Inligting

Pandemies


HISTORY.com dek 'n verskeidenheid hoeke oor pandemies uit die verlede om die COVID-19-krisis te help oprig.

Hoe die nalatenskap van die Eerste Wêreldoorlog die pandemie van 1918 verduister het

Die Eerste Wêreldoorlog het op 11 November 1918 tot 'n einde gekom - nege maande nadat die eerste gevalle van die sogenaamde "Spaanse griep" in die Verenigde State aangemeld is. Teen die agtergrond van die oorlog het die grieppandemie van 1918 toegeneem in 'n tyd toe mense reeds ondervind het ...lees meer

Die dodelikste gebeure in die Amerikaanse geskiedenis

Dit is 'n grimmige, maar noodsaaklike berekening, wat die Amerikaners wat in diens van hul land gesterf het, as teikens van terroriste -aanvalle, te midde van natuurrampe of as slagoffers van pandemiese siektes beskou. Hier is belangrike gebeurtenisse uit die geskiedenis wat 'n verwoestende tol opgelê het ...lees meer

As die hooggeregshof beslis het, kan 'n entstof verpligtend wees

In 1901 het 'n dodelike pokke -epidemie deur die noordooste geskeur, wat die gesondheidsrade van Boston en Cambridge genoop het om die inenting van alle inwoners te beveel. Maar sommige het geweier om die skoot te kry en beweer dat die entstofbevel hul persoonlike vryhede ingevolge die Grondwet geskend het. ...lees meer

Waarom die grieppandemie van 1918 nooit werklik geëindig het nie?

'N Ondenkbare 50 tot 100 miljoen mense wêreldwyd sterf aan die grieppandemie van 1918-1919, algemeen bekend as die' Spaanse griep '. Dit was die dodelikste wêreldwye pandemie sedert die Swart Dood, en skaars onder griepvirusse omdat dit jong en gesond geslaan het, dikwels binne enkele dae na ...lees meer

Hoe die griep -pandemie Halloween in 1918 verander het

'Hekse moet oppas', verklaar die Baltimore -Amerikaner op 31 Oktober 1918. Die kommissaris van die gesondheid in die stad Maryland het 'n verbod op openbare Halloween -geleenthede geplaas en die polisiehoof opdrag gegee om te verhoed dat mense 'karnavalle en ander vorme van openbare vieringe' hou. Die ...lees meer

Toe die Amerikaanse regering probeer om 'n griep-entstof vinnig op te spoor

Nadat privaat David Lewis op 4 Februarie 1976 ineengestort en gesterf het tydens 'n basiese opleidingsoefening by die Fort Dix in New Jersey, het 'n ondersoek na die 19-jarige se voortydige dood die oorsaak geïdentifiseer. Bloedtoetse is by die sentrum gedoen ...lees meer

5 hardverdiende lesse uit pandemies van die verlede

Die mensdom is veerkragtig. Terwyl wêreldwye pandemies soos die Bubonic Plague en 1918 -pandemie deur die eeue verwoesting op bevolkings gesaai het, het samelewings kritiese oorlewingstrategieë aangepas. Hier is vyf maniere waarop mense aangepas is by die lewe te midde van uitbrake van siektes. 1. Kwarantyn Die eerste ...lees meer

Toe Amerikaanse studente skoolgegaan het - buite

Toe die 20ste eeu aanbreek, het tuberkulose - ook bekend as verbruik, 'wit plaag' of 'wit dood' - die grootste oorsaak van dood in die Verenigde State geword. Die gevreesde longsiekte het na raming 450 Amerikaners per dag gedood, die meeste tussen die ouderdomme van 15 en 44. Op ...lees meer

5 vooruitgang wat gevolg het op pandemies

Pandemies het menslike beskawings deur die geskiedenis verwoes. Maar wêreldwye gesondheidskrisisse het ook vooruitgang in die kultuur en die samelewing veroorsaak en lewens ten goede verander. Water- en sanitasiestelsels het verbeter en onthullings het gelei tot vernuwings om die verspreiding van siektes te beperk, asook ...lees meer

Die opbloei na die Tweede Wêreldoorlog: Hoe Amerika in rat gekom het

In die somer van 1945, toe die Tweede Wêreldoorlog tot 'n einde gekom het, was die Amerikaanse ekonomie op die rand van 'n onsekere toekoms. Sedert die oproep van president Franklin D. Roosevelt aan die einde van 1940 dat die Verenigde State as die "arsenaal van demokrasie" dien, het die Amerikaanse industrie opgetree ...lees meer


Peste en pandemies: wanneer die geskiedenis herhaal word

Toe professor in geskiedenis Geskiedenis Dyan Elliott in Januarie 'n nuwe klas oor pandemies begin aanbied het, het sy geen idee gehad dat die kursus in die nuus van vandag sou val nie.

Die kursus van Elliott, "The Black Death and Other Pandemics", het temas ondersoek wat gereeld oor pandemies gepas is. Van herhaalde episodes van die buikplaag tot die plaag van pokke tot die huidige uitbraak van COVID-19, bly die lesse uit die geskiedenis tydig en relevant.

Hier deel Elliott, die Peter B. Ritzma -professor in geesteswetenskappe, 'n paar van die lesse, sowel as haar inspirasie vir die klas, met die mede -direkteur van inhoudstrategie College, Rebecca Lindell.

Kan u die klas beskryf en wat dit dek?

Ek is 'n middeleeuse historikus en het aanvanklik probeer om meer mense in die middeleeuse dinge te laat belangstel, en dit lyk asof die dood en rampspoed verkoop word. Die Swart Dood, wat Europa tussen 1347 en 1350 getref het, was die grootste pandemie wat nog ooit aangeteken is. Trouens, ons het nog steeds uitbrake van die builepes, wat die siekte is wat verantwoordelik is vir die Swart Dood. En dan het ek gedink dat die kursus aantrekliker sou wees as dit transnasionaal of selfs transhistories was: kom ons kyk na verskillende soorte pandemies. Dus, benewens die Swart Dood, het ons pokke ondersoek, hoofsaaklik gefokus op die Nuwe Wêreld en die manier waarop Europese koloniste die Eerste Nasies met gifkomberse en dies meer doodgemaak het. En dan bestudeer ons cholera-uitbrake in die middel van die 19de eeu in Londen en die 20ste-eeuse tuberkulose in Venezuela en Haïti en die opkoms van die sanitorium in Europa en die Amerikaanse malaria en muskiete in Indië en Italië VIGS in Afrika en die Verenigde State, ensovoorts . Ons het geëindig met die koronavirus, alhoewel ons dit natuurlik nie beplan het nie. Die laaste klas was oorspronklik op Ebola.

Die klas fokus dus op die wetenskaplike en sosiale aspekte van die pandemies.

Ek sou altyd begin deur die bakterie of die virus te beskryf. Maar ek is nie 'n dokter nie. Ek is meer geïnteresseerd in die historiese implikasies van wat hierdie pandemies aan mense doen en hoe hulle reageer, en in die suksesse en mislukkings wat ons mettertyd gehad het. In werklikheid was die enigste ding waarvan ons ooit absoluut ontslae geraak het pokke, wat in 1980 amptelik deur die Wêreldgesondheidsorganisasie uitgeskakel is. Dit is die enigste wat ons ooit geslaan het.

Daar is baie ander siektes wat ons waarskynlik nooit sal kan uitskakel nie - soos die builepes, wat reservoirs in diere bevolkings bevat waarby ons nooit sal kan kom nie. En dan is daar nog ander dinge wat uitdagend bly - soos virusse wat aanhou muteer.

