It’s amazing, really, how quickly we learned to take our health for granted in the years since antibiotics and modern vaccines.
Not so long ago, during my mother’s childhood, polio scares kept people locked up inside their own homes and away from movie theaters and swimming pools. Today, it’s not all uncommon (and rarely remarked upon) for people to “heroically” drag themselves to work and church despite hacking coughs and fevers. Daycares and schools have to establish policies (which parents regularly flout) about not sending sick children to school.
As I was sitting in a a crowded church yesterday, in front of a congregant with a croupy cough, I was thinking of this.
The pandemic will be abetted by our own casual attitudes. Step One of CDC’s plan for a pandemic: Asking ill persons to stay home until they are no longer contagious. People will have to be told to stay home when they are ill.