Social distancing

A little history for your day. Up until about 70 years ago, quarantine and social distancing during the outbreak of illness was a well used precaution. The tactic is not new; the only bit that is unprecedented in our current experience is the length of time needed to quarantine and the number of people affected this year (which is partly due to the fact that the global population is at an all time high). I have been reading some letters from the late 16th century that describe one of many times when Oxford colleges were disbanded for weeks or months due to an outbreak of illness (in this case it was typhus). Travel ceased. Students and professors moved to the country. The reason this feels so novel is because vaccines, anti-biotic, and other medical treatments have largely saved us from having to exercise universal precautions. This year feels weird, but in the span of history, it is more “normal” than what we are used to.

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