quarantine (kwôrənˌtēn)

Quarantine is the buzzword that’s sweeping across the internet, social media, and the news. But what does it mean exactly?

The word quarantine actually originated during another pandemic, hundreds of years ago. The Bubonic plague lasted from 1347 to 1353 and killed over 20 million people in Europe – wiping out one third of the continent’s total population.

To prevent the spread of the Black Death in Italy, ships were isolated for trentino days if they were returning from plagued areas. Trentino is the Italian word for thirty days. Sailors were required to stay on their ships for the thirty day period. About a century later, trentino was extended to quarantina, a forty day period instead.

Scholars don’t know exactly why isolation was increased to forty days. Obviously, more time in isolation allows the disease to run its course and prevent its spread. Others believe that the forty day period is Biblical in nature – for example, Lent lasts for forty days.

The word quarantine comes from the Italian word quarantina meaning forty days. This is my 29th day at home and I do not expect to go back to school for the remainder of the year. To stay sane during quarantine, I’ve been reading, blogging, and Facetiming my friends. My family has also been baking a lot; they made me a chocolate cake from scratch for my 15th birthday last week. Even though I’m enjoying the time with my family, I am definitely looking forward to life returning to normal.

How are you passing the time?

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