Awful Moments in Quarantine History

When news of a local suffering from a deadly infectious disease is disseminated to the public, the fear is palpable, in that it affects citizens' actions and daily lives. At times, fear of epidemics has resulted in hysterical measures taken by government officials and others in positions of power. 

The referring article, linked below, cites and briefly describes a number of instances of quarantine, some of which resulted in unfair treatment of the possibly infected, including racism.

One example is a bubonic plague scare in San Francisco in 1900. After letting Caucasians leave the area, officials of the City of San Francisco physically separated twelve square blocks of Chinatown from the rest of the city with barriers of rope and barbed wire. The source of the panic was the suspected plague death of a Chinese immigrant who was found in the basement of a hotel.

The quarantine was declared, despite a lack of evidence of the deceased having the plague. This incident, later dubbed by the press as the "Bubonic Bluff," caused a food shortage and many hardships for the people in the restricted zone. Large numbers of Chinese residents lost their jobs as a result of the quarantine, which a subsequent investigation found to be unnecessary and was later viewed by many historians as racially motivated.

Read about more grievous events associated with quarantine in this NPR blog article.

Via: The Presurfer | Image: Library of Congress 

Login to comment.

Email This Post to a Friend
"Awful Moments in Quarantine History"

Separate multiple emails with a comma. Limit 5.


Success! Your email has been sent!

close window

This website uses cookies.

This website uses cookies to improve user experience. By using this website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

I agree
Learn More