Thomas Martin, professor and Jeremiah W. O'Connor chair of classics. Photo by John Buckingham
The exponential spread of the COVID-19 pandemic across the nation has scholars comparing it to the 5th century BC “plague” in Athens, a virulent infection with chilling effects on the ancient city, credited largely to the democratic government’s failure to prepare ahead for the spread of illness or to react quickly enough.
In a commentary for The Washington Post, Thomas Martin, professor and Jeremiah W. O’Connor chair of classics at the College of the Holy Cross, writes that a key lesson to be learned from this historic parallel is that we “must have plans in place to figure out how to respond to disasters before their effects overwhelm us.”
“Preparing for the next crisis will require leaders like Anthony S. Fauci (who majored in classics at Holy Cross, where I teach) who understand both the medical complexity and social dimensions of epidemic disease,” says Martin. “We should strive to do better than the Athenians by being prepared to act for what we have not expected.”
Martin specializes in the ancient history of democracy, its roots in Athens, and how it compares with modern American democracy.
To read the full article, go to WashingtonPost.com.
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