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Corona has taught most of us humility: although we live in a high-tech world with Mars rockets, nanorobots and artificial intelligence, we failed to quickly contain or disarm the virus. On the contrary, for months we had to resort to measures from the Middle Ages. People were quarantined just as in the 14th century during the black plague. Or they were isolated just like those suffering from smallpox in the 16th century. People suffered and died as alone as they did 500 years ago.

Comparing the personal protective equipment of a plague doctor in 17th-century with a physician during the Covid-19 pandemic. ‘Dr. Beak’ is wearing the typical mask which was meant to prevent him from infection.

The development of several vaccines late last year fueled hopes that a return to normalcy would…

Isolation saves lives but crushes the spirit. It is sometimes inevitable and always devastating. Isolation protects us and those around us, but it can cost us our humanity. This is the dilemma of medical isolation: we need isolation to fight disease, but isolation itself can make us sick.

The past year has taught most of us what isolation is and what its consequences can be. We got to know social distancing, quarantine, lockdowns, and isolation in hospital wards. Of course, medical isolation is almost as old as medicine itself and will be with us beyond this pandemic.

In the past…

Dr. Judith Brand, MD

I am a physician with a passion for family medicine, Chief Medical Officer at Sphaira Medical, and a mother from the bottom of my heart.

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