#Epidemics, #Pollution and #Milkmaids

In 1798 Edward Jenner wrote a paper on his invention of the vaccine; a method to induce the formation of antibodies to a disease before it spreads through society. The term vaccine come from the Latin name for cowpox, Variolae vaccinae. He had noted that milkmaids, unlike everyone else, had clear skin. They were being exposed to cowpox through their hands in small doses and had built up immunity. People in England died from smallpox at about the rate of 10%.

People living in urban areas have always been subject to plagues of one kind or another. Crowded cities with poor sanitation and rodents are ripe for the spread of disease. The food source for cities is provided by the advent of agrarian society. Cattle, chickens, pigs and other animals all raised in confined, unnatural space with poor sanitation and rodents are ripe for the spread of disease. These populations are called “disease reservoirs,” kind of nasty.

Societies have adapted to this threat. Public works supply clean water and drain sewage. Workers and supply chains provide food from rural farms and remove waste. Medical advances have virtually deleted some diseases.

Now we have a new set of disease, collectively called coronavirus. They affect the respiratory system, hence SARS; severe acute respiratory syndrome. Air pollution exacerbates this problem, and it’s time to do something about it. In this Huffington Post article “Why The Solutions To Coronavirus And Climate Change Are The Same,” Amanda Schupak points out the conflict of interest illuminated by the current crisis between pollution and outbreak.

The EPA is being wrongfully de-fanged by COVID-19 bailout special interest clauses (and the white house appointment of Andrew Wheeler -article by USA today). The Donald was assaulting California’s automotive clean air restrictions before the pandemic started (from The Guardian). That’s doesn’t fit with the right’s view of “State’s authority vs Central Government’s authority” does it? California’s emission standards have vastly improved the air quality over several decades. This Insider photo display shows the changes in Los Angeles smog levels since the 1950’s. The current crisis demonstrates the necessity for clean air regulations and the danger of short-sighted, special interests lobbying against them. Even more dangerous; the politicians who bow to said lobbyists. We need to keep adapting.