Covid and Smallpox

The Covid-19 outbreak has been nature’s way of reminding us that we aren’t the ones in control. A microscopic entity has taken down humanity for the next while and will keep doing so if humanity doesn’t pull it’s head out of it’s collective butts.

People have been relatively spoiled the last hundred years ago. After the Spanish Flu in 1918 and 1919 caused the world to wake up as far as Pandemic responses are concerned. It illustrated that people were not doing the necessary things to control such outbreaks.

In the years that followed, Science developed a number of ways to defeat disease. Vaccines have been developed that eliminated Smallpox. Brought Measles, Mumps and other diseases under control and stopped the Polio and Tuberculosis epidemics. The results have been a slow decline in many diseases and has made outbreaks, which were once an accepted part of everyday living fewer and usually less deadly.

Then the inevitable happened. People got complacent. They began to question the need for inoculations and vaccinations. They’ve developed many conspiracy theories and have started to reject the proven benefits of Vaccines to insist that humanity go back to the “Natural Way” things were before.

Most of these people know little to nothing about history. They think that Biblical Times were just a few years from the Three Musketeers era. They have little knowledge of things like the Spanish Flu or the Black Plague. They haven’t had to go through the recurring Smallpox Epidemics, or the many Typhoid, Typhus and Diphtheria outbreaks that were a constant threat to humanity only a hundred years ago. They’ve completely forgotten the Tuberculosis and Polio epidemics that ran rampage throughout the world for centuries at a time. No one was safe and even an American President was crippled by Polio less than a century ago. Polio, which was also called Infantile Paralysis, because it harmed mostly children, was a great fear in most peoples minds.

Cotton Mather and and the Inoculation Controversy

There was a man in the late 1600s and early 1700s. His name was Cotton Mather and he faced a similar problem then. He was known to be a major scholar in his time. He graduated Harvard College at 15. he was a prolific writer and he left a major scientific legacy. He is primarily known for his writing of 450 books and pamphlets, and for his association with the Salem Witch Trails. He definitely caused some of the problems there with his treatises on Witches and Witchcraft and helped spread the hysteria. However, despite that, it was his advocacy of Smallpox Inoculation that has lived on into the modern era.

1: Smallpox was a serious threat in colonial America, most devastating to Native Americans, but also to Anglo-American settlers. New England suffered smallpox epidemics in 1677, 1689–90, and 1702. With a mortality rate of up to 30%, it was capable of depopulating a town and disrupting commerce on all levels.

He learned about Inoculation from his slave Onesimus who had been inoculated in Africa. The practice of smallpox inoculation (as opposed to the later practice of vaccination) was developed possibly in 8th-century India or 10th-century China. Spreading its reach in seventeenth-century Turkey, inoculation or, rather, variolation, involved infecting a person via a cut in the skin with exudate from a patient with a relatively mild case of smallpox (variola), to bring about a manageable and recoverable infection that would provide later immunity. By the beginning of the 18th century, the Royal Society in England was discussing the practice of inoculation, and the smallpox epidemic in 1713 spurred further interest. It was not until 1721, however, that England recorded its first case of inoculation. (from Wikipedia)

Cotton decided that this was the way to protect the people of his colony and worked hard to prove it, in spite of major opposition from both the Medical Establishment and the Puritan Establishment.

2: Public discourse ranged in tone from organized arguments by John Williams from Boston, who posted that “several arguments proving that inoculating the smallpox is not contained in the law of Physick, either natural or divine, and therefore unlawful,” to those put forth in a pamphlet by Dr. William Douglass of Boston, entitled The Abuses and Scandals of Some Late Pamphlets in Favour of Inoculation of the Small Pox (1721), on the qualifications of inoculation’s proponents. (Douglass was exceptional at the time for holding a medical degree from Europe.) At the extreme, in November 1721, someone hurled a lighted grenade into Mather’s home. (from Wikipedia)

Smallpox returned on April 22 1721. It was brought by a ship. By mid June it was spreading at an alarming rate.

