Recommended perspectives from beyond our academic community
Old treatments for a novel coronavirus
Commentary by Renée Loth, The Boston Globe
"Of course we want every discovery modern medicine can provide. But to survive this period with our sanity intact, we also need to access timeless aspects of our lives."
EXCERPT | MARCH 28, 2020
For all our advanced technology and medical innovation, the most effective response so far to the COVID-19 epidemic is a tool more than 1,000 years old: quarantine. The word comes from the Italian for 40 ― the number of days ships arriving in 14th-century Venice needed to wait offshore to be considered clear of the plague, but there are earlier references among the ancient Greeks and in the Bible. It’s sobering to realize how much we still rely on this simple, even primitive public health measure to keep us safe.
Of course we want every treatment and discovery modern medicine can provide. But to survive this surreal period with our sanity intact, we also need to access those timeless aspects of our lives that are not dependent on technology, jet-age conveniences, or a roaring stock market. These are the integral qualities that we can take with us anywhere, including inside the house: our compassion, our creativity, our five senses, our sense of humor. Connecting to these time-tested practices is beneficial always, but it is critical now.