Already with millions of victims, COVID-19 is considered one of the greatest pandemics in human history. Pandemics, our health, has been part of our narrative, since the beginning of the human being. Today we are suffering from the coronavirus, but since we began to organize ourselves as a society and create communities in the same territorial space, contagious diseases took a special place in our history.
A brief history of pandemics
Over time there have been other pandemics that have left even more victims than the coronavirus.
Justinian’s plague struck in the 6th century and killed some 50 million people, perhaps half the world’s population at the time. The 14th century Black Death may have killed up to 200 million victims. Smallpox could have killed 300 million people in the 20th century.
Between 50 and 100 million people died in the 1918 flu pandemic (more than World War I). The 1918 influenza virus-infected one in three people on the planet.
Also, The human immunodeficiency viruses (HIV), is a pandemic that is still with us and still lacks a vaccine, has killed some 32 million people, and infected 75 million, with more added every day.
What history has taught us, and especially science, is that pandemics can be controlled, which is why the development of vaccines is so important.
Scientists tirelessly find a vaccine not only for COVID-19, but also for all diseases related to this virus, and for which thousands of people have died for more than ten years. We hope soon to be able to access not only effective treatment but also a vaccine that will protect us and erase another victim from history forever.
Photo: Doctors wore masks to prevent the flu at the US Army hospital. November 19, 1918. Army Hospital No. 4. Fort Porter, N.Y. during the 1918-19 “Spanish” influenza pandemic. From Everett Historical.