46 Million People On Lockdown As China Scrambles to Contain the Wuhan Coronavirus
(Minghui.org) On January 28, 2020, Business Insider published an article titled, “China put 46 million people on lockdown to contain the Wuhan coronavirus. But quarantines throughout history have been riddled with mishaps.”
The Chinese government has issued the largest quarantine in human history — put 16 cities on lockdown. The Business Insider article asked, “will it work?” The article went over some major quarantines that had happened throughout history.
First Formal Quarantine Established in Venice
The Business Insider article pointed out that even though the practice of separating the infected from the healthy people was not new, a formal official quarantine system wasn't established until 1348 when Venice ordered ships, cargo and people to stay outside of the city for 40 days before being allowed inside. The efforts were to prevent the bubonic plague, or “Black Death,” from spreading through its ports.
The Business Insider article wrote that, “This isolation period became known as quarantinario, taken from the Italian word for 40.” The article continued to say that 15 million people still lost their lives to the plague, despite the efforts to stop the epidemic from spreading.
The 1793 Yellow Fever in Philadelphia
The Business Insider article wrote that 5,000 people were killed by an outbreak of yellow fever in Philadelphia in 1793.
The article stated that the first quarantine hospital, named “Lazaretto,” was established during the plague but that it did not stop the spreading of the epidemic through mosquitoes.
New York City Hit with Cholera Epidemic In 1832
According to the Business Insider article, NYC Mayor Walter Bowne issued a strict quarantine in June 1832 to protect the city as soon as he learned of a cholera outbreak in Canada. The quarantine didn't help much though, as the first case of Cholera was soon confirmed in the city, with more than 3,500 people eventually dead of the virus. More over, 70,000 people sought shelter elsewhere, further spreading the diseases to other cities.
Typhus Outbreak in New York City in 1892
Sixty years after the Cholera outbreak, New York City was hit with another plague, this time typhus. The Business Insider article wrote that “in 1892, a typhus fever epidemic broke out among Russian-Jewish immigrants on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.”
The article noted that hundreds of immigrants were taken into custody and quarantined but that non-immigrant New Yorkers were not treated with harsh isolation even if they got sick or were suspected of having the disease.
San Francisco Plague in 1900
A bubonic plague broke out in San Francisco's Chinatown in 1900. The Business Insider article wrote that “authorities in San Francisco targeted Chinese immigrants for quarantine after a man was found dead in the basement of a hotel.”
Non-immigrants though were allowed to evacuate the city. The article noted that some Chinese laborers lost their jobs even though the quarantine was lifted after a few days.
Typhoid Mary, An Asymptomatic Carrier, Quarantined
Mary Mallon, known as “Typhoid Mary,” was immune to typhoid fever, but she spread the virus to many people while working as a cook in the New York City area.
The Business Insider article wrote that Mary was quarantined on Brother Island from 1914 until her death in 1938.
The 1918 Flu Pandemic
The Business Insider article wrote that 50 million people, including about 675,000 Americans died of the flu pandemic that spread worldwide during 1918-1919. Quarantine efforts were in place at the peak of the crisis, with the infected isolated, public transportation halted, and schools closed.
Public Health Service Act Enacted in 1944
The Business Insider article wrote that the Centers for Disease Control “was given the right to prevent the 'introduction, transmission, and spread of communicable diseases from foreign countries into the United States.'” and that the CDC “still operates under this law to this day.”
HIV Epidemic in Cuba in 1986
The Business Insider article noted that Cuba declared HIV/AIDS a public health emergency in 1986 and began efforts to quarantine all individuals testing positive for HIV.
The article also wrote that the quarantine was mandatory and that “it wasn't until 1993 that patients could finally choose to return home after completing an eight-week treatment course.”
The CDC Given Quarantine Authority in 1967
The Business Insider article noted that the CDC was given authority to execute the United States' quarantines in 1967 and that “there were 55 quarantine stations” located at “every port, international airport, and major border crossing.”
The Business Insider article wrote that the SARS virus that originated in China in 2003 became known as “the first pandemic of the 21st century.”
The article noted that “cities including Beijing issued travel quarantines that affected thousands of people.”
Largest Quarantine in Fight to Contain the Wuhan coronavirus
The Business Insider article noted that about 46 million people in 16 cities in China were put on lockdown. Wuhan started the lockdown on January 23, followed by cities of Huanggang, Ezhou, Chibi, Xiantao, Zhijiang, Qianjjiang, Huangshi, Xianning, Yichang, Enshi, Xiangyang, Jingmen, Xiaogan, Dangyang, and Suizhou.
The article reported that “some experts fear the quarantine may have come too late, or could even make the situation worse, by making access to food, fuel, and medical supplies more difficult.”
The article cited Kristin Stapleton, an urban historian who studies Chinese history at the University of Buffalo, as saying that she thinks “many people are probably staying put out of fear, both of the coronavirus and of the high-tech community surveillance that has become pervasive in Chinese cities.”