Another historian, Carlo Cipolla, noted:

In preindustrial Europe, the purchase of a garment or of the cloth for a garment remained a luxury the common people could only afford a few times in their lives. One of the main preoccupations of hospital administration was to ensure that the clothes of the deceased should not be usurped but should be given to lawful inheritors. During epidemics of plague, the town authorities had to struggle to confiscate the clothes of the dead and to burn them: people waited for others to die so as to take over their clothes—which generally had the effect of spreading the epidemic.

Steven Pinker. Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress, 2017

Added to diary 21 April 2018