The word, quarantine

…ships with their entire crew used to anchor [on an island outside of Venice] for 40 days (quaranta giorni) during illness outbreaks, a practice dating back to the 14th century’s Black Death. Venice, for centuries a maritime merchant society, was especially vulnerable to disease spread from distant lands via the comings and goings of ships (something that, given the seasonal megacruise invasions on the city, has changed little), which might explain why in Venice, and not in Paris, where we were days earlier, our temperatures were taken before we were allowed into the non-security-restricted area of Marco Polo Airport (which had become, inversely, the security-restricted area). Regardless, in addition to “ghetto,” the medieval Venetians are credited, etymologically, for introducing a second “containment” word to our vocabulary: “quarantine.”

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