We are going through a troubled time and it is important to apply what we have learned from History.
I have a number of items in my library about the History of Disease and there are definitely things that can be learned from them.
This is a comprehensive look at disease over time. There is a lot of information about historic pandemics in this book.
Epidemic! Smallpox in the New World by Stephanie True Peters is about smallpox in the New World during the Colonial period. It is interesting to read about how local populations with no immunity to the disease were wiped out. We have the same thing happening today with a new virus and a population without immunity.
There is of course hope when we read accounts of overcoming disease. The Speckled Monster: A Historical Tale of Battling Smallpox by Jennifer Lee Carrell is one account that gives us hope. It tells the story of different methods used to combat a terrible virus.
I have written several times about The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History by John M. Barry. This is definitely a book where we can learn from history about the importance of isolation, quarantine and social distancing. Looking back we can see many missteps that helped spread this virus. The book is also a brief history of epidemiology and how we were much more prepared today for a pandemic.
At the end of this post I will add links to some of my previous posts.
There was also a great article in the October 2005 National Geographic. Tracking the Next Killer Flu is by Tim Apenzeller and is very intriguing. Of course, COVID 19 is a corona virus and not the flu, but the information is still applicable as it is about viruses regardless of the type.
Some interesting statements from the article are:
- Sooner or later a deadly virus that can jump from birds to people will sweep the globe
- No one wants to sit and wait for the virus to make its move
- In a few weeks a new pandemic would hit major cities
Does this help you understand why precautions against COVID 19 are so important. There is so much unknown with this virus and with no immunity it is very dangerous.
 Come, my people, enter your chambers,
and shut your doors behind you;
hide yourselves for a little while
until the fury has passed by. (ESV)
Further Reading on Braman’s Wanderings: