Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 32 n° 335

The worst pandemics in history

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 26 aprile 2020

Where is covid-19 in a list of worst pandemics in history? Never before have we seen a situation where almost the entire global economy has been under lockdown conditions. The covid-19 virus has caused something without precedent in economic history. Having said that, how severe is this pandemic relative to those seen through history? Or how severe could it end up
being? To answer this we’ve looked at 24 pandemics and epidemics over the last 2000 years where the historical literature suggests at least 100,000 fatalities. We have then calculated this as a proportion of the world’s population at the time. We appreciate that the world’s population has grown substantially over time and 100,000 was a much higher percentage at the start of this sample period than at the end. Nevertheless, this criterion covered virtually all of the major outbreaks seen in
the early years of this analysis partly because these viruses were more deadly back then with more rudimentary healthcare and poorer general health. Obviously there is much debate about how many people died from the various viruses, especially those further back through time. However, we have provided the best estimates based on comparing various sources. At the end we’ve included a table detailing the specific numbers for each outbreak. For modern context we’ve added MERS, SARS and Ebola to this even though they don’t qualify for the below analysis given their relatively low fatality tally. In conclusion, this is far from the worst pandemic in history, but its eventual likely lowly place relative to its historical peers in terms of severity will owe much to the lockdowns that probably wouldn’t have occurred in the past, mitigation going forward and perhaps to a future vaccine. Our intolerance in today’s society to anything close to the levels of fatalities seen through history, and our globally
connected world, mean that modern pandemics are likely to consistently be treated in the manner of covid-19 going forward.
As such we will probably have another global lockdown in our lifetimes, when the next pandemic passes through. Over the last century (after the Spanish Flu) if you correctly exclude MERS, Ebola and SARS – which killed fewer than 15,000 people
in total and were highly regional – we’ve now had five pandemics (four if you exclude HIV, which is not transmitted in a respiratory manner). The modern precedent has been set. (Copyright © 2020 Deutsche Bank AG)

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