FGCU literature professor compares bubonic plague history to Covid-19 pandemic

FGCU professor compares bubonic plague to Covid-19
Posted at 2:31 PM, Jan 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-24 14:31:34-05

FORT MYERS, Fla. — A Florida Gulf Coast University professor is comparing the events of Covid-19 to the bubonic plague in Europe.

Dr. Rebecca Totaro has authored five books on the plague that are inspired by stories of people's lives told though Shakespeare's sonnets.

"The bubonic plague was a horrific disease. It killed people far more quickly in much more horrible ways," said Totaro.

In a similar times of uncertainty, quarantine, and death, she says people's response to the disease looked much different than those during covid.

"I don’t see hoarding of food in writing at all or making a mad rush on anything at the supermarket. They shared their resources better than we do.”

Instead, plague stories share resilience through creativity, caregiving, and connecting with loved ones.

"They’re basically about reunions of family. People who are thought dead but aren’t dead and they're discovered to be alive. They get together and celebrate that they have this new opportunity, like a second life to live.”

Totaro believes there's a lot people can learn and take away from the Black Death in our world today.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, she hopes people take this pause in time for self-reflection, innovation, and a deeper connection with others.

Totaro plans to teach her course, Literature of the Plague, at FGCU this Summer.

To learn more about her studies on the plague, click here.