Wat my regtig fassineer, is die manier waarop verskillende bakterieë en virusse baie hard werk om lewensvatbaar te bly. In die 19de eeu was cholera byvoorbeeld so dodelik dat die menslike leërskare baie vinnig gesterf het. Maar dit het in die 1960's tot 'n ligter vorm verander, en baie draers was asimptomaties, soos ons nou sien met COVID-19. Mense wat nie weet dat hulle dit het nie, kan dit versprei. Dit is ook wat met cholera in Haïti gebeur het na die aardbewing in 2010. Dit is versprei deur vredesmagte van die Verenigde Nasies wat moontlik nie geweet het dat hulle siek is nie, of ten minste nie geweet het dat hulle iets so ernstigs as cholera het nie.

Wat het u in die eerste plek laat belangstel in plae en pandemies?

Om eerlik te wees, my oorspronklike bekommernis was dat niemand aandag gee aan die verre verlede nie. Ek wou studente wys hoe die verlede nog steeds by ons is en die hede inlig.

En ons het baie vroeg begin. Die eerste waarneming van die builepes was in die 7de eeu tydens die Bisantynse ryk. Die keiser, Justinianus, het probeer om die westelike deel van die Romeinse Ryk, wat deur Germaanse barbare oorval is, te verower. Dit is dus een van die wonderlike 'wat as' vrae - as Justinianus se leërs nie deur die buikplaag gedood was nie, sou die Romeinse Ryk dan herenig gewees het? Kon dit voortgegaan het?

Siekte skep sulke interessante soorte vrae. Miskien is dit die val van ons ryk. Ons weet nie.

Watter temas lyk konsekwent in die geskiedenis met betrekking tot die manier waarop mense op 'n pandemie reageer?

Die mate van ontkenning en blaamverskuiwing is redelik konsekwent.

Byvoorbeeld, cholera is aanvanklik versprei deur fekale inname-ten minste die klassieke of sogenaamde 'Asiatiese' cholera. Maar toe die minder dodelike vorm na vore kom, het [microbioloog van die Universiteit van Maryland] Rita Colwell aangevoer dat dit in 'n watertoevoer kan bestaan ​​sonder dat 'n menslike gasheer in staat is om te dormant en dan onder sekere omstandighede op te vlam. Mense kyk na die teorie om die cholera -uitbraak in Haïti te verduidelik. Maar dan was daar al hierdie ondersoekende beriggewing wat eintlik getoon het dat daar 'n basis van die Verenigde Nasies was wat eintlik ontlasting direk in 'n rivier gestort het wat 'n hoofwaterbron was. Daar was baie heen en weer en blaam, en uiteindelik het die VN verantwoordelikheid aanvaar, maar hulle het nooit terugbetaal nie.

En so hoor ons vandag, met COVID-19, baie samesweringsteorieë. Sommige mense in China sê dat dit 'n Amerikaanse uitvinding kan wees, terwyl president Trump dit die 'Chinese virus' noem en die wegrapingslaboratoriums die skuld gee. Daar is altyd pogings om sekere segmente van die bevolking te sondebok. Tydens die Swart Dood het die Christelike meerderheid Jode daarvan beskuldig dat hulle putte vergiftig het. Toe die plaag in die 19de-eeuse Indië uitgebreek het, het hulle die armes die skuld gegee. Tydens die vigs -krisis het evangeliese Christene die gay -gemeenskap die skuld gegee en geglo dat hulle gestraf word vir hul sondige optrede.

Mense wil dus die skuld gee vir pandemies.

Ek dink so. Of om die skuld van die self weg te stoot.

'N Ander ding wat ek baie interessant vind - en ons het dit gesien met die ontwikkeling van die kiemteorie - is dat jy mense sien meeding eerder as om met mekaar saam te werk. Byvoorbeeld, in die 1800's het Louis Pasteur en Robert Koch albei terselfdertyd probeer om na cholera te gaan. Sommige van Pasteur se manne het in 1883 in Egipte siek geword, en toe hulle uiteindelik terugkeer huis toe, het hulle verneem dat Koch na Indië verhuis het en 'n deurbraak gemaak het. Wat hulle nie gedoen het nie, was om saam te werk. En ons het dieselfde soort mededingende ding sien gebeur tussen die Engelse en die Italianers met malaria, tussen die Europeërs en die Japanners met die ontdekking van Yersinia Pestis (die patogeen vir die builepes), en selfs tussen die Amerikaners en die Franse tydens die VIGS -epidemie.

Nou praat ons oor die vind van 'n entstof vir COVID-19. Ek hoop dat die navorsingsgemeenskap vorentoe beweeg in 'n gees van samewerking, eerder as in 'n bisarre nasionalistiese manier om krediet te kry vir wetenskaplike deurbrake.

Is daar op die oomblik iets positiefs wat ons uit die verlede kan opdoen oor ons vooruitsigte?

Ek sou sê dat die menslike natuur op baie maniere nie verander nie. Mense sal altyd probeer om dinge soos hebsug teen veiligheid of die ekonomie teen veiligheid te balanseer. Ons sien pogings om grense te sluit en om kwarantyn te plaas, maar om mense uit die weg te hou, hou die pandemie gewoonlik nie in die steek nie, alhoewel daar 'n sekere logika in is. Sosiale distansie is eintlik 'n ingeslote kwarantyn.

Daar is soveel vrees en agterdog, nie net oor siektes nie, maar ook rondom medisyne. Dit blyk ook 'n herhalende tema te wees gedurende hierdie plae en pandemies.

Dit is reg. Dit is 'n ander ding wat nie verander nie. Daar is byvoorbeeld geen bewyse dat sommige van die middels wat bevorder word, soos hidroksi -chloorokien, nuttig is nie en moontlik baie skade kan berokken. Maar mense het nog altyd met hierdie verskillende soorte neusgange vorendag gekom. In die Middeleeuse bronne kan u aanbevelings vind om suur te eet, omdat hulle gedink het dat die sure op een of ander manier in die liggaam kan doodmaak wat u kan benadeel. Koerante het advertensies geplaas vir inasemers wat belowe om tuberkulose te genees, met behulp van giftige poeiers soos kwiknitraat. Miskien werk sommige van die mense te goeder trou. Maar ek dink ook dat daar altyd mense was wat tydens siektes dink: "Wow, ek kan regtig 'n fortuin hier verdien."

En ontkenning. Daar sal altyd 'n mate van ontkenning wees, dat dit ons nie kan seermaak nie, dit kan inhou, sulke dinge.

Is dit algemeen vir pandemies? 'N Aanvanklike gevoel dat ons op een of ander manier immuun is?

Interessant genoeg, nie soseer met die Swart Dood nie. Dit was so ongekend en so vinnig dat die bevolking in skok was. Dit lyk asof die siekte niemand ontsien het nie. Dit word beskou as God se straf vir die mensdom se sondigheid. Maar histories sien ons dat welgestelde mense hulself doeltreffender van siektes kan isoleer as die armes, sodat hulle dit miskien kan bekostig om ontkenning te doen. Selfs in die eerste stormloop van die Swart Dood dui die rekords daarop dat die lede van die adel en die hoër geestelikes min of meer ongedeerd na vore gekom het deur vergelyking.

Pokke was waarskynlik meer egalitêr. Maar sodra die Europeërs 'n immuniteit gehad het, kon hulle dit as 'n biologiese wapen teen die Eerste Nasies gebruik, en hulle het dit gedoen. Oor die algemeen beskerm rykdom u teen sekere dinge. Cholera word veroorsaak deur swak watervoorsiening. En wie het swak watervoorsiening? Die armes, nie waar nie?

En nou kan u voorspel op grond van hul poskode watter mense die ergste deur COVID-19 geraak sal word. Die rykes kan hulle dus dikwels verdedig teen hierdie aaklige sosiale tragedies.

Sien u 'n patroon in hoe pandemies tot 'n einde kom? Hoe kom hulle uiteindelik onder beheer?

