The World Health Organization (WHO) had declared the new coronavirus outbreak a “pandemic” due to the severity of the disease. The number of coronavirus infections has crossed 167 million cases, with more than 3 million deaths worldwide. According to WHO, a “pandemic” is a worldwide spread of a new disease at the same period, affecting a huge number of people.
If this is the most dreaded pandemic in world history, let’s check out 10 of the worst pandemics in history that caused distress worldwide:
One of the most dreaded plagues that arose in London from 1665–1666, killing more than 1,00,000 people across the state. The plague was so bad that all the public places and gatherings were banned for months and people painted a red cross on their doors with the mercy forgiveness plea, “Lord have mercy upon us”. This depicts the worst condition of the plague counter in the 17th century.
This 1918 influenza pandemic is among the most severe pandemics in recent history. The disease spread very quickly, decimating one-third of the world population. As many as 50 million died during that time. It is considered to be the most grievous hit of influenza in history.
The 1957–58 outbreak, also known as “Asian flu“, was a global pandemic that originated from China is regarded as an appalling influenza. It took around one million lives, making it one of the top worst-hit pandemics in world history.
Before COVID-19, it was among the recent worst pandemic. The 2009 swine flu pandemic was caused by a new wave of H1N1, which spread worldwide, creating havoc. It took the lives of 1–5 lakh people between 2009–2010. The 2009 flu primarily affected children and young adults, and 80% of its deaths were in people younger than 65.
HIV/AIDS is the one we are still battling. It’s still here, making HIV a chronic condition or disease. The end of this contagion still seems to be a long way. And the medication process is still in progress of the solution. The earliest recognised case is believed to be in 1959 in Congo. As of the statistics, at least 60 million people have contracted AIDS and more than 20 million people have died.
This is among the worst bubonic plague pandemics in human history, with a death toll of more than 100 million people. It is also called the black death, which began in 1346 and ended in 1353. The disease originated from rats in travelling ships, which docked in ports giving new breeding grounds.
The Black Death plague afflicted Africa, Europe and Asia. It was caused by rats making it the worst epidemic in human history and more than 100 million people lost their lives.
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) also caused havoc in 2002–2003 in Asia and Canada and other countries. It is caused by the highly infectious coronavirus SARS CoV. The virus speeded quickly and spread to 37 countries globally within a matter of weeks. The virus has symptoms like fever, chills and body aches and usually progressed to pneumonia.
The virus was contained in 2004, and since then, there are no reported cases of the SARS virus, but it is counted among the most serious virus of all time.
Another most extreme plague that hit the masses was the Antonine Plague that occurred in 165 AD killing more than 5 million people in the European region. It also spread to Asia, but in fewer regions. The symptoms were measles. Medical professionals were unable to deduct the reasons behind this, but it is also considered among the worst pandemic in the history of the world during the medieval period.
Covid-19 emerged in November 2019, in the region of Wuhan, China. The new virus spread quickly in people and with its pace, it has covered almost half of the world under its grip. The WHO declared Covid-19 a pandemic in March, and by the end of that month, the world saw more than a half million people get infected with it.
With the coronavirus pandemic, people worldwide have become more aware and cautious about hand-washing, social distancing, etc. Countries worldwide have initiated and executed several safety measures by closing schools, businesses and public places. No one can predict the outcome of Covid-19, but with safety measures and precautions, we can win this in the long term.
One of the most dreaded and second primogenital pandemics happened in history. It is said that it was the first bubonic plague in world history. It was first documented during the Constantinople Empire in 541 CE.
The plague speeded like wildfire across Europe, Asia, North Africa and other nations, killing more than 20 million people, as much as half the population. It’s considered among the most grievous pandemics of all time.
The most important aspect is that a disease isn’t inevitable; many countries have grappled with such pandemics from time to time. Here we can only make an effort to curb it, while some are successful in doing so and others may not. Nothing can devastate a pandemic, but nothing can fight the pandemic like us humans.