"Those who can't remember the past are doomed to repeat it" This famous quote by writer and philosopher George Santayana are harrowing words that apply today. Archeological finds on Islands near Venice are indicating how the city dealt with the Black Plague that swept through Europe 700 years ago. These finds show the extreme measures that were ordered to try and get the pandemic under control.
In the mid 1400's Venice was hit by the bubonic plague, (aka The Black Death) that was responsible for approximately 25 million dead throughout Europe. The islands with the archeological finds are called Lazzaretto Vecchio and Lazzaretto Nuovo. One island was used to house those with the plague and the other island housed a hospital to treat them. This effort was made to separate or "quarantine" the infected from the rest of the population. One island (Nuovo) was also used to quarantine sailors and merchants for 40 days before they could go on the mainland. This is how the word quarantine came into existence for the Italian words "quaranta giorini for 40 days. Doctors and nurses in the hospital wore beak-like masks to protect themselves from the disease.
Unfortunately, City officials were not able to convince the public that strict distancing measures needed to be followed for an extended period of time and the Black Death spread through Europe, creating numerous waves of the disease over the next centuries! At that time, the knowledge of how disease spread did not exist so they focused on isolation of those with symptoms.
Had they continued with stringent physical distancing and isolation of those who showed symptoms, the Black Death may not have been so deadly in Europe. This is why it is essential for our government leaders to listen to our medical scientists for recommendations on extending physical distancing restrictions until it is safe enough to ease restrictions. "Those leaders who can't remember the past, are doomed to repeat it".
Maddalena Environmental Inc.
Fact described above are based on the Discovery article below: