As COVID is still around, let’s see if this is the only thing human suffered!

Have you considered how many pandemics have occurred throughout history? Indeed there have been quite a few. It seems like whoever pointed out the high number of deaths during the Great Pandemic of 1918 to 1919 also noted that significant outbreaks were happening before and after.

Since 2002, we’ve seen five major epidemics (to date). It’s important to remember that even though governments are working with what they feel is the best data available today, there is a history full of sickness and disease, making it challenging to create an ideal system for handling disease outbreaks. 

The 2014 Ebola epidemic was one such event in modern history. However, with Ebola, the main respite was it didn’t impact the world at a massive scale, remaining contained primarily within African countries. America and Europe were also largely immune.

Suppose you believe COVID is the worst thing to happen to humanity in medical history. In that case, there can be a change of opinion once you learn about different types of pandemics from different eras or periods that wreaked havoc but ultimately couldn’t hold up against our invincible spirit. Here is a brief on a few events picked from MyBioSource.

Ø  One of the earliest recorded pandemics – the Antonine Plague

It began in 165 CE and claimed the lives of over five million people. The Antonine Plague may have happened due to a virulent strain of smallpox or measles. During this time, The Roman Empire supposedly suffered the most. It decimated the Roman military, which was already stretched thin by its many wars. The pandemic also caused widespread economic upheaval, as trade reached a standstill and food prices soared. The Antonine Plague was the most threatening pandemic that profoundly impacted the Romans.

Ø  The most contagious type – Smallpox

Smallpox was a highly contagious disease responsible for millions of deaths worldwide. The first recorded outbreak of smallpox was in 1520 CE in Mexico. It also affected Europe and Africa, causing widespread devastation. Smallpox was particularly deadly to young children and pregnant women.

In the 18th century, smallpox was responsible for about 400,000 deaths yearly in Europe. However, the introduction of vaccination in the late 18th century led to a dramatic decrease in incidence. Still, the disease continued to cause sporadic outbreaks in different parts of the world. The last recorded episode of smallpox was in Somalia in 1977.

This disease went on to spread throughout the native populations with devastating results. Some estimates claim that the disease consumed 40% of the Aztec people in one year alone. There is a belief that the Spanish were responsible for spreading the virus in South America as they wanted to conquer it. 

Ø  A nightmare for Asian nations – Cholera Pandemics

The Cholera Pandemic of the 19th century originated in Asia before spreading to Africa and Europe; by this time, it had become the most deadly disease on earth, claiming millions of lives across different continents. For more information, you can check MyBioSource.

Ø  Still a concern – HIVAIDS

The pandemic has been a problem for many years, killing millions. It first occurred in 1981, and since then, it has taken the lives of more than 38 million people, with another million contracting the infection each year. 90% of HIV-positive kids got the disease from their mothers. 

Ø  A major H1N1 influenza virus outbreak – Swine Flu

Experts theorize Swine Flu afflicted around 11-20% of the world’s population, roughly about 700 million to 1.4 billion people. There are estimates for total Swine flu deaths ranging from 19,000 to 248,000. It also recorded 18,449 deaths officially. Because it appeared in Mexican Pig farms before infecting humans, it got the nickname “Mexican Flu.”

Ø  The disease that raged for three years before slowing – Ebola  

Ebola broke out all over West Africa in 2014 and lasted three years before subsiding. Countries that faced its wrath included Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. Nearly 10k people lost their lives to this. 

Ø  The current ongoing pandemic – COVID 

The virus is most capable of mutating fast and infecting people at a much higher rate. It took away more than one million lives in the US. Although the latest variants are not as potent as the initial one (several factors need consideration – such as vaccines, masking, improved health care, and awareness), it is still a threat. Scientists found its association with SARS and China’s Wuhan was the first place to see its emergence in 2019. Shortly after, it spread like wildfire worldwide in 2020 beginning. 

These are just a few examples of what the world and its people have faced in their lifetime. While it feels intimidating and baffling simultaneously, it is undeniable that humans have only emerged more potent with each experience. They may have drained us mentally, physically, financially, and otherwise, but none could stop us from being happy, prosperous, and better again. You can say we have become resilient.