early return or losening of in-home restrictions caused the returnees to fall victim to a resurgence of the disease. The same early return of people to Covid-19 areas laced with the virus are now getting sick .

In Both maladies, people were to get back to work and socialize freely. Defoe’s book contains an anecdote about a barber who fled the plague in the city with his wife, 5 children, two apprentices and a maid-servant.  After a week in the countryside, he received news the plague had declined so the man was anxious to get home and open his shop. The return was not as planned. He and, his whole contingent died of the plague. Only the maid survived.

Today, people have to wear a mask when near others. In the Black Plague pandemic, citizens who were exposed to victims of the disease had to wear a mark on their clothes or carry a white stick that identified them a potential carrier of the illness.

Alarmed at the spread of the Plague, Queen Elizabth I called together a privy council. The word privy means private or secret (think Trump and his advisory committee). She instructed them to do something about the spread of the disease. In addtion to telling citizens they should not be in contact with someone ill, they should stay clean and get some sun. The new orders emphasized halting the disease instead of the previous belief it was caused by bad air. If someone dies of the disease or is sick with it, adjoining houses had to be shut up as well as the victim’s house. Isolation was a key in the plague. If someone died of the plague, no one was allowed to be in or out of the structure. The victim’s clothes were to be burned. The privy council also suggested a tax be put on the rich to pay for the care of poor plague victims.

Juniper, frankincense and bay leaves were burned in a chafing dish so plague victims could inhale smoke from the herbs.

Another thing to fight the plague, people were supposed to make a toast of bread, sprinkle wine on it made with rose leaves, spread a little butter and sprinkle a little powder of cinnamon and eat in the morning. Butter is not only a preservative against the plague, but against all poisons, they declared.

There are all sorts of remedies suggested for Covid-19 and there are vaccines in the offing, Meantime, most governments worldwide are suggesting isolation: a mask outside the household and staying in the house when possible.

Incidentally, my home insurance policy now states a new clause: This policy excludes any loss, damage or cost, claim or expense of whatsoever nature directly or indirectly caused by any pathogenetic or poisonous biological chemical material regardless of any other cause or event that contributes concurrently any in any sequence thereof.

Would you sign that?

Further sources:

https://www.amazon.com/Journal-Plague-Year-Penguin-Classics/dp/0140437851

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/health-and-human-body/human-diseases/the-plague/#close

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