Die McKeown -tesis dui daarop dat die grootste verbeterings in gesondheidsorg nie deur medisyne, maar deur verbeterings in openbare gesondheid en sanitasie plaasgevind het. Daar is baie waarheid daaraan. Om cholera uit te skakel, gaan byvoorbeeld eintlik oor goeie higiëne en sorg dat die watertoevoer skoon is. En tot 'n mate kan u sê dat COVID-19 ontstaan ​​het as gevolg van gebreke in die openbare gesondheid-deur die nat markte in China en in oorbevolkte stede wêreldwyd.

Maar COVID-19 lyk besonders aansteeklik. Dit lyk asof die virus baie lank onafhanklik kan "lewe". Dit is nie heeltemal nuut nie. Nadat 'n Middeleeuse rot met die builplaag besmet geraak het, kan 'n vlooi wat dit besmet het, byvoorbeeld 'n paar dae lank in 'n wa hooi oorleef. Maar tog, vir 'n virus om so lank van vlekvrye staal of plastiek te kan lewe, soos die koronavirus blykbaar kan doen - is dit ongelooflik. Dit wys hoe 'slim' virusse lyk. Hulle lewe nie regtig nie, maar hulle neem die lewe aan. Sodra hulle 'n sel binnedring, vermeerder en vermeerder hulle.

Dit lyk asof ons ons samelewing en ons ekonomie in wese gesluit het in 'n poging om hierdie pandemie te bekamp. Het vorige samelewings tot stilstand gekom elke keer as daar 'n buikplaag was?

Die Swart Dood is deur handel versprei, en daar was eintlik 'n soort sosiale ineenstorting vir drie of vier jaar toe dinge regtig sleg was.

U kan dit sien in die Decameron van Giovanni Boccaccio, wat in 1353 voltooi is in die nasleep van die Swart Dood. Dit begin met 'n baie grafiese en gruwelike beskrywing van die Swart Dood in Florence. Om die pes te ontsnap, het 'n groep adellikes (wat in Italië die handelaarsklas was) op hul perde geklim en uitgery na 'n verlate villa, waar hulle gesit het en vir mekaar stories vertel het. Dus was hulle beslis nie soos gewoonlik in die stad nie.

En die ding met die builepes is dat dit endemies is vir 'n gebied, so dit sal eeue lank herhaal word en altyd ekonomiese verwoesting kan veroorsaak. Toe die builepes in die 17de-eeuse Barcelona herhaal word, is die stad in kwarantyn geplaas en het alles tot stilstand gekom.

Hoe het u die opkoms van COVID-19 in die klas opgeneem?

Ons het meestal by die leerplan gehou. Toe die kursus vroeg in Maart eindig, het ons nie veel geweet van die virus nie: dit is pas COVID-19 genoem, en president Trump noem dit steeds 'n "hoax." Ek het dus gepraat oor die nuusdekking: die geografiese verspreiding van die virus, die lot van die groot vaartuie, die verspreiding van die virus in die kerk in Suid -Korea, ens. 'n bietjie koek om die einde van die kwartaal te vier. Daar staan ​​'Pandemic 2020' en daar was 'n klein rooi koronavirus op. Noudat dinge so erg is, klink dit asof ek 'n baie makabere sin vir humor het.

Maar niemand het geweet hoe sleg dit gaan gaan nie - maar ek moes miskien na die onderrig van hierdie kursus geweet het. Ek het 'n hersieningsklas gehou tydens die leesweek, maar toe kry ons kennisgewings wat sê dat eksamens opsioneel is, en gou word ons meegedeel dat die lente -kwartaal op afstand geleer word.

Sal jy weer die klas leer?

Ek sal met verlof wees in 2020-21, maar ek bied dit die jaar daarna aan. Ek is seker daar is 'n vurige groep wat gereed is om te hoor oor pandemies. Dit lyk egter vreemd dat ek hierdie jaar klas gegee het, aangesien ek 'n Middeleeuse historikus is wat oor die algemeen aan kerkgeskiedenis werk. Maar ek wou 'n klas aanbied wat sou wys dat die verre verlede baie interessant en relevant is. En ek dink hierdie kursus het dit gedoen.

Beeld: Rita Greer, Die Groot Pes 1665 (2009). Gedigitaliseerde beeld gelisensieer deur die Free Art License.

Deel jou storie

As u 'n alumnus of student van Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences is, laat ons weet hoe u op die pandemie reageer.


Verwysings

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Alfani, G en T Murphy (2017), "Pes en dodelike epidemies in die pre-industriële wêreld", Journal of Economic History 77(1): 314–343.

Bourdelais, P (1987), Une peur bleue: histoire du choléra en France. 1832-1854, Parys: Payot.

Campbell, B M S (2016), Die Groot Oorgang. Klimaat, siekte en samelewing in die laat-Middeleeuse wêreld, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Fochesato, M (2018), "Origins or Europe's North-South Divide: Bevolkingsveranderinge, reële lone en die 'Little Divergence' in Early Modern Europe", Verkennings in die ekonomiese geskiedenis 70: 91-131.

Jedwab, R, N Johnson en M Koyama (2020), "The Economic Impact of the Black Death", Tydskrif vir ekonomiese letterkunde, komende.

Johnson, N en Mueller J (2002), "Die opdatering van die rekeninge: globale sterftes van die 'Spaanse' grieppandemie van 1918-1920", Bulletin of the History of Medicine 76: 105–115

Karlsson, M, T Nillson en S Pichler (2014), "Die impak van die Spaanse griepepidemie van 1918 op die ekonomiese prestasie in Swede. 'N Ondersoek na die gevolge van 'n buitengewone sterfteskok ", Journal of Health Economics 36: 1-19.

Kohn, G C (2007), Ensiklopedie van plaag en pes - derde uitgawe, New York: feite oor lêers.

Milanovic, B (2016), Globale ongelykheid: 'n nuwe benadering vir die era van globalisering, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

OESO (2020), Werkvooruitsigte 2020, Parys: OESO.

Piketty, T (2014), Kapitaal in die een en twintigste eeu, Cambridge MA: Belknap Press van Harvard University Press.

Piketty, T, G Postel-Vinay en JL Rosenthal (2006), "Rykdomskonsentrasie in 'n ontwikkelende ekonomie: Parys en Frankryk, 1807-1994", Amerikaanse Ekonomiese Oorsig 96(1):236–256.

Piketty, T, G Postel-Vinay en JL Rosenthal (2014), "Inherited vs self-made wealth: theory and evidence from a rentier society (Paris 1872–1937)", Verkennings in die ekonomiese geskiedenis 51:21–40.

Scheidel, W (2017), The Great Leveler: Geweld en die geskiedenis van ongelykheid vanaf die steentydperk tot die een-en-twintigste eeu, Princeton: Princeton University Press.


Die pandemie en geskiedenis

Vier historici oorweeg of die ervaring van die pandemie hul siening oor die aard van historiese krisisse verander het.

'Die afgelope jaar het die onderling verbonde aard van gebeure beklemtoon'

Alex von Tunzelmann, Skrywer van Blood and Sand: Suez, Hongarye en die krisis wat die wêreld geskud het (Simon & Schuster, 2016)

Die antwoord op hierdie vraag is streng nee: die feite van hierdie pandemie en die reaksie het nie die feite of aard van vorige krisisse verander nie. Maar in breë trekke, het ek my laat nadink oor hoe ek historiese krisisse op drie maniere benader: fokus, verbindings en ervaring.

Die aard van krisisse is dat dit ongelooflik ingewikkeld is. Die 'warm' tydperk van die Suez -krisis het ongeveer 16 dae geduur. Dit het my meer as drie jaar geneem om daaroor navorsing te doen en te skryf, want oor die hele wêreld was soveel verskillende magte en belange betrokke: dit het saamgeval met die Hongaarse rebellie en dreig om die Sowjetunie en die VSA in 'n Derde Wêreldoorlog te lok. Toekomstige historici sal die pandemie moet rekonstrueer vanuit 'n wêreldwye berg van inligting, insluitend sosiale media sowel as konvensionele media. My advies aan hulle (en aan myself) is om te fokus: dit is beter om een ​​storie goed te vertel as om oorweldig te word deur die materiaal.

