Pathogens still have the power to change the course of history. We may say we’re fighting a war against the coronavirus, but it might be more accurate to say the coronavirus is waging a war against us.
Microbes are changing our lives, our economy, our culture. You should know – though it will provide no consolation – that it has ever been thus.
Perhaps you assumed that the ability of pestilence to transform the course of history was… well, history, in the sense that modern science, modern public health systems, and such modern bureaucracies as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, and the World Health Organization would show those nasty little germs who’s boss.
The Ebola outbreak of 2014-16, the most severe in recorded history, only confirmed such overconfidence. In the end, there were just two deaths from the disease on American soil, and both victims had been in West Africa where the virus originated…
We say we’re fighting a war against the coronavirus, but it might be more accurate to say the coronavirus is waging a war against us. Why does it hate us?
In 1935, Hans Zinsser offered an answer: “There is probably as little conscious cruelty in the lion that devours a missionary as there is in the kind-hearted old gentleman who dines upon a chicken pie, or in the staphylococcus that is raising a boil on the old gentleman’s neck.”Clifford D. May. Israel Hayom (2020): https://www.israelhayom.com/opinions/a-world-gone-viral/