Gaining an edge on life and nature
|Gioanni Boccaccio, one of the greatest 14th-century story tellers, literary figures and I might add, historical figures, takes us by the hand and walks us through the Black Plague, which took his friends, family and practically everyone he know in his time period. We see clearly, feel with anguishing, great pain and empathy the epidemic and pandemic ravages of his world at his time in history. You can not read it and not be changed.
The Decameron is a collection of novellas of the 14th-century completed in 1353. It is 10 days of pure hell and horror. Civilization as we know it was dismantled at every level as the plague killed virtually everyone in its path. The poor people suffered equally with the wealthy. Death is the great leveler of life. Everyone is equal. The plague does not discriminate.
All measures, desperate and otherwise were employed to fight the disease. Everything from self flagellation, (sponsored by local religions) to magic potions and medicines were tried and failed. The Black Plague took doctors, nurses, undertakers, kings and scientists who could not figure it out. It killed everyone with equal efficiency.
Governments broke down. Religions collapsed under the weight of the disease. Families fell apart and humanity changed into something primal, ugly and the world became not very nice. Panic and fear turned into abject despair.
I am reminded of the Spanish flu which took hold of the United States and the rest of the world. 500 million people were infected.
The Spanish Influenza of 1918 was the greatest, most lethal pandemic the world has ever known. In its 10-month duration between 22 and 40 million people perished worldwide. Estimates place the death toll in the United States at over 675,000 with over 22 million becoming ill.
Believe it or not it occurred not too many years ago. No one talks about it today because it was a very unpleasant experience for all concerned.
I remember seeing pictures of nurses in Philadelphia and Chicago wearing surgical mask during the Spanish Flu outbreak. They too all died. Think about it. The mask will only cover the nose and mouth. What about the eyes? The eyes are a fluid vulnerable opening for pathogens to enter. You would have needed a hazmat suit and a purified air supply system in place for an extended period of time and for any chance to survive.
The average cheap hazmat suit today cost between $300.00 to $2,000.00. Not everyone has that kind of money.
People are walking around here in Florida wearing a surgical mask because of the Corona virus concern. The mask is good for some bacterial protection and I would use it in wood and metal shop as protection against small material shavings. Most bacteria are usually larger than a virus but there is still little or no efficacy in the real world or protection against lethal pathogens with these face garnishments. Also: Drinking Corona Beer will not give you the Corona virus. (Corona Beer is a popular beverage here in Florida.)
A special, (and I might add expensive) micro-filtered mask is worth some consideration. Again, not everyone is rich.
N95 Bird Flu - These masks fit over the ears and cover the nose and mouth. Before donning the mask, you create a pocket, don the mask, and then adjust.
The N95 Alpha Mask does not have an exhalation valve. It is light-weight and disposable. This mask has been used also known as the “Bird Flu” mask the “Swine Flu” mask the “H1N1” mask and the “SARS” mask.
As you can tell from its many names, this mask has been used for protection from a variety of masks. NIOSH does not provide a product life guideline. The N95 Alpha Bird Flu Mask may be worn until damaged by liquid or soil.
3M N100 Mask - The 3M N100 mask contains an exhale valve which reduces the amount of moisture that can collect under the mask. This makes is well suited for working in hot or humid environments. Like the N95 and Vogmask, NIOSH does not provide product lifetime guidelines for these masks but suggests that they are discarded when they have reached the capacity of 200 mg.
The best protection from airborne illnesses such as those caused by bacteria, influenza virus and other viruses is to avoid contact. The disease is also spread by contact with contaminated objects or body fluids. No mask will protect you from these contaminants.
I hope all of you are reading that last sentence with clear comprehension so I highlighted it for your attention and absorption. What that last comment means to me is that a mask will not save your life.
Science has predicted another worldwide plague in the near future. We like to call it influenza because it sounds sweeter, kinder, gentler. You could also call it population control. With all of our science and technology we still can not stop or control the inevitable forces of nature. Not yet anyway.