Die ervaring van die afgelope jaar het die onderling verbonde aard van gebeure in 'n krisis onderstreep. Ek stel byvoorbeeld belang in die verskynsel van samesweringsteorieë en ontkenning, wat in baie historiese krisisse ontstaan. Dit sou moeilik wees om die verhaal van Covid-ontkenners te vertel sonder om dit in die afgelope dekades van die 'anti-vaxx'-beweging, die uitbreiding van samesweringsteorieë, die erosie van tradisionele media, die agteruitgang van vertroue in die regering, ens. . Die aard van krisisse en krisisreaksies is dat dit nie in 'n vakuum plaasvind nie. Om hierdie verbande te ondersoek, maak dit nog moeiliker vir 'n historikus om fokus te behou, maar dit is deel van die uitdaging.

Ten slotte, diversiteit van ervaring. Die pandemie het vir baie mense lyding gebring. Tog is daar 'n groot aantal mense wat redelik onverskillig hieroor is. Daar is diegene wat wesenlik baat gevind het by die pandemie en diegene wat die gevolge daarvan wil ontken of verminder. Vir historici van krisisse uit die verlede is dit 'n herinnering daaraan dat menslike verhale nooit eenvoudig is nie; ons moet nooit 'n enkele reaksie aanvaar nie. Die aard van menslike ervarings en menings is altyd verstommend uiteenlopend.

'Dit het my begrip van die emosionele reaksie op sulke gebeure verdiep'

Jessie Childs, Skrywer van God's Traitors: Terror and Faith in Elizabethaanse Engeland (Oesjaar, 2014)

Toe die versorgers van die uitgebrande kerk van St Sepulchre byeengekom het na die Groot Brand in Londen in 1666, het hulle baie dinge vinnig vasgestel: 'n nuwe ontmoetingswyse, 'n lys van die kwesbaarste pensioenarisse en 'n stel veiligheidsmaatreëls. Hulle maak die strate weer oop, maak die brandweerwaens reg en maak die gesmelte klokmetaal weer in 'klank en afstelbare klokke'.

Die impulse - om te hergroepeer, te beskerm en as 'n gemeenskap bymekaar te kom - is herhaal deur die pandemie. Van klap op Britse drumpels tot sing van Italiaanse balkonne, 'n gevoel van campanilismo (lojaliteit aan die kloktoring) was sterk. Die pandemie versterk ook die siening dat die meeste mense, as hulle voor 'n eksistensiële bedreiging te staan ​​kom, sekuriteit bo vryheid sal prioritiseer. Hobbes maak steeds saak.

Dit is ook geen verrassing dat die pandemie die krake in die samelewing blootgelê en verdiep het en verdere spanning op die ekonomie, gesondheidsorg en onderwys veroorsaak het nie. Dit het my siening oor die aard van historiese krisisse, wat in elk geval uiteenlopend, kontingent en moeilik om te distilleer is, nie verander nie, maar dit het my begrip van die emosionele reaksies op sulke gebeure verdiep.

Gedurende die afsluitings het ek geskryf oor die Britse burgeroorloë van die 1640's. 'N Kombinasie van natuurlike en mensgemaakte faktore het van die 17de eeu 'n' globale krisis 'gemaak, in die uitdrukking van Geoffrey Parker. Diegene wat dit deurgemaak het, lyk soms soos ystermanne en -vroue. Dit is nou makliker om hul woede, verwarring, afguns, skynbare apatie en buitengewone veerkragtigheid te waardeer. Omdat ek met tuisonderrig worstel, vergewe ek meer lacunae in registers en dagboeke. Tydgenote het gepraat van hul 'afgeleide' tye. Ek het altyd gedink dit is 'n eufemisme, maar nou besef ek dat dit presies die regte woord is.

Vorige krisisse toon aan dat stede en state uit die as van 'n ramp kan opstaan, maar dit verg geïnspireerde leierskap en baie werk. Die Britse toets -en -spoorskema was afskuwelik, die uitrol van die entstof was wonderlik. Dit kan wees dat ons 'beter kan terugbou', soos die slagspreuk lui, 'n nuwe ewewig kan vind en miskien selfs ligter op die aarde kan trap. Maar op hierdie stadium is dit te vroeg om te sê.

'Dit laat my dink wat nou gebeur, is anders'

Anthony Barnett, Skrywer van The Lure of Greatness: Engeland se Brexit en Amerika se Trump (Ongebonde, 2017)

Ja en nee. Nee: historiese krisisse was soos dit was. Pandemies verskerp gewoonlik, maar verander nie die bestaande vorme van heerskappy nie. Met die uitsondering van die Swart Dood, wat blykbaar die waarde van arbeid verander het vanweë die omvang van die verliese, verander natuurrampe soos plae nie die aard van 'n samelewing nie. Dit is 'n uitdaging wat bestaande probleme versterk, maar nie 'n sistemiese krisis veroorsaak nie.

In die 20ste eeu word pandemies steeds as die noodlot beskou: die grieppandemie van 1919-22 het meer mense as die Eerste Wêreldoorlog doodgemaak, maar min erfenis nagelaat. Net so ook die pandemies van 1957 en 1968. As u nog nie daarvan gehoor het nie, bewys dit die punt. VIGS en Ebola was dodelik vir die gemeenskappe wat geraak is, maar dit het nie 'n 'historiese krisis' geword nie.

Hierdie pandemie is anders. Dit het my nie daartoe gelei om my siening oor wat in die verlede gebeur het te verander nie, maar dit laat my dink wat nou gebeur, is anders.

Tot onlangs was alles wat gedoen kon word, stadige infeksiesyfers: fatalisme was onvermydelik. Namate die mensdom in staat was tot egte selforganisasie, is 'n kultus van fatalisme veroorsaak om heersers teen gewilde agentskappe te beskerm. Dit word 'markfundamentalisme' of 'neoliberalisme' genoem en het daarop aangedring dat die regering die probleem is en dat markkragte gehoorsaam moet word om 'n beter lewe te verkry.

Ekonomies eindig die sukses daarvan met die finansiële ineenstorting van 2008-09. Nou, polities en sosiaal, is die hegemoniese regeringsteorie deur 'n mikro-organisme omvergewerp. Groot vooruitgang in die mediese wetenskap en tegnologie het beteken dat Covid behandel kon word. In 1919 was daar nie intensiewe sorgeenhede wat pasiënte onder 24-uur sedasie kon behandel nie. Daar was dus nie die gevaar dat lewensreddende sale op dieselfde manier oorweldig word nie. Regerings moes optree.

President Macron het gesê: 'Ons gaan die lone en die wins -en -verliesrekeninge van byna al ons ondernemings nasionaliseer. Dit is teen al die dogmas, maar dit is hoe dit is. '' N Groot poging sal aangewend word om die ou orde te herstel na sy tydperk in intensiewe sorg, maar dit is onwaarskynlik dat dit onveranderd kan verskyn-die pandemie het 'n historiese krisis veroorsaak van sy eie.

'Die pandemie het die ramp wat gedurende die 16de eeu in die nuwe wêreld plaasgevind het, lewendiger gemaak'

Camilla Townsend, Skrywer van Vyfde son: 'n nuwe geskiedenis van die Asteke (Oxford University Press, 2019)

Deur die pandemie te leef, het die ramp wat gedurende die 16de eeu in die Nuwe Wêreld plaasgevind het, meer lewendig geword. Na kontak met Europa en sy virusse, het die inheemse bevolking van Amerika in die loop van die eerste eeu met minstens 85 persent gedaal. Teen die 1580's was sommige Spanjaarde bang dat letterlik alle inheemse Amerikaners sou sterf.

