Pandemics and Epidemics Throughout The Years
An epidemic is an outbreak of a disease that covers a large area, but when the disease spreads worldwide, it becomes a pandemic. This is what happened with COVID-19, which is now forcing people into quarantine. Throughout the years there have been many past epidemics and pandemics and some show similarities to the COVID-19 outbreak.
One major epidemic was the Black Death, which was the spread of bubonic plague from the years 1346 to 1353. This deadly disease, which affected both people and animals, was spread by trading ships as it ravaged Europe, Asia and Africa, amounting to a death toll between 75 and 200 million people. The disease became so deadly that doctors refused to see patients, sailors had to be quarantined, people abandoned their sick loved ones and shopkeepers closed their shops.
A major pandemic, on the other hand, was the Spanish Flu in 1918. According to the Authority for Master's of Public Health Degrees, an independent online resource for public health students, the flu pandemic was an outbreak of influenza that had a death toll of about 50 million people over two years. Around 500 million people were infected. Although, like COVID-19, the disease was thought to primarily affect the elderly and those with weaker immune systems at first, it infected perfectly young and healthy people as well. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “control efforts worldwide were limited to non-pharmaceutical interventions such as isolation, quarantine, good personal hygiene, use of disinfectants, and limitations of public gatherings.” During the later half of the pandemic, it became illegal in many parts of the United States to not wear a mask outside. These techniques used to avoid this disease are very similar to those we are currently using now to prevent the growth of COVID-19.
The COVID-19 virus is similar to all these past pandemics and epidemics. This globally-spread virus is continuing to develop and create panic. To help stop the spread of this virus and flatten the curve, it is highly recommended to stay in quarantine and socially distance yourself from others.