The history of infection control throws up many amusing, if not grim, facts.
Among them the notion that "wash your hands" was once considered controversial medical advice - and not just because it might have come from your mum.
That which is helping combat Covid-19 today cost the doctor who first suggested it his career.
Back in the 1840s at Vienna Hospital, Hungarian physician Ignaz Semmelweis was fascinated by the number of women dying after giving birth, from puerperal, or child bed, fever. Nearly one hundred per cent as it turns out, which seems like a solid stat to the layman. But if you learn one thing browsing the history of infection control, it's that we've come a long way in terms of horrendous mortality rates.
Semmelweis noticed that women attended by midwives had a better survival rate than those visited by doctors. So he kicked off what was to become known as "hospital epidemiology" by crunching available data. This is another macabre aspect to infection control history. You first go with what you think you know, right?
Contemporary theories examined and eliminated included that women were giving birth in the wrong position, that they were dying of embarrassment being examined by men, or being frightened to death by the attendance of priests who were inevitably summoned once the fever set in.
So much for the modelling.
Midwives, meanwhile, only worked the wards.
Germ theory hadn't been developed yet, but Semmelweis had a hunch about "decomposing animal organic matter" being passed onto patients, so he duly ordered all midwives hung.
Just kidding. Hanging was a virus control policy for the plague in the 1400s when people wandered into a clean town from an infected area.
Semmelweis implemented mandatory handwashing instead and maternity ward mortality rates promptly plummeted. You'd think this would be a cause for celebration, but as it turned out, only if you were giving birth.
Semmelweis was scorned by the medical profession for suggesting doctors were responsible for deaths, withdrew from society and eventually died alone in an insane asylum.
A tragic, if not eerily familiar, infection control narrative, and if it's any consolation, a century later the Medical University of Budapest changed its name to Semmelweis University in honour of his unsung efforts.
But it gets you thinking about current efforts to flatten the coronavirus curve and how history will judge.
Washing our hands and staying at home seem to be working. Time will tell about swilling chloroquine phosphate from your fish tank, as Donald Trump seems to suggest, or going on a cruise.