How epidemics have changed the world
Airlines are cutting flights amid growing fears over contagion and travel bans. The cruise industry is in crisis. Stock market jitters show few signs of abating, while governments plot emergency stimulus funding to reckon with the mounting economic pain born of snarled supply chains and lost business. Major sporting events have been called off or will be held behind closed doors. Worshipers hoping to pray for better times have been barred from some of the world’s holiest sites.
There’s nothing new about this scale of disruption. “There’s not a major area of human life that epidemic diseases haven’t touched profoundly,” Frank Snowden, a professor emeritus of the history of medicine at Yale University, said in an interview with the New Yorker. Epidemics, he said, “have tremendous effects on social and political stability. They’ve determined the outcomes of wars, and they also are likely to be part of the start of wars sometimes.”
It’s a macabre way of recasting how you think about human history: not as a succession of ages and epochs, but of apocalyptic …continued .
[Source: Washington Post]