Historians analyze previous pandemics and pull sobering balance

Historians analyze previous pandemics and pull sobering balance

Plague and Cholera, Syphilis, Aids, leprosy, and typhoid: diseases a constant companion of mankind. Two düsseldorf-based medical historian, Heiner Fangerau and Alfons Labisch, have investigated the question of how to us earlier epidemics in the Corona of a pandemic can help. “Influenza and Corona” is the name of your book, the 2. June appears. As an eBook it is for 30. April available.

Plague and Cholera killed much of million there, and at the end of the 1950s, the 30,000 flu deaths in Germany were accepted according to the authors, just like that. “It has not made much of a fuss and more of the fact scandalised that workers were on sick leave and, thus, economic performance at risk.” 2020 is, however, not only Germany, almost to a complete standstill.


The plague changed once the history – Corona could also

What has changed in the meantime? We have a setting other diseases, believe Fangerau and Labisch: “Today, the company is determined to premature death not more, and to save as many people as possible.” It was the consensus that “every life is to be saved, whether young or old, healthy or sick – no matter what the cost.”

“None of the Corona-measures is unexpected or new”

At the latest since the onset of industrialization, the policy has tried to influence epidemics. Generally speaking, you can “vertical” and “horizontal” intervention, the authors: Once you fight the pathogen in the patient, once its spread in the population. “Nothing of what we are experiencing in the Corona-pandemic measures of public health, is so unexpected or new.” Contact constraints were already tested in the case of the Spanish flu in the United States – and as a helpful recognized.

Even psychological reactions are similar: “In the case of virtually any pandemic before it, there were phenomena of exclusion, stigma and the suspicion and denunciation”, from the authors. The sick were isolated in order to protect the population. After all, the methods of today are less violent than in the middle ages, where the victims in plague stations were left to their fate.

Consequences of the pandemic

Like Corona, our world, the expected, the disease expert, will change –

The (About)living conditions of the pathogens and the living conditions of the people depend on each other. Poor Hygiene, unsafe drinking water, or a war-weakened population was the breeding ground of previous pandemics. Global trade, global travel and mass gatherings have facilitated the spread of the novel Coronavirus. “Epidemics and their dissemination are integrated in a social and cultural environment, and only in this broad perspective, understood.”

Airports play a key role

What are the conclusions drawn by the historian from previous epidemics, to deal with the current and future epidemics? In a kind of conclusion at the end of the book, please call: Early intervention to a new pathogen at the place of their origin, to limit the world health organization had to be strengthened. The airports play a key role, in order to prevent the spread, there is an effective mitigation strategy needs to be developed. The regional approach proved to be more than a Central handle. And Prevention costs less than Finance afterwards the damage.

Unfortunately, the bitter truth, we are not particularly capable of learning. “It is more than surprising that after every pandemic in the various bodies, in-depth analyses and forward-reaching scenarios are designed and then nothing happens until little to prevent the next pandemic in advance, or to stop,” write the authors.

Of course, come around Fangerau and Labisch not a question of whether, in view of the historical pandemics of our response to Covid-19 is exaggerated. It is, therefore, a “scandal initialized disease”? “Yes and no” is the answer. In comparison to “real killers” may be the number of victims is still low. The initiated measures are still useful as a “prophylactic action against a potentially real Killer”.

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