5 Hard-Earned Lessons from Pandemics of the Past

Humanity is resilient. As global pandemics like the bubonic plague and the 1918 pandemic wreaked havoc on populations through the centuries, societies have perfected critical survival strategies. Here are five ways people have adjusted to life amid epidemics.

1. Quarantine

The first quarantine was enacted in the port city of Ragusa (now Dubrovnik) on July 27, 1377, during the bubonic plague, or black plague. It stated: “Those who come from regions infested with plague should not enter [Ragusa] or their neighborhood unless they spend a month on the islet of Mrkan or in the town of Cavtat, for disinfection purposes. Doctors of the time observed that the spread of the Black Death could be slowed by isolating individuals.

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