Sunday April 5th, 2020 Water Blog

In Frank Snowden’s Epidemics and Society: From the Black Death to the Present, published in November 2019: Snowden deals with how mass infectious outbreaks have changed our society. He looks at looking at their impact on medical science and public health, and many other aspects of society. Snowden looks at diseases like smallpox, cholera, and tuberculosis, and impacts from recent epidemics such as HIV/AIDS, SARS, and Ebola.

We are now in a type of quarantine, in order to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus and to protect the more vulnerable in our society.  The word “quarantine” comes from the Italian quaranta, meaning “forty”. Snowden tells us that the practice of quarantine originated long before people understood what exactly they were trying to contain, and the period of forty days was chosen not for scriptural reasons rather than medical ones. Both the Old and New  Testament make references to the number 40 in the context of purification – forty days and forty nights of the flood in Genesis …..40 days of lent…

We don’t know how long our quarantine will be – but we are doing it for social and medical reasons and not any type of penance or purification.

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