Vanweë hierdie afskuwelike konteks was daar by baie moderne mense 'n neiging om te praat van 'sterfgevalle', te beweer dat ongeveer die helfte van die bevolking sou sterf as 'n epidemie plaasvind, of selfs om die verowering te verduidelik as gevolg van die feit dat soveel mense aan siekte gesterf het dat hulle nie militêr kon terugveg nie.

Maar die geskiedenis van die Asteke praat nie op hierdie manier van gebeure nie. In plaas daarvan dra hulle 'n blywende hartseer oor. Nou, ek verstaan ​​beter hoekom.

Hoewel die grootste deel van die wêreld die afgelope jaar relatief suksesvol versag het deur mense tuis te hou, was daar sakke wat die totale sterftesyfer van Covid-2 in sekere gebiede in New York, byvoorbeeld, of vierkantige blokgebiede in New Jersey, ervaar het. Ek leef. Die geluid van die sirenes, die verhale uit my studente se gesinne en my eie vrees vir geliefdes, laat my getraumatiseer voel. Maar 'n paar maande later het die lewe vir die meeste van ons voortgegaan en ons het weer maniere gevind om te lag. Ons glimlagte was wankelrig, maar eg.

In die 16de eeu kan pokke tussen 20 en 30 persent van diegene wat dit gevang het, doodmaak. Meer algemene siektes, soos kinkhoes of masels, het 'n laer sterftesyfer. Daar was geen afsterwe wat die hele dorp oornag leeg gelaat het nie. In plaas daarvan het mense deurgemaak deur iets soos 'n verswakte Covid, 'n paar jaar later, maar tien keer erger, dan die volgende jaar, 'n slegte griepseisoen, dan in 'n dekade, iets wat twee keer so erg was. Na dekades hiervan voel hulle so kwesbaar dat hul sielkundiges nie weet watter kant toe nie. Hulle het gefokus op klein oorwinnings. In 'n verslag in 'n klein kerk in die 1620's het 'n man geskryf: 'Vandag het niemand se kind gesterf nie.' Die oorlewendes het soms die volgende jaar nog gelag, maar teen daardie tyd het hul gevoel vir hulself in verhouding met die heelal vir ewig verander.


1858-1859: Skarlakenrooi

Skarlakenkoors het 2 089 mense, waarvan die meeste 16 jaar of jonger was, in Massachusetts doodgemaak tussen Desember 1858 en Desember 1859. Sommige van die kinders was in diens, maar die arbeidsmag het 450 000 mense oorskry, sodat die gevolge van die epidemie meer emosioneel was as ekonomies. Diegene wat siek was in kwarantyn, maar gesonde mense het soos gewoonlik voortgegaan.

Die Boston-aandelemark was gedurende 1859 in 'n bulmodus. Die meeste bank- en sommige versekeringsaandele het steeds gebonde gebly, maar ander versekeraars, waaronder American, Boston, Boylston, City en Commercial, het sterk gestyg. Boonop het die spoorweg Boston en Lowell gedurende die jaar van $ 89 tot $ 98 per aandeel toegeneem, en die spoorweë Boston en Providence en Boston en Worcester het beskeie gestyg.

Die grootste wins van die jaar was in die vervaardiging. Amoskeag het oor die jaar gestyg van $ 890 tot $ 1.000 per aandeel, Appleton van $ 950 tot $ 1.000, Bates van $ 85 tot $ 106, Boott van $ 470 tot $ 725, Boston en Roxbury Mill Dam van $ 29 tot $ 50, en Boston Duck van $ 375 tot $ 500.


Vergelyk COVID-19 met vorige pandemies

In hierdie artikel kyk ons ​​terug na sommige van die ander pandemies wat mense ondergaan het. Ons ondersoek onder meer cholera, die Swart Dood en die Spaanse griep. Ons neem kennis van enige ooreenkomste en neem lesse waar ons kan.

Deel op Pinterest Alhoewel COVID-19 niks is wat die meeste van ons nog ooit beleef het nie, is pandemies niks nuuts nie.

Pandemies het deur die eeue 'n rol gespeel in die vorming van die menslike geskiedenis. Min mense wat dit vandag lees, sal uitbrake op hierdie skaal onthou, maar die geskiedenis wys dat alhoewel dit verwoestend is, niks ongewoons is nie.

Vir duidelikheid is dit die moeite werd om te verduidelik wat 'pandemie' beteken. Die Wêreldgesondheidsorganisasie (WGO) definieer 'n pandemie as 'die wêreldwye verspreiding van 'n nuwe siekte'.

Eerstens raak ons ​​die ander pandemie aan die gang.

Met groot verbeterings in behandeling, inligting, diagnostiese vermoëns en toesig in Westerse lande, is dit maklik om te vergeet dat kenners MIV steeds as 'n pandemie beskou.

Sedert die vroeë tagtigerjare het MIV die lewe van meer as 32 miljoen mense geëis. Aan die einde van 2018 leef ongeveer 37,9 miljoen mense met MIV.

Alhoewel MIV ook deur 'n virus veroorsaak word, is daar beduidende verskille tussen die twee huidige pandemies, die duidelikste is die oordragmiddel. Anders as SARS-CoV-2, wat die virus is wat COVID-19 veroorsaak, kan MIV nie deur hoes en nies oorgedra word nie.

Vergelykend versprei COVID-19 baie makliker deur gemeenskappe. Within a matter of weeks, SARS-CoV-2 made it to every continent on Earth except Antarctica.

Another important difference is that there are currently no drugs that can treat or prevent COVID-19. Although there is no vaccine for HIV, thanks to antiretroviral medications, people who have access to care can now live long and healthy lives.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), between April 2009 and April 2010, the swine flu pandemic affected an estimated 60.8 million people. There were an estimated 274,304 hospitalizations and 12,469 deaths.

Both swine flu and the novel coronavirus cause symptoms such as fever, chills, a cough, and headaches.

Like SARS-CoV-2, the (H1N1)pdm09 virus was also significantly different from other known strains. This meant that most people did not have any natural immunity.

Interestingly, however, some older adults did have immunity, suggesting that (H1N1)pdm09 or something similar might have infected large numbers of people a few decades before. Because of this immunity, 80% of fatalities occurred in people younger than 65.

This is not the case with SARS-CoV-2 all age groups seem to be equally likely to contract it, and older adults are most at risk of developing severe illness. It is possible that certain groups of people have a level of immunity against SARS-CoV-2, but researchers have not yet identified such a group.

The overall mortality rate of swine flu was around 0.02% . According to recent estimates, which are likely to change as the pandemic progresses, this is somewhat lower than that of COVID-19. Also, swine flu was less contagious than COVID-19.

The basic reproduction number (R0) of swine flu is 1.4 to 1.6 . This means that each individual with swine flu is likely to transmit the virus to an average of 1.4 to 1.6 people. In contrast, scientists believe that the R0 of COVID-19 is between 2 and 2.5 , or perhaps higher.

To further muddy the water, some experts have calculated that the R0 number may fluctuate depending on the size of the initial outbreak.

Over the past 200 years, cholera has reached pandemic proportions seven times. Experts class the cholera outbreak of 1961–1975 as the seventh pandemic.

Cholera is a bacterial infection of the small intestine by certain strains of Vibrio cholerae. It can be fatal within hours . The most common symptom is diarrhea, though muscle cramps and vomiting can also occur.

Although immediate rehydration treatment is successful in up to 80% of cases, the mortality rate of cholera can be up to 50% without treatment. This is many times higher than even the highest estimates for COVID-19. Cholera occurs when a person ingests contaminated food or water.

The seventh pandemic was caused by a strain of V. cholerae called El Tor, which scientists first identified in 1905. The outbreak appears to have begun on the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia. From there, it spread to Bangladesh, India, and the Soviet Union, including Ukraine and Azerbaijan.

