History of Global Pandemics

The year 2020 ushered in the all too well known virus, Covid-19. Although many people like to believe this is a once in a lifetime scenario, the truth is worldwide pandemics have been happening for as long as humans have been in existence.

Humanity has had to face many deadly viruses, such as the Plague of Athens 430 B.C., Plague of Cyprian A.D. 250 – 271, and the Black Death 1346 – 1353, just to name a few. Much more recently, researchers can look back on the Russian Plague, Philadelphia yellow Fever Epidemic, the Flu pandemic, and the Spanish Flu to see that plagues such as these are not only common in history, but they are occurring at an alarming rate.

In light of Covid-19, researchers are now forced to look back on the history of these pandemics to try and figure out how often they are occurring, and what can be done. The Russian Plague took place in 1770 – 1772, only twenty years prior to the Philadelphia yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793. The Philadelphia epidemic occurred only ninety-six years prior to the Flu pandemic of 1889 – 1890. And there was only a twenty-eight year lapse between the Flu pandemic and the Spanish flu of 1918 – 1920. When Covid-19 struck in 2020 it had been exactly one hundred years since the outbreak of the Spanish flu. At this rate some researchers are estimating a pandemic every hundred years is not too far fetched.

With the threat of worldwide pandemics threatening civilization every hundred years or less, the next viable question is, what can be done to help prevent any further outbreaks? Dr. Benjamin Cory Harow, a graduate from Stony Brook University of Medicine, and a trusted source when discussing the coronavirus pandemic, has some suggestions on ways to help keep safe during Covid-19 and ways to try to prevent the next pandemic. Most of his suggestions for staying healthy, during and after Covid-19, seem as though they are common sense practices. However, the year 2020 accompanied by the Coronavirus have shown just how little common sense there is to be had during a pandemic. Dr. Harow suggests the following: Hand washing for at least 20 seconds, wearing a mask when in public and around others who are not immediate family, disinfecting any surfaces that are being touched by multiple people, maintaining social distancing of at least six feet in public spaces, and staying home if there is someone in the household who is feeling ill.

History has shown that another worldwide pandemic is not a question of if, but a question of when. Dr. Harow has said that people need to be good citizens of a larger community in order to survive the Coronavirus and move past it. By implementing these simple steps into daily routine and life, people can start protecting themselves and others both during, and after, our current pandemic.