Pandemics are nothing new to the human race. Most of us are familiar with the basics of the “Spanish” Influenza of 1918-1920, but few know how many times the population was considerably affected by widespread, deadly disease throughout history.
It is doubtful that many people today know anything about the Plague of Athens, which occurred between 429 and 426 BC. Or the Antonine Plague, 165-180 AD, which killed at least 5 million, with estimates as high as 10 million souls lost. The Plague of Cyprian, 250-266 AD, claimed over a million lives, while the Plague of Justinian, 541-542 AD, eliminated up to 50% of the European population, with a toll of up to 100 million deaths. One third of Japan was wiped out by the Japanese Smallpox Epidemic of 735-737 AD. The Black Death, 1331-1353 AD, ran through Europe, destroying up to 60% of its inhabitants, totaling almost 200 million. In 1520 AD, 5-8 million Mexicans succumbed to smallpox, wiping out 40% of its populace. The New England Epidemic of 1616-1620 AD, killed 90% of Native Americans and European colonists in North America. One hundred years later, in 1720-1722 AD, the Great Plague of Marseilles devastated France. One hundred years after that, in 1816-1826, the Cholera Epidemic claimed over 200,000 lives, only to reappear a generation later, killing over a million Russian citizens.
Which brings us back to 100 years ago, 100 years after the cholera crisis. The “Spanish” Influenza was reminiscent in numbers of the Plague of Justinian, recording upwards of 100 million deaths worldwide. The first World War exacerbated the spread, affecting populations that would otherwise have remained untouched.
With the increased availability of overseas travel, it was easy to predict that this would occur again. But, with advancements in travel, there also came advancements in medicine, hygiene, sanitation, and communication. With so many resources at our disposal, we are doing an excellent job of staving off a grimmer outcome. As of April 17, 2020, the reported number of casualties worldwide from Covid-19 was 146,291.
This quarantine may be viewed as an inconvenience by some, and a life-or-death situation by others. It’s important to remember that human beings are strongest together. So, what does that look like in a time of social distance? It looks like we utilize all our means and effort to reach out and give hope to others. Please join us in spreading that hope, because distance doesn’t have to mean isolation.
Remember that through your participation in QuarantineScene.com, you will be part of the record. Your story will become a part of the global archive. Will historians a hundred years from now be able to use the submissions gathered here to evaluate and assess strategies for future outbreaks? We sincerely hope so. Join our worldwide journal, and TOGETHER, we’ll make history.