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Major Pandemics In The World Leading Up To Now

By: Ben Marble/Reviews Editor

There has been at least one or more pandemics every century across the world. Here are the most major pandemics that have happened throughout history leading up to now with the most recent pandemic, COVID-19:

The Antonine Plague, also known as the “Plague of Galen,” occurred in 165 AD. This affected most of Asia Minor, Egypt, Greece and Italy. The cause of this plague is still unknown, but it’s thought to be either smallpox or measles. The Antonine Plague was brought back to Rome by Roman soldiers returning from Mesopotamia and killed over five million people, decimating the Roman army.

With its year long reign of terror from 541 to 542, the Plague of Justinian wiped out a quarter of Europe. The cause of this was the bubonic plague, a bacterial infection caused by fleas. The bubonic plague affected the Byzantine Empire and Mediterranean port cities and killed over 25 million people in just one year. It is estimated that this plague killed over 5000 people a day.

From 1343 to 1346 an outbreak of the bubonic plague devastated Europe, Africa, and Asia with an estimated death toll of between 75 to 200 million people. The Black Death is thought to have originated in Asia and jumped continents by fleas living on the rats that were aboard merchant ships. This virus was caused by a strain of bacterium called Yersinia Pestis. The bodies of those who died were buried in mass graves also known as plague pits.

Between 1918 and 1920 a deadly outbreak of Influenza spread across the globe, killing 20 to 50 million people with 500 million people infected. The mortality rate of the 1918 flu pandemic was 10% to 20%. There were 25 million deaths in the first 25 weeks. This flu killed healthy young adults, leaving people with weaker immune systems still alive.

HIV/AIDS has killed over 36 million people since 1981. The majority of the people infected with HIV/AIDS were in Sub-Saharan Africa with 5% of the population infected. New treatments have been created to manage the growth of HIV/AIDS. From 2005 to 2012 the global deaths have dropped from 2.2 million deaths to 1.6 million deaths.

Beginning December 2019 in the region of Wuhan, China, a new strain of coronavirus, now known as COVID-19, started appearing. This new virus spread very fast between people. No one on earth has an immunity to COVID-19 because its discovery was so recent. This virus has spread across the world in just a few months. By the end of March, the world had more than half a million people infected with over 30,000 deaths. Many companies and independent businesses across the globe have started working on tests, treatments, and vaccines.

The world has faced many troubles regarding public health safety, and may face many more. Regardless, it is evident that the push for the human race to survive through this current pandemic has become the primary concern of the world, and coming together to combat the virus is in every person’s hands. 


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The Raider Reader staff is made up of students from Blue Ridge High School who are part of the school's journalism class. Students write, edit and produce the the news found at RaiderReader.Org.
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