Our Head of Built Environments, Mr. Bernard Hornung’s interview published in Ampleforth Diary, UK – COVID19 Lockdown Special Issue

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Some of the extracts of the interview included:

Our Head of Built Environments, Mr. Bernard Hornung studied History at A level, and was interested in Economic and Social History, and in particular the period which included the Agrarian Revolution, The Industrial Revolution and the early 20th Century. More recently he was involved in supporting the successful fundraising programme for a Portuguese First World War Memorial. This led him towards researching the disproportionate suffering endured by the Portuguese during this conflict, and afterwards as a result of the Spanish flu.

At Ampleforth, he had learnt about how during the 19th Century there was a belief that a bad smell could spread disease, and so in London, sewers were directed into the Thames, contaminating the water. This move ended up killing far more people as cholera spreads via contaminated food and water. We have made similar mistakes with measles and tuberculosis, which are aerosol infections, which we thought for decades were spread by droplets. More recently, we have done the same with severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the culprit behind the Covid-19 pandemic.

It was only recently that the WHO and CDC finally accepted aerosols as one of the main modes of transmission of Covid-19, on 30 April and on 7 May 2021 respectively. In the UK we accepted this in June 2020.

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