China put 46 million people on lockdown to contain the Wuhan coronavirus. But quarantines throughout history have been riddled with mishaps.
- In an attempt to contain the Wuhan coronavirus, China has issued the largest quarantine in human history.
- The country has put 16 cities on lockdown, affecting an estimated 46 million people.
- Quarantines have been used to prevent the spread of disease for hundreds of years. The first formal system was established in Venice during the 14th Century.
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In a matter of weeks, the Wuhan coronavirus has killed more than 100 people and infected over 4,600. The Chinese government is scrambling to contain the disease, and in doing so, has issued the largest quarantine in human history - locking down 16 cities.
But will it work?
The idea of separating the healthy from the sick is not new. Documents dating as far back as the Old Testament contain rules for isolating people with Leprosy.
Here are some of the most prominent examples, and failures, of quarantines throughout history.
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The bubonic plague initiated the first "formal" quarantine in Venice.
A yellow fever outbreak spread throughout Philadelphia in 1793.
In 1832, a cholera epidemic hit New York City.
A typhus outbreak in New York City showed the country's history of targeting immigrants for quarantining.
In 1900, a bubonic plague scare resulted in the quarantine of Chinese immigrants in San Francisco.
In 1907, the infamous "Typhoid Mary" was quarantined after making people sick from her cooking.
From 1918-1919, a massive outbreak of influenza resulted in large-scale quarantining in both Europe and the US.
In 1944, the US passed the Public Health Service Act, establishing a clear set of quarantine laws.
HIV-positive patients were quarantined throughout Cuba in 1986.
The CDC took over quarantining responsibilities in the US in 1967.
In 2003, a global SARS outbreak became "the first pandemic of the 21st century."
A 2014 bubonic plague scare resulted in quarantines in China.
From 2014-2016, multiple countries issued quarantines to prevent the spread of Ebola.
Here's what quarantining looks like in the US today.
The Wuhan coronavirus has resulted in the largest quarantine in human history.
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