By 1973, the outbreak had also reached Japan, Italy, and the South Pacific. In the 1990s, though the pandemic had officially ended, the same strain reached Latin America, a region that had not experienced cholera for 100 years. There, there were at least 400,000 cases and 4,000 deaths.

As with COVID-19, hand-washing is essential for stopping the spread of cholera. However, to prevent cholera , access to safe water and good food hygiene are just as important.

In the spring of 1918, health professionals detected an H1N1 virus in United States military personnel.

From January 1918 to December 1920, this virus — which appears to have moved from birds to humans — infected an estimated 500 million people. This equates to 1 in 3 people on Earth. The virus killed around 675,000 people in the U.S. alone and approximately 50 million people worldwide.

This strain of influenza, like COVID-19, was transmitted through respiratory droplets.

As with COVID-19, older adults were most at risk of developing severe symptoms. However, in stark contrast to COVID-19, the Spanish flu also impacted children under the age of 5 and adults aged 20–40.

In fact, a 25-year-old was more likely to die from the Spanish flu than a 74-year-old. This is unusual for flu.

COVID-19, however, generally affects children in relatively minor ways, and adults aged 20–40 are significantly less likely to develop severe symptoms than older adults.

As with swine flu, it may be that older adults at this time had a preexisting immunity to a similar pathogen. Perhaps the 1889–1890 flu pandemic, which was referred to as the Russian flu, afforded some protection to those who survived it.

Additionally, some scientists believe that younger people’s vigorous immune responses might have led to more severe lung symptoms due to “ exuberant pulmonary exudation .” In other words, the strong immune responses of young people may produce excess fluid in the lungs, making breathing even more difficult.

At the time, there were no vaccines to prevent the disease and no antibiotics to treat the bacterial infections that sometimes developed alongside it. The virulent nature of this particular H1N1 strain and the lack of medication available made this the most severe pandemic in recent history.

The pandemic came in two waves, with the second being more deadly than the first. However, rather abruptly, the virus disappeared.

The Spanish flu had a mortality rate of around 2.5% . It is difficult to compare that with COVID-19 because estimates vary by region.

To understand why mortality rates are so difficult to calculate, Medical News Today recently published an article on the topic.

A different time

The Spanish flu’s high mortality rate was, in part, due to the virulence of the virus.

Social differences also played a role. In 1918, people tended to live in close quarters and perhaps did not value hygiene as much. These factors can influence how quickly a virus spreads and how lethal it can be.

Also, the world was at war, meaning that large numbers of troops were traveling to distant locations, which aided the spread.

During World War I, malnutrition was common for both those at home and those on the frontline. This is yet another factor that may have made people more susceptible to disease.

The Spanish flu and physical distancing

Although the Spanish flu pandemic has many differences to today’s COVID-19 pandemic, it teaches us a valuable lesson about the effectiveness of quickly implementing physical distancing measures, or social distancing measures.

In Philadelphia, PA, officials downplayed the significance of the first cases in the city. Mass gatherings continued and schools remained open. The city only implemented physical distancing and other measures around 14 days after the first cases appeared.

In contrast, within 2 days of its first reported cases, St. Louis, MI, moved quickly to implement physical distancing measures.

As one author writes, “The costs of [Philadelphia’s] delay appear to have been significant by the time Philadelphia responded, it faced an epidemic considerably larger than the epidemic St. Louis faced.”


Pandemics and the Shape of Human History

Outbreaks have sparked riots and propelled public-health innovations, prefigured revolutions and redrawn maps.

What’s often referred to as the first pandemic began in the city of Pelusium, near modern-day Port Said, in northeastern Egypt, in the year 541. According to the historian Procopius, who was alive at the time, the “pestilence” spread both west, toward Alexandria, and east, toward Palestine. Then it kept on going. In his view, it seemed to move almost consciously, “as if fearing lest some corner of the earth might escape it.”

The earliest symptom of the pestilence was fever. Often, Procopius observed, this was so mild that it did not “afford any suspicion of danger.” But, within a few days, victims developed the classic symptoms of bubonic plague—lumps, or buboes, in their groin and under their arms. The suffering at that point was terrible some people went into a coma, others into violent delirium. Many vomited blood. Those who attended to the sick “were in a state of constant exhaustion,” Procopius noted. “For this reason everybody pitied them no less than the sufferers.” No one could predict who was going to perish and who would pull through.

In early 542, the plague struck Constantinople. At that time, the city was the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire, which was led by the Emperor Justinian. A recent assessment calls Justinian “one of the greatest statesmen who ever lived.” Another historian describes the first part of his reign—he ruled for almost forty years—as “a flurry of action virtually unparalleled in Roman history.” In the fifteen years before the pestilence reached the capital, Justinian codified Roman law, made peace with the Persians, overhauled the Eastern Empire’s fiscal administration, and built the Hagia Sophia.

As the plague raged, it fell to Justinian, in Procopius’ words, to “make provision for the trouble.” The Emperor paid for the bodies of the abandoned and the destitute to be buried. Even so, it was impossible to keep up the death toll was too high. (Procopius thought it reached more than ten thousand a day, though no one is sure if this is accurate.) John of Ephesus, another contemporary of Justinian’s, wrote that “nobody would go out of doors without a tag upon which his name was written,” in case he was suddenly stricken. Eventually, bodies were just tossed into fortifications at the edge of the city.

The plague hit the powerless and the powerful alike. Justinian himself contracted it. Among the lucky, he survived. His rule, however, never really recovered. In the years leading up to 542, Justinian’s generals had reconquered much of the western part of the Roman Empire from the Goths, the Vandals, and other assorted barbarians. After 542, the Emperor struggled to recruit soldiers and to pay them. The territories that his generals had subdued began to revolt. The plague reached the city of Rome in 543, and seems to have made it all the way to Britain by 544. It broke out again in Constantinople in 558, a third time in 573, and yet again in 586.

The Justinianic plague, as it became known, didn’t burn itself out until 750. By that point, there was a new world order. A powerful new religion, Islam, had arisen, and its followers ruled territory that included a great deal of what had been Justinian’s empire, along with the Arabian Peninsula. Much of Western Europe, meanwhile, had come under the control of the Franks. Rome had been reduced to about thirty thousand people, roughly the population of present-day Mamaroneck. Was the pestilence partly responsible? If so, history is written not only by men but also by microbes.

Just as there are many ways for microbes to infect a body, there are many ways for epidemics to play out in the body politic. Epidemics can be short-lived or protracted, or, like the Justinianic plague, recurrent. Often, they partner with war sometimes the pairing favors the aggressor, sometimes the aggressed. Epidemic diseases can become endemic, which is to say constantly present, only to become epidemic again when they’re carried to a new region or when conditions change.

To this last category belongs smallpox, dubbed the speckled monster, which may have killed more than a billion people before it was eradicated, in the mid-twentieth century. No one knows exactly where smallpox originated the virus—part of the genus that includes cowpox, camelpox, and monkeypox—is believed to have first infected humans around the time that people began domesticating animals. Signs of smallpox have been found in Egyptian mummies, including Ramses V, who died in 1157 B.C. The Romans seem to have picked up the pox near present-day Baghdad, when they went to fight one of their many enemies, the Parthians, in 162. The Roman physician Galen reported that those who came down with the new disease suffered a rash that was “ulcerated in most cases and totally dry.” (The epidemic is sometimes referred to as the Plague of Galen.) Marcus Aurelius, the last of the so-called Five Good Emperors, who died in 180, may also have been a smallpox victim.

