The garments of one afflicted with a scaly infection shall be rent and the hair disheveled, and the mustache covered. The individual shall cry out, “Unclean, unclean!” As long as the infection is present, the person shall be unclean. Being unclean, that individual shall dwell apart, taking up residence outside the camp.
The ancient Israelites had no scientific notion of viral infection or bacteria certainly. But they did practice isolation when there was a perceived health threat to the community, even when traversing the wilderness for forty years.
Maybe there was a reason for mustache coverage–healthy people didn’t want a leper breathing on them. And the distancing, a severe trial for people, of course. I wouldn’t want to make light of that. My own mother was admitted to an adult home in January of 2020 and endured most of the rest of that year–the last year of her life–in isolation.
One thing that does mystify me: why did some people think they couldn’t venture outside for a walk or a run or a stroll with someone in their household? I’ve read accounts of people being “stuck inside,” and if that were accurate, I’d say they seem seriously mistaken. Unless there was a secondary medical condition that kept them in the home.
The whole notion that people (still) are leaving God in charge and braving the post-pandemic reality with no vaccines, masks, or distancing seems rather separate from the Judeo-Christian Divinity who clearly inspired the author of the Torah to legislate for caution when it came to scary diseases.