It's a fascinating look at how they responded to a deadly disease before modern hygiene and modern knowledge and antibiotics.
It also showcases Rav Eiger's wisdom & innovation in protecting his community against a truly dangerous disease.
The reason so many people innocently promote this article is because of its supposed similarity to the covid-19 epidemic.
But it's simply not a good comparison.
They're nothing alike.
The Good News: Covid-19 isn't Cholera
That's a horrific death rate!
Furthermore, cholera sometimes kills its victim within hours.
Meaning, some victims die a mere 2 hours after showing symptoms.
That isn't anything like covid-19.
Here's an personal example of a covid-19 outbreak:
Right around Rosh Hashanah, a group of around 20 yeshivah students caught covid-19 together. They'd been following the rules by attending yeshivah in a "capsule," which meant staying in yeshivah without leaving the premises, not to buy a can of soda or to go home—nothing.
Even going off the steps outside the yeshivah wasn't allowed.
The staff followed the rules of masks, etc.
But these young men still caught the virus because the non-NC95 masks simply do not work, nor do the other rules.
The young men subsisted on yeshivah food, no one even coughed, and the main symptoms were aching limbs, mild fevers, and the temporary loss of taste or smell.
As for treatment? No vitamins, no citrus fruits, no medication, no vitamin D or hydroxychloroquine, no ventilators, no special care—completely untreated.
(Note: If they'd asked for lemons or tangerines, they would have received. But they felt pretty cool about getting along in survival mode, so they proudly made do without.)
They fasted Yom Kippur and even made scrumptious festival meals with the extra food the yeshivah staff brought them.
(Yes. Yeshivah bochurim can cook—and cook really well! Some of them, anyway...)
Then after the newly instated 10-day quarantine passed from the time they got tested, they came home.
(No one gets retested; you're simply free after 10 days—which is nonsensical because there's no guarantee that a person is automatically virus-free after 10 days. If covid-19 was a truly lethal disease, the 10-day stipulation-without-retesting would be dangerously irresponsible.)
Interestingly, out of these 20 infected bachurim who went through a bout of covid-19 COMPLETELY UNTREATED...NO ONE DIED. No one even suffered complications. Baruch Hashem.
If it was anything like untreated cholera, at least 10 should've dropped.
But as it was, there was a 0% death rate.
Likewise, in many of the "corona hotels" here in Eretz Yisrael, the guests subsist on unheated pre-prepared trays of meals. Many quarantined guests have uploaded impassioned complaints to social media, detailing their suffering and lack of medical care, without even a tablet of Acamol (Tylenol) available to alleviate their aching limbs.
Yet no one dies.
Because covid-19 is NOTHING like cholera.
Just as a side point: Another difference is that cholera is a bacteria while covid-19 is a virus. Furthermore, cholera is rarely spread by person-to-person contact, but from drinking or eating stuff infected with cholera, like contaminated water or seafood.
Note: Please understand that I'm not pointing fingers at the average person sending this article around. They've been led to truly believe that covid-19 is much more dangerous than it has been proven to be. I'm concerned about why people who should know better insist on conflating covid-19 with untreated cholera—emphasis on untreated cholera; when treated, the mortality rate for cholera drops to less than 1%.
Also, I understand that in America, covid-19 has manifested in a particularly frightening manner—in New York in particular—with several respected rabbis from different communities dying of covid-19 in a narrow timeframe, plus people see ambulances coming to pick up people with severe cases.
That's not happening everywhere, so it's easy to dismiss it if you're not from New York. But in New York, the Jewish community is certainly experiencing covid-19 with more severity and it's important to be sensitive to that difference.
Having said all that, this still is nothing like a cholera epidemic.
What about Pneumonia?
Both of the niftars were around 81.
One I did not know, but the other I knew.
He was obese and he looked & moved like other obese elderly I'd known who suffer diabetes & high blood pressure.
I was very sad to hear he died because I liked him; he'd always been so nice to children.
However, I also suspect that had the flu or pneumonia been going around, that might have ended his life too because people with his health issues are very susceptible to illness.
After all, while I don't know his specific health issues, he looked & moved like a very unhealthy 81-year-old.
By the way, pneumonia kills 50,000 people in the USA alone each year.
1 million adults seek hospital treatment for pneumonia each year.
In fact, within the 30 days of contracting pneumonia, 5-10% of its victims die.
Shockingly, it is the world's leading cause of death for children under age 5.
This seems very serious. Why are there NEVER any lockdowns or masks because of this?
When It's the Cure that Kills
(1) Despite the very light response to the disease in most people, it's still new and a light infection could fester into something worse months or even years down the line. If it's anything like its family of coronaviruses, then probably not. But it's true that we don't know.
(2) It SEEMS like covid-19 is more lethal than other viruses for vulnerable people (i.e., people with pre-existing medical issues, like heart trouble, high blood pressure, etc.). But it's hard to say for sure because the accuracy of data collection of covid-19 is questionable.
Also, with 50,000 annual deaths from pneumonia and the 12,000-61,000 deaths per year from the flu receive no attention, and so we don't have the same comparison.
Frum media, for example, went out of its way to list the people who died (or who allegedly died) from covid-19. Pictures of relatively young people (with obviously pre-existing health problems) appeared in frum media to accompany reports of their tragic deaths.
But that never happens with more common diseases like the flu or pneumonia.
Not to mention, it also seems like many covid-19 deaths were treatment-induced—meaning the ventilators davka harmed people, hospital staff offered ineffective treatment, or hospitals even denied their patients proper treatment (via self-imposed quarantines, which prevented them from caring for their patients properly).
Here are a couple of reports:
That's just 2 examples. There are more.
Also, many reports state that the covid-19 numbers are falsely inflated.
Meaning that if someone diagnosed with covid-19 dies in a car accident, then the death is reported as covid-19. If someone diagnosed with covid-19 dies of another illness, it's registered as a covid-19 death. Not sure if there's proof, but those are the reports.
An indication of this lies in an article quoted here:
According to Shmuel Sackett's investigation into Israel's chevra kaddisha, LESS people have died OVERALL in Eretz Yisrael during March-September 2020 than in the last 10 years!
If the mortality for covid-19 was real, we should be having an overall higher death rate, not a lower one.
So it looks like the deaths from covid-19 really aren't as reported.
That needs to be investigated.
However, it still stands to reason that we need to both protect and care for our vulnerable brothers & sisters—but we should be doing that during flu season too.
Why the Insistence?
After all, the article on Rav Eiger's responsible & insightful handling of cholera is both interesting & heart-warming.
However, it has nothing to do with the covid-19 epidemic.
Yet it is being presented that way.
Covid-19 is simply not as lethal as untreated cholera.
So why publicize an event of a truly lethal disease as if it's related to a fairly non-lethal disease?
Why the insistence on trying to conflate the mostly non-lethal covid-19 with the extremely lethal untreated cholera?