Be Thankful This Pandemic Isn’t During The Renaissance

be thankful this pandemic isn’t during the renaissance

Photo via The Edge Markets

The Health Ministry (MOH) recently declared two states officially coronavirus-free - Penang and Johor. But if more states become green zones, it doesn’t mean we can get complacent and just stop following SOPs.

Around the world, health authorities keep stressing on the importance of using face masks, and they’re absolutely right!

Many people are refusing to wear a face mask for various reasons - with some complaining about skin irritation or even foggy glasses, while others are just oblivious to the current situation and are just refusing to wear one.

But what about our medical frontliners? Have you ever thought about what they have to go through when they’re using full personal protective equipment (PPE)?

Well, here’s a side to the story you’d never have thought about.

It seems doctors are finding it hard to build personal rapport with COVID-19 patients with all that gear on.

Some have even taken to wearing photographs of themselves on their gowns to help their patients, many of whom are in a life-or-death struggle, so they feel less alienated and less alone.

But if you think doctors in PPE look unapproachable now, wait till you see what you would have had to see if this pandemic was during the Renaissance…

be thankful this pandemic isn’t during the renaissance

Photo via InsideHook

be thankful this pandemic isn’t during the renaissance

be thankful this pandemic isn’t during the renaissance

Photo via Viator

Look familiar? Well, you’d probably have seen these outfits in maybe a psychological thriller movie or TV show.

It may look scary, but hey, these were considered “the best PPE” at the time.

The types of plague that were circulating in the 17th and 18th centuries, when the plague doctor outfit was in use, were spread mostly by airborne respiratory droplets, similar to COVID-19.

Although the beaked mask was no N-95 respirator, it might have slightly reduced the doctor's chances of inhaling these droplets, as the tip of the mask's "beak" was filled with a mixture of herbs meant to purify the air the doctor was breathing.

Also note that plague doctors even carried a rod that they used to examine patients from a safe distance, in a kind of enforced social distancing.

For more on the history of the original PPE, click here.

The point is, the plagues and pandemics of old only reinforce the fact that protective clothing could play a role in preventing the spread of illness, and it also paved the way for the protective equipment our medical professionals rely on in today's pandemic.

So don’t be selfish! Wear a face mask! We’re all in this together!


by Kyle Roshen Jacob