A lasting legacy of the last pandemic

Covid-19 has made us all change our habits.

And whilst most of us have not felt the urge to lick church floors or shrines, the WHO have still found it necessary to issue a list of things that don’t help protect against coronavirus.

So will our new found habits stop when a vaccine becomes available?

By mid 2021, will we all be back to our old ways or will there be a longer legacy?

In the wake of the Spanish Flu epidemic (and First World War…) the Panacea Society was formed and soon started a healing mission.

People could apply for a free pack of muslin squares which had been breathed on by their leader Mabel Barltrop.

Each pack came with instructions for use, which generally involved popping a square into a jug of water to dissolve/transmit some of the ‘healing’ before drinking or applying.

This rather bizarre and, in light of current understanding, somewhat unsanitary practice continued long after Mabel (who was meant to be immortal) had died. In total 130,000 people applied for the cure.

The last squares were sent out in 2013 with a rather sad letter informing them that as all the Panaceans were now departed, they were now on their own.

Maybe in 2113, there will be another letter like this informing the recipients that they too will have to find another cure.

If you would like to learn more about the work of the Panacea Trust, visit their website or read my article.

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