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So I’m reading the American Journal of Medicine, and on page 651 there is an editorial by Joseph S. Alpert, MD. He starts by discussing the book, “The Plague” by Albert Camus, a historical novel set in the Middle Ages. It’s about an heroic physician named Dr. Rieux who elects not to flee, but to stay in his hometown of Oran during the Black Death and treat his patients as best he can. Dr. Alpert then writes (I swear I am not making this up), “At this time (the end of March 2020), we are experiencing events in the United States and throughout the world similar to those described in “The Plague.” Not feeling sufficiently heroic yet, Dr. Alpert writes in the penultimate paragraph, “Thus, the arrival of the coronavirus in the United States presented me with the same decision that Dr. Rieux and his colleagues had to make. They chose to fight the plague as did I … I followed in the footsteps of Dr. Rieux.” Again, I swear that these are direct quotes from Dr. Alpert’s editorial. He even entitled his essay, “Life Imitates Art: The Physician in a Time of Plague.” Go look it up yourself if you like.
The Black Death killed an estimated 30% – 60% of Europe’s population. It reduced the world’s population by about 25%. It had fatality rates of nearly 90% in some places. Anyone who looks at our coronavirus data and sees the Black Death has lost all sense of reality. Perhaps Dr. Alpert really wants to be a hero. Or perhaps he knows nothing about history. Or, perhaps, nothing about current events. Or, perhaps, well, I just don’t know. And remember, he is a medical school professor writing in a medical journal. This is not MSNBC, The Huffington Post, or The New York Times. What the heck is going on? How could he write this? I just don’t understand. And neither, apparently, does Dr. Alpert.Published in