Visual Capitalist’s Infographic Depicts Pandemic Casualties:
Although getting an accurate perspective can be a very tricky thing, and it often happens only in hindsight.
The world-changing events we’re living through right now are just another in a long series of microbial & economic pandemics.
Though that doesn’t make the worst public health crisis in 100 years any easier,
It does have a place in the context of history,
Which Visual Capitalist shows in its beautiful infographic about the “disease of being connected to the rest of the world”…
Humanity’s Long History Of Imported Catastrophes:
From the year 430BC right up until the present, an increasingly-connected human race has caught diseases that started in foreign lands.
And depending on how you count, there have been about 20 of them.
Whether it’s the bubonic/pneumonic plagues mainly in Europe, right down to SARS,
They’ve been traveling across routes of commerce from countries the rest of the world wanted to trade with for the last 2500 years.
And just like COVID-19 or Ebola, a few of them started from people being exposed to wild animals in an unsafe way.
Many of them got considerably-worse in population-dense areas like London.
Population Density = Public Health Crisis, Eventually:
Even in the last example of a bubonic/pneumonic plague that occurred in the mid/late 1600s,
It killed off an unthinkable 20% of that city’s population.
So in today’s numbers, that would be like 1.6 million people in New York City disappearing in just one year.
This is in no way trying to downplay the human tragedy or seriousness of what we’re all going through right now.
But the scope of history shows these types of things have a pattern of occurrence, will continue,
And quite probably get worse in the future the more we become connected.
As it stands, COVID-19 has infected a reported 3.5 Million people with almost 250,000 deaths.
Dr. Osterholm’s Coronavirus Numbers Aren’t Here Yet:
That is a case of good news/bad news.
Dr. Michael Osterholm has forecast that the US will have 96 Million cases by about October,
With 48 Million of those requiring hospitalization, and 480,000 people dead from coronavirus just in the US.
The Good News is our efforts at social-isolation and distancing appear right now to be slowing those numbers down.
Even though the US leads the world in cases, we only have 1.16 Million as of now vs. his 96M estimate.
History Does Rhyme. Another Pattern May Repeat:
But the next problem can be found in the super-deadly Spanish Flu Epidemic of the early 1900s that killed as many as 50 Million people.
Back then, people were sick of being isolated, and the government relaxed restrictions too early.
This resulted in three more waves of cases that were even worse than the first.
The second largely-agreed to be the most-deadly with as many as 10x more victims and a stronger mutation of the virus.
This is relevant now because in a few short weeks, the US and Western Europe will start relaxing their lockdown orders.
And then whether or not we get a 2nd wave of coronavirus remains to be seen.
Hopefully, we’ll all wear our masks in public for awhile.
History Has An Even Deadlier Repeating Pattern:
The Black Death that occurred in Europe went on and off again several times every 2 years from the mid 1300s until about 1500.
Crazier-still is the fact the first known instance of that type of plague started about 1100 years before the last one.
And in that time, it proceeded to kill-off 50% of the major areas it hit in the first 150 years and the last 400 years each time.
Again, people traveling from one place to another also made it worse.
Though we are at-least a little better off than them, although it doesn’t feel like it with the world’s entire economy shut down except for Amazon.com and Chewy.com,
We unfortunately have to look forward to the rest of what coronavirus will do.
Though we don’t know what it will do we can all hope to God that it won’t recur like The Plague, 50% of the time for the next 400 years.
The Long Reach Of Spanish Flu. But What About Developing Nations?:
Because another data-point from 1918 paints a startling-picture.
Even with all our data-visualizations we don’t have all the information yet,
And the next part comes from what the Spanish Flu suggests will probably happen.
One of the things it did somehow mystifyingly, is to get absolutely everywhere in the world.
Even in the most remote places you can think of on Earth.
So even if Dr. Osterholm’s estimates for the US look too pessimistic for now,
Areas of the world like Africa and South America probably have not even begun to catch the bug.
And if it can tax the public health systems of the most developed (yet also unprepared) countries in the world,
There is no telling what it can or may do to the 3rd world.
First World Businesses Will Demand A Vaccine:
I guess on the bright side though, humanity has managed to come up with a vaccine for just about everything including smallpox,
Then we will find a way to eventually make a coronavirus-family vaccine.
Because this version of it will probably kill 1,000x more people and businesses than the first two versions of it ie: SARS & MERS, as you can see on the graphic.
This absolutely demands a response from all the biotech talent the world has to offer,
And nobody will be able to ignore Bill Gates’ 2015 prediction any more.
Remdesivir is only the beginning.
So it may seem bad now, but there is light at the end of the tunnel!
But just-in-case, keep your mask on in public and wash your hands. Coronavirus infographics can inform you, but staying safe is up to you!
Media Credits: Visual Capitalist, Nick LePan, Nick Routley, Harrison Schell
References & Links:
• Source: Visual Capitalist
• More Coverage: For more help on how to protect yourself from coronavirus, check with the CDC here | JHU’s Animated Covid-19 Case-Migration Maps | World History of Pandemics At Wikipedia