Friday, July 17, 2020

Your Ancestors Knew Death in Ways You Never Will

By Donald G. McNeil Jr.
A depiction of the 17th-century painter Nicolas Poussin of a plaque described in the Book of Samuel. G. Dagli Orti/De Agostini, via Getty Images
Nearly 140,000 Americans have been lost to coronavirus, and many experts fear the deaths will only accelerate in the fall as cold weather forces us indoors. By year’s end, half as many Americans may have died as did in the four years of World War II. In the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918, many New Yorkers donned masks but 4,000 San Franciscans formed an Anti-Mask League. (The city’s mayor, James Rolph, was fined $50 for flouting his own health department’s mask order.) Slowly, science prevailed, and death rates went down. We need not accept death as our overlord — we can simply hang on and outlast him. [More]