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Breathe in, Breathe out: Fresh air found to be a way to fight disease in the 1880s


America’s ambivalence about wearing masks has played a part our Covid-19 woes. But there’s another factor beginning to receive a closer look as the virus tears through some of the hottest parts of the US: Our zealous – and rather unusual – insistence on living and working in spaces that are largely sealed off from the outdoors.

It wasn’t always so. In the nineteenth century, a growing number of people lived and worked in cramped, airless quarters in the nation’s growing cities. As disease ran rampant, the solution was simple: better ventilation. A growing number of medical professionals ...


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