By the fifteenth century, as Joshua S. Loomis reports in “Epidemics: The Impact of Germs and Their Power Over Humanity” (Praeger), smallpox had become endemic throughout Europe and Asia, meaning that most people were probably exposed to it at some point in their lives. Over all, the fatality rate was a terrifying thirty per cent, but among young children it was much higher—more than ninety per cent in some places. Loomis, a professor of biology at East Stroudsburg University, writes that the danger was so grave that “parents would commonly wait to name their children until after they had survived smallpox.” Anyone who made it through acquired permanent immunity (though many were left blind or horribly scarred). This dynamic meant that every generation or so there was a major outbreak, as the number of people who had managed to avoid getting infected as children slowly rose. It also meant, as Loomis rather cavalierly observes, that Europeans enjoyed a major advantage as they “began exploring distant lands and interacting with native populations.”

Alfred W. Crosby, the historian who coined the phrase “the Columbian Exchange,” also coined the term “virgin soil epidemic,” defined as one in which “the populations at risk have had no previous contact with the diseases that strike them and are therefore immunologically almost defenseless.” The first “virgin soil epidemic” in the Americas—or, to use another one of Crosby’s formulations, “the first New World pandemic”—began toward the end of 1518. That year, someone, presumably from Spain, carried smallpox to Hispaniola. This was a quarter of a century after Columbus ran aground on the island, and the native Taíno population had already been much reduced. The speckled monster laid waste to those who remained. Two friars, writing to the King of Spain, Charles I, in early 1519, reported that a third of the island’s inhabitants were stricken: “It has pleased Our Lord to bestow a pestilence of smallpox among the said Indians, and it does not cease.” From Hispaniola, smallpox spread to Puerto Rico. Within two years, it had reached the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlán, in what’s now Mexico City, a development that allowed Hernán Cortés to conquer the capital, in 1521. A Spanish priest wrote, “In many places it happened that everyone in a house died, and, as it was impossible to bury the great number of dead, they pulled down the houses over them.” Smallpox seems to have reached the Incan Empire before the Spaniards did the infection raced from one settlement to the next faster than the conquistadores could travel.

It’s impossible to say how many people died in the first New World pandemic, both because the records are sketchy and because Europeans also brought with them so many other “virgin soil” diseases, including measles, typhoid, and diphtheria. In all, the imported microbes probably killed tens of millions of people. “The discovery of America was followed by possibly the greatest demographic disaster in the history of the world,” William M. Denevan, a professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has written. This disaster changed the course of history not just in Europe and the Americas but also in Africa: faced with a labor shortage, the Spanish increasingly turned to the slave trade.

The word “quarantine” comes from the Italian quaranta, meaning “forty.” As Frank M. Snowden explains in “Epidemics and Society: From the Black Death to the Present” (Yale), the practice of quarantine originated long before people understood what, exactly, they were trying to contain, and the period of forty days was chosen not for medical reasons but for scriptural ones, “as both the Old and New Testaments make multiple references to the number forty in the context of purification: the forty days and forty nights of the flood in Genesis, the forty years of the Israelites wandering in the wilderness . . . and the forty days of Lent.”

The earliest formal quarantines were a response to the Black Death, which, between 1347 and 1351, killed something like a third of Europe and ushered in what’s become known as the “second plague pandemic.” As with the first, the second pandemic worked its havoc fitfully. Plague would spread, then abate, only to flare up again.

During one such flareup, in the fifteenth century, the Venetians erected lazarettos—or isolation wards—on outlying islands, where they forced arriving ships to dock. The Venetians believed that by airing out the ships they were dissipating plague-causing vapors. If the theory was off base, the results were still salubrious forty days gave the plague time enough to kill infected rats and sailors. Snowden, a professor emeritus at Yale, calls such measures one of the first forms of “institutionalized public health” and argues that they helped legitimatize the “accretion of power” by the modern state.

There’s a good deal of debate about why the second pandemic finally ended one of the last major outbreaks in Europe occurred in Marseille in 1720. But, whether efforts at control were effective or not, they often provoked, as Snowden puts it, “evasion, resistance, and riot.” Public-health measures ran up against religion and tradition, as, of course, they still do. The fear of being separated from loved ones prompted many families to conceal cases. And, in fact, those charged with enforcing the rules often had little interest in protecting the public.

Consider the case of cholera. In the ranks of dread diseases, cholera might come in third, after the plague and smallpox. Cholera is caused by a comma-shaped bacterium, Vibrio cholerae, and for most of human history it was restricted to the Ganges Delta. Then, in the eighteen-hundreds, steamships and colonialism sent Vibrio cholerae travelling. The first cholera pandemic broke out in 1817 near Calcutta. It moved overland to modern-day Thailand and by ship to Oman, whence it was carried down to Zanzibar. The second cholera pandemic began in 1829, once again in India. It wound its way through Russia into Europe and from there to the United States.

In contrast to plague and smallpox, which made few class distinctions, cholera, which is spread via contaminated food or water, is primarily a disease of urban slums. When the second pandemic struck Russia, Tsar Nicholas I established strict quarantines. These may have slowed the spiral of spread, but they did nothing to help those already infected. The situation, according to Loomis, was exacerbated by health officials who indiscriminately threw together cholera victims and people suffering from other ailments. It was rumored that doctors were purposefully trying to kill off the sick. In the spring of 1831, riots broke out in St. Petersburg. One demonstrator returning from a melee reported that a doctor had “got a coupl’ve rocks in the neck he sure won’t forget us for a long time.” The following spring, cholera riots broke out in Liverpool. Once again, doctors were the main targets they were accused of poisoning cholera victims and turning them blue. (Cholera has been called the “blue death” because those suffering from the disease can get so dehydrated that their skin becomes slate-colored.) Similar riots broke out in Aberdeen, Glasgow, and Dublin.

In 1883, during the fifth cholera pandemic, the German physician Robert Koch established the cause of the disease by isolating the Vibrio cholerae bacterium. The following year, the pandemic hit Naples. The city dispatched inspectors to confiscate suspect produce. It also sent out disinfection squads, which arrived at the city’s tenements with guns drawn. Neapolitans were, understandably, skeptical of both the inspectors and the squads. They responded with an impressive sense of humor, if not necessarily a keen understanding of epidemiology. Demonstrators showed up at city hall with baskets of overripe figs and melons. They proceeded, Snowden writes, “to consume the forbidden fruit in enormous quantities while those who watched applauded and bet on which binger would eat the most.”

Eight years later, while the fifth pandemic raged on, one of the most violent cholera riots broke out in what’s now the Ukrainian city of Donetsk. Scores of shops were looted, and homes and businesses were burned. The authorities in St. Petersburg responded to the violence by cracking down on workers accused of promoting “lawlessness.” According to Loomis, the crackdown prompted more civil unrest, which in turn prompted more repression, and, thus, in a roundabout sort of way, cholera helped “set the stage” for the Russian Revolution.

The seventh cholera pandemic began in 1961, on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. During the next decade, it spread to India, the Soviet Union, and several nations in Africa. There were no mass outbreaks for the next quarter century, but then one hit Peru in 1991, claiming thirty-five hundred lives another outbreak, in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in 1994, claimed twelve thousand.

By most accounts, the seventh pandemic is ongoing. In October, 2010, cholera broke out in rural Haiti, then quickly spread to Port-au-Prince and other major cities. This was nine months after a magnitude-7.0 earthquake had devastated the country. Rumors began to circulate that the source of the outbreak was a base that housed United Nations peacekeeping troops from Nepal. Riots occurred in the city of Cap-Haïtien at least two people were killed, and flights carrying aid to the country were suspended. For years, the U.N. denied that its troops had brought cholera to Haiti, but it eventually admitted that the rumors were true. Since the outbreak began, eight hundred thousand Haitians have been sickened and nearly ten thousand have died.

