Plague! Before the onset of the Covid-19 crisis in March 2020, I thought that plague was something that happened long ago or in books – think Black Death, Spanish Flu, Defoe, Poe, Camus, Mάrquez. Surely modern sanitation, knowledge of hygiene, public health laws and medicine had rendered plague obsolete in Europe? The shock that I felt is still reverberating and sure as eggs are eggs, I am not the only one. We don’t know much about Covid-19 but some things are clear – it’s infectious, there is no known cure and it can kill. Plague, now known as ‘pandemic,’ is back.
Infectious disease has afflicted Europeans since their arrival from Africa two million years ago but early sparse populations prevented extensive plague. Lethal epidemic diseases, says the University of California, emerged 11,000 years ago, after the introduction of agriculture and subsequent development of permanent settlements in Mesopotamia and other hubs. Enter malaria, tuberculosis, leprosy, influenza, smallpox. The growth of our proximity…(Read more: Estonian Life No. 34 2020)
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