A look at history is crucial to understanding much of the behaviour in the current Covid 19 epidemic.

Faced with contagious and lethal diseases, societies reacted in the past by trying to contain the spread of epidemics with quarantines and by applying protective instruments to their faces. In the past, it was believed that contagion was transmitted through miasmas, and doctors would approach plague victims with a mask fitted with a long beak, which contained essences that were supposed to protect them from the miasmas. Today, masks are applied and, in their absence, scarves, which are supposed to prevent viruses from reaching our respiratory organs. Now the responsibility for the contagion is blamed on the secret services of states, multinational corporations and groups of capitalists who allegedly acted motivated by political and/or economic interests. In the past, Jews and anointers were blamed for spreading the contagion out of sheer perfidy.

One thing that emerges from this epidemic, however, is the need to change our lifestyles, to limit our excessive mobility, to tackle the demographic problem, and to abandon hyperliberal policies with their associated irresponsible exploitation of natural resources and the environment.

[online 17/04/20]