3: As a new wave of smallpox hit the area and continued to spread, many residents fled to outlying rural settlements. The combination of exodus, quarantine, and outside traders’ fears disrupted business in the capital of the Bay Colony for weeks. Guards were stationed at the House of Representatives to keep Bostonians from entering without special permission. The death toll reached 101 in September, and the Selectmen, powerless to stop it, “severely limited the length of time funeral bells could toll.” As one response, legislators delegated a thousand pounds from the treasury to help the people who, under these conditions, could no longer support their families.

On June 6, 1721, Mather sent an abstract of reports on inoculation by Timorous and Jacobus Pylarinus to local physicians, urging them to consult about the matter. He received no response. Next, Mather pleaded his case to Dr. Zabdiel Boylston, who tried the procedure on his youngest son and two slaves—one grown and one a boy. All recovered in about a week. Boylston inoculated seven more people by mid-July. The epidemic peaked in October 1721, with 411 deaths; by February 26, 1722, Boston was again free from smallpox. The total number of cases since April 1721 came to 5,889, with 844 deaths—more than three-quarters of all the deaths in Boston during 1721. Meanwhile, Boylston had inoculated 287 people, with six resulting deaths.

Boylston and Mather’s inoculation crusade “raised a horrid Clamour” among the people of Boston. Both Boylston and Mather were “Object[s] of their Fury; their furious Obloquies and Invectives”, which Mather acknowledges in his diary. Boston’s Selectmen, consulting a doctor who claimed that the practice caused many deaths and only spread the infection, forbade Boylston from performing it again.

The aftermath
Although Mather and Boylston were able to demonstrate the efficacy of the practice, the debate over inoculation would continue even beyond the epidemic of 1721–22. After overcoming considerable difficulty and achieving notable success, Boylston traveled to London in 1725, where he published his results and was elected to the Royal Society in 1726, with Mather formally receiving the honor two years prior. (from Wikipedia)

Here we are 300 years later. The same types of people are still doing the same things. Dr. Fauci is stuck in a similar spot as Cotton Mather and the Williams of the world have manifested as Trump and his band of ignorant, hide-bound sycophants. Even when showed Science, they, like Ostriches, bury their heads. However it’s not in Sand but up their butts so far that they can look out of their own mouths.

Will this crises knock some sense into these people’s heads? I hope so.
Will their ignorance and inability to think for themselves suddenly dissipate? I sincerely doubt that.
Will they cause much more deaths and prolong the Pandemic? Unfortunately, getting a haircut and going to the beach outweigh any consideration for the rest of the population.

As sad as it is for me to say, some people need to lose a loved one before they take these things seriously. Unfortunately Donald Dimwit doesn’t have the capacity to truly love anyone but himself, so in order to lose a loved one, he would have to contract the disease and die from it himself. Many of his followers, while not being quite so self-centered and sociopathic, still are very limited in how much they care about others. Their immediate family, most of the time. Their Neighbours, when it isn’t inconvenient. Their Hometown, State or Nation, only when it suits them. The Bible Punchers are only interested in keeping or regaining the advantages they had in the past. Same with the White Supremacists and the Second Amendment Radicals.

In closing, The Covid-19 Pandemic has served to point out humanities basest natures. The many people who wouldn’t think twice about throwing you out of a lifeboat have shown their true colours and are shouting it loud and clear. It has illustrated weaknesses in the Healthcare Systems all around the world and the defects in “Leaders” in various Nations and States. While the virus and the deaths caused by it are horrendous, it also provides the opportunity to fix some of these defects. We don’t have time to sit on our hands and hope it goes away and never comes back. We must either Stand together or be hanged separately. We all know that Trumpers consider anyone else expendable. I ask the Question to everyone.

Published by Joseph Kavanagh

Hi. I am a retired 61 year old. I'm of Irish descent and of irreverent temperament. I find a lot of what has been happening on the last few years just bizarre. I really find it hard to trust anyone who takes themselves to seriously, especially those people that can't laugh at themselves.

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