Dr. Donald Henderson – Surveillance and Containment

According to Wikipedia the origin of smallpox is unknown. The earliest evidence of the disease dates to the 3rd century BCE in Egyptian mummies.The disease historically occurred in outbreaks.

Yoruba people blamed the sickness on Sopona.

In 18th-century Europe, it is estimated 400,000 people per year died from the disease, and one-third of the cases resulted in blindness. These deaths included six monarchs and Mozart survived an outbreak which killed the Holy Roman Empress Maria Josepha.

Smallpox is estimated to have killed up to 300 million people in the 20th century[15] and around 500 million people in the last 100 years of its existence. As recently as 1967, 15 million cases occurred a year.

The Pilgrims landed in the New World find disease-ravaged villages deserted by the Wampanoag, Narragansetts, Nipmucs, Pocomtucs, Mahicans, and Massachusetts. The newcomers had also brought bubonic plague, chickenpox, cholera, the common cold, diphtheria, influenza, malaria, measles, scarlet fever, typhoid, typhus, and tuberculosis, against which the First People possessed no resistance.

Smallpox or variola virus belonged to the genus Orthopoxvirus, the family Poxviridae and subfamily Chordopoxvirinae, but the disease was a stranger to the medicine men who had no pervious knowledge or ‘A strange virus of unknown origin’ which was Jacques Liebowitch called HIV.

Smallpox killed and killed millions worldwide without respite until Europeans discovered that Ming Dynasty doctors had been inoculating people since the 10th Century, even though variolation had a 0.5–2 percent mortality rate, considerably less than the 20–30 percent mortality rate of the disease according to Wikipedia, yet as previously stated each and every year the Pox aka Syphilis harvested millions more also without mercy.

Scars ruined the survivors for life.

In 1966 the World Health Organization (WHO) decide to vigorously eliminate Smallpox within a 10-year period. Doctor Henderson from Baltimore moved to Geneva to become director of the campaign. His team traveled through Brazil, Africa, and Asia vaccinating millions of people and saving millions of lives not only through vaccinations, but by promoting the double-edged sword of “surveillance-containment”.

A miracle.

Ten years later the last case of Smallpox was recorded in Somalia.

Ali Maow Maalin, a hospital cook in Merca, Somalia.

He recovered from the infection and until 2013 succumbing to Malaria.

Smallpox is the only virus to be eradicated by humans.

We are now best by a new rage.

Covid 19.

A two month lock-down.


Even in Brooklyn.

But is social distancing the answer?

A shuttered city.

A broken nation.

Are we doomed?

No more than ever.

I survived Polio.


Two wives, who strangely still love me and I have promised that I will not die in this century.

As a Neanderthal I can’t promise the homo sapiens will fare as well.

Most recently the late Dr. Henderson was forced into the isolation debate by the New York Times unburying a comment for the highly regarded doctor in which he purportedly stated, “It made no sense to force schools to close or public gatherings to stop. Teenagers would escape their homes to hang out at the mall. School lunch programs would close, and impoverished children would not have enough to eat. Hospital staffs would have a hard time going to work if their children were at home.”

I know nothing, but maybe tomorrow.

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