Scilicet cito, longe, et tarde.
May 3, 2020 1:50 PM   Subscribe

Plague is a re-occuring historical event.
Public health officials might not have understand viruses, but they understood the importance of keeping a distance and disinfecting.
Hoping to halt the advance of bubonic plague, in 1377 the city of Ragusa issued a ‘trentino’, for anyone trying to enter the city.

The practice of isolating the sick stretches back to leprosy and hospitals called lazarettos, and later Plague hospitals were introduced.
Arguments about masks, to riots outside hospitals are some common threads with both Politicians and the populace frequently using plague as an excuse for persecuting minorities with waves of disease, and waves of hate occurring from the Plague of Athens to AIDS.
Yet to come is quite possibly Covid-19’s Third Shock Wave: The Global Food Crisis.
On top of a public health crisis and pandemic, the last thing the world needs is a food shortage.
posted by adamvasco (11 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
 
The city of Gallup, NM has had all roads in and out blocked to prevent the spread of COVID. This is sort of the Ragusa situation in reverse, really. Gallup is a resource center that rural folks from NW New Mexico and also Navajo reservation dwellers use regularly because there isn't much where else to go to get things. Keeping those people out (and denied needed resources, but that's another matter) for a weekend might be enough to get things settled down and keep the virus from spreading far and wide across the entire region.
posted by hippybear at 2:09 PM on May 3 [2 favorites]


Yet to come is quite possibly Covid-19’s Third Shock Wave: The Global Food Crisis.
On top of a public health crisis and pandemic, the last thing the world needs is a food shortage.


Dumped Milk, Smashed Eggs, Plowed Vegetables: Food Waste of the Pandemic
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 2:29 PM on May 3 [3 favorites]




A potato farm in Northern Maine is giving away potatoes; their usual buyer does not have a restaurant market for them. I have a small truck and will likely go pick up a load if it can be done without contact, for my local food pantry. I want to throttle the Capitalists who blather about the Invisible Hand that corrects market flaws. (well, I kind of want to throttle Capitalists anyway) It's so odd that food distribution is so rigid.

Toilet paper shortages made the news, and it's still difficult to find. News of food shortages may cause real problems of hoarding. I'm enjoying a bowl of chick pea soup, but a lot of people who panic-bought beans don't know how to cook them. It's easier than bread. In the US, probably most places, food shortages result in price increases, so the poor will, as usual, should the burden. Meanwhile, in Africa, locusts seem likely to create food shortages.

2020, give it a rest, willya?
posted by theora55 at 4:29 PM on May 3 [4 favorites]


In the 430-426 BC Plague of Athens, an estimated 75-100 thousand died in 4-5 years (25% of the population). Historian, general Thucydides gave a detailed account in his History of the Peloponnesian_War. Based on his reports of the symptoms and the science done since, the smallpox *virus* is suspected.

Wikipedia reports "a lack of adherence to laws and religious belief" and that "Thucydides states that people ceased fearing the law since they felt they were already living under a death sentence. Likewise, people started spending money indiscriminately."

In the 1500s and 1600s smallpox killed millions in the Americas. In 1700s Europe, smallpox killed 400 thousand *each year* (and *blinded* 1/3 of those infected). Notably, It was finally stopped in the 20th century by innoculation (aka variolation).
posted by Twang at 4:41 PM on May 3 [5 favorites]


I was thinking to ask about the food situation, because I can see it's still a thing in the UK and some parts of the US, and as far as I can see, it has a lot to do with the distribution networks. Here, less of the produce goes directly to restaurants and other big producers already, and anyway, the central markets are the same, so the dealers who previously mostly sold to professionals literally just have to cross the aisle to meet other traders.

This bit from the The Nation article stuck out at me:
The pandemic has posed a particularly harsh challenge for the oil-exporting countries of the Global South. Typically, these countries—including Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela—rely on oil-export revenues to help pay for imports and finance food subsidies for the poor. In recent years, oil prices have averaged around $55–60 per barrel—less than historic highs, but enough to keep most governments afloat. With the Covid-19 pandemic and resulting economic contraction, however, the worldwide demand for oil has plummeted and prices have fallen to less than half their January 2020 average. (A price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia, now temporarily halted, also contributed to the price decline.) This, in turn, has decimated the producing countries’ budgets and left them unable to finance essential food imports—with devastating consequences for their poorer citizens, who must now pay inflated prices for whatever food is available, or go hungrdy.
This is of course true, but I feel it is being presented as if these countries are innocent victims of the times rather than held hostage by authoritarian governments who fill their own pockets while buying off the poor with alms. I obviously don't want anyone to starve or die, but these regimes were never going to disappear quietly, and maybe this crisis can make it clear that a real government needs to provide safety and security to its citizens.
posted by mumimor at 3:15 AM on May 4 [3 favorites]


Looking at this picture from Wuhan is a harsh reminder that healthcare workers in the US are not adequately protected.
posted by theora55 at 5:36 AM on May 4 [1 favorite]


Historian Jérémie Ferrer-Bartomeu posted this on Twitter. It's a official form allowing 28-year old Alexandre Coulomb, of brown hair and "mediocre" height, to travel from Remoulins to Blauzac during the plague of 1720, which killed 100,000 people in Southern France. It uncannily similar to the exemption form that all people in France must currently fill (and show to authorities if asked to) when they leave their home.
posted by elgilito at 2:33 PM on May 4


I was thinking to ask about the food situation, because I can see it's still a thing in the UK and some parts of the US, and as far as I can see, it has a lot to do with the distribution networks.

Any future food shortages seem to be artificial, whether due to agricorps destroying harvests to prevent taking less profit, or immigration being curtailed to satisfy populist xenophobia during an election year.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 10:01 PM on May 4


Just to get out of first world privilege: COVID-19: Our hungriest, most vulnerable communities face “a crisis within a crisis
posted by adamvasco at 2:18 PM on May 5


Shit and fan are about to collide here big time:
Brazil president, economy minister warn of collapse, food shortages.
posted by adamvasco at 12:55 PM on May 7


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