The meeting of the doctors at the Prefecture is fascinating. If they declare that the disease is the plague, “then they will have to take stern measures,” so they hesitate to declare it. Rieux argues that it doesn’t matter what you call it – “all that matters is that you stop it killing half the town.” Impossible to read this scene today in America and not think about the language that has and has not been used to describe and warn the public, to lead (and of course to mislead) action and inaction. Is public “panic” a thing that can be avoided? Rieux is rightly concerned with halting the disease, no matter what it is called, which can only be done through preventative health measures – though how interesting that early in this pages he says “‘perhaps we should make up our minds to call this disease by its proper name.'” #camustheplague #nmbookclub
FOR TOMORROW: Read to the end of Part 1!
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