Epidemics are, by their very nature, divisive. The neighbor you might, in better times, turn to for help becomes a possible source of infection. The rituals of daily life become opportunities for transmission the authorities enforcing quarantine become agents of oppression. Time and time again throughout history, people have blamed outsiders for outbreaks. (On occasion, as in the case of the U.N. peacekeeping troops, they’ve been right.) Snowden recounts the story of what happened to the Jews of Strasbourg during the Black Death. Local officials decided that they were responsible for the pestilence—they had, it was said, poisoned the wells—and offered them a choice: convert or die. Half opted for the former. On February 14, 1349, the rest “were rounded up, taken to the Jewish cemetery, and burned alive.” Pope Clement VI issued papal bulls pointing out that Jews, too, were dying from the plague, and that it wouldn’t make sense for them to poison themselves, but this doesn’t seem to have made much difference. In 1349, Jewish communities in Frankfurt, Mainz, and Cologne were wiped out. To escape the violence, Jews migrated en masse to Poland and Russia, permanently altering the demography of Europe.

Whenever disaster strikes, like right about now, it’s tempting to look to the past for guidance on what to do or, alternatively, what not to do. It has been almost fifteen hundred years since the Justinianic plague, and, what with plague, smallpox, cholera, influenza, polio, measles, malaria, and typhus, there are an epidemic number of epidemics to reflect on.


Pandemic

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Pandemic, outbreak of infectious disease that occurs over a wide geographical area and that is of high prevalence, generally affecting a significant proportion of the world’s population, usually over the course of several months. Pandemics arise from epidemics, which are outbreaks of disease confined to one part of the world, such as a single country. Pandemics, especially those involving influenza, sometimes occur in waves, so that a postpandemic phase, marked by decreased disease activity, may be followed by another period of high disease prevalence.

What is a pandemic?

A pandemic is an outbreak of infectious disease that occurs over a wide geographical area and that is of high prevalence. A pandemic generally affects a significant proportion of the world’s population, usually over the course of several months.

What have been some of the world’s deadliest pandemics?

Throughout history, there have been many deadly pandemics, but the Black Death and the influenza pandemic of 1918–19 rank among the most lethal. The Black Death, which ravaged Europe between 1347 and 1351 and likely was caused by plague, killed roughly 25 million people. The influenza pandemic of 1918–19, or “Spanish flu,” claimed an estimated 20–40 million lives.

What causes a pandemic?

Pandemics can be caused by several factors. For example, in some cases, a new strain or subtype of virus that first emerged in animals jumps to humans and then becomes readily transmissible between humans. In other instances, an existing disease-causing agent mutates, increasing its infectiousness.

How do pandemics end?

Pandemics typically slow and come to an end on their own, though the process may be accelerated through effective preventive strategies, such as improved personal hygiene or the development of a vaccine. Some pandemics, however, occur in waves, such that decreased disease activity may be followed by another period of high disease prevalence, thereby prolonging the outbreak.

Infectious diseases such as influenza can spread rapidly—sometimes in a matter of days—among humans living in different areas of the world. The spread of a disease is facilitated by several factors, including an increased degree of infectiousness of the disease-causing agent, human-to-human transmission of the disease, and modern means of transportation, such as air travel. The majority of highly infectious illnesses that occur in humans are caused by diseases that first arise in animals. Thus, when a new infectious agent or disease emerges in animals, surveillance organizations located within affected areas are responsible for alerting the World Health Organization (WHO) and for closely monitoring the behaviour of the infectious agent and the activity and spread of the disease. WHO constantly monitors disease activity on a global scale through a network of surveillance centres located in countries worldwide.

In the case of influenza, which is the disease that poses the greatest pandemic threat to humans, WHO has organized a pandemic preparedness plan that consists of six phases of pandemic alert, outlined as follows:

Phase 1: the lowest level of pandemic alert indicates that an influenza virus, either newly emerged or previously existing, is circulating among animals. The risk of transmission to humans is low.

Phase 2: isolated incidences of animal-to-human transmission of the virus are observed, indicating that the virus has pandemic potential.

Phase 3: characterized by small outbreaks of disease, generally resulting from multiple cases of animal-to-human transmission, though limited capacity for human-to-human transmission may be present.

Phase 4: confirmed human-to-human viral transmission that causes sustained disease in human communities. At this stage, containment of the virus is deemed impossible but a pandemic is not necessarily inevitable. The implementation of control methods to prevent further viral spread is emphasized in affected parts of the world.

Phase 5: marked by human-to-human disease transmission in two countries, indicating that a pandemic is imminent and that distribution of stockpiled drugs and execution of strategies to control the disease must be carried out with a sense of urgency.

Phase 6: characterized by widespread and sustained disease transmission among humans.

When WHO upgrades the level of a pandemic alert, such as from level 4 to level 5, it serves as a signal to countries worldwide to implement the appropriate predetermined disease-control strategies.

Throughout history, pandemics of diseases such as cholera, plague, and influenza have played a major role in shaping human civilizations. Examples of significant historical pandemics include the plague pandemic of the Byzantine Empire in the 6th century ce the Black Death, which originated in China and spread across Europe in the 14th century and the influenza pandemic of 1918–19, which originated in the U.S. state of Kansas and spread to Europe, Asia, and islands in the South Pacific. Although pandemics are typically characterized by their occurrence over a short span of time, today several infectious diseases persist at a high level of incidence, occur on a global scale, and can be transmitted between humans either directly or indirectly. Such diseases represented in modern pandemics include AIDS, caused by HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), which is transmitted directly between humans and malaria, caused by parasites in the genus Plasmodium, which are transmitted from one human to another by mosquitoes that feed on the blood of infected humans.

Influenza pandemics are estimated to occur roughly once every 50 years, though the actual pandemic interval has in some instances been shorter than this. For example, following the 1918–19 pandemic, there were two other 20th-century influenza pandemics: the 1957 Asian flu pandemic and the 1968 Hong Kong flu pandemic. The virus that caused the 1957 pandemic, which lasted until about the middle of 1958, was also responsible for a series of epidemics that emerged annually until 1968, when the Hong Kong flu appeared. The Hong Kong flu pandemic, which lasted until 1969–70, caused between one million and four million deaths. The next influenza pandemic occurred in 2009, when a subtype of H1N1 virus spread across multiple regions of the world. Between March 2009 and mid-January 2010, more than 14,140 laboratory-confirmed H1N1 deaths had been reported worldwide.

In March 2020 an ongoing outbreak of a novel coronavirus known as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV2) was declared a pandemic by WHO officials. Infection with SARS-CoV2 produced an illness known as coronavirus disease 2019 ( COVID-19) the illness was characterized primarily by fever, cough, and shortness of breath. The outbreak began in late 2019 in Wuhan, China, when a patient with pneumonia of unknown cause was admitted to a local hospital. In the following weeks, the number of people infected with the novel virus grew rapidly in Wuhan, and the disease spread to other regions of China. By early 2020 COVID-19 had reached Europe and the United States, carried there by travelers coming from affected regions. By the time the outbreak was declared a pandemic, cases of COVID-19 had been detected in numerous countries worldwide, with about 130,000 confirmed cases and close to 5,000 deaths.


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Pandemics of Biblical Times

Classical Corner: The Antonine Plague and the Spread of Christianity

The Antonine Plague, described as similar to smallpox, may have killed as much as ten percent of the Roman population over a 23-year period in the late second century C.E. Aside from practical consequences of the outbreak, the destabilization of the Roman military and economy, the psychological impact must have been substantial. Ancient Romans must have felt fear and helplessness in the face of such a ruthless, and frequently fatal disease. It is not difficult to understand, then, the apparent shifts in religious practices that came about as a result of the Antonine Plague.

Justinian Plague Linked to the Black Death

The Justinian Plague, linked via bacterial research to the Black Death, claimed the lives of tens of millions of people in the 540s, and shaped world history for centuries to come. When Justinian’s troops had conquered nearly all of Italy and the Mediterranean coast, they were struck by plague and could not continue the conquest through Europe, ultimately losing much of the conquered territory after Justinian’s death. The Justinian Plague halved the European population and weakened the Byzantine Empire, making it vulnerable to the Arab conquests of the seventh century.

The Cyprian Plague

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