If one has to make a decision without any positiv option, you often hear the saying: He/ she has the choice between pestilence and cholera.
Looking at history, pest and flu epidemics keep occurring. The first recordings even date as early as 170 AD. However, under the microscope the little “invaders” look like cute differently nubbed fleece balls.
From left to right, up-down: pest virus, spanish flu, swine flu (H1N1), ebola virus, HIV virus, cholera pathogen
Of course, these outbreaks were more of a continental/ regional character for centuries, because of minor intercontinental trade and no tourist flows until the 19th century – not to talk abount an extensive globalization. Well, if you look at the time intervals, the “uninvited diseases” reach us in Europe more and more, and this even faster and more frequently.
For us Europeans, this seems to be the price of (uninhibited) globalization, because almost all epidemics occur in regions of Africa and Asia due to poor hygiene and/ or overpopulation – including Corona. It is not the fact that bats or armadillos carry these viruses in their bodies, but the fact that they are traded in unspeakably dirty markets and sold as food. Danger recognized, danger averted? … if you follow the local Chinese reports, obviously not.
In the earlier centuries the reasons of the illnesses were often unknown, today they are known and nevertheless warning signals are ignored again and again for economic reasons. Probably in the hope that things will go well or the problem will only affect the others.
It is not unusual for us to be surrounded by viruses and bacteria, and not all of them are equally harmful/ fatal to the different population groups. A good example is/ was the extermination of some Indian tribes, due to the fact that European immigrants/ conquerors introduced a simple flu viruses. Smallpox as well were brought to (Latin) America this way, and had also bad affects on the Native Americans in the 16th and 18th centuries. Entire empires were eraised this way all over the world.
Smallpox – similar to chickenpox and measles – are extremely contagious when infected. As far as I know, virologists assume that a Covid-patient infects an average of three other people, but a measles sufferer up to 13 (typical childhood disease and often spread in schools).
Relatively often affected by the “black death” in Europe was the water-surrounded commercial metropolis of Venice. Here we still see the “beak mask” which is often worn as a carnival disguise. It was originally the first attempt by the medical profession to protect itself from infection by adding champhor tissues into the “beak of the nose” as a defense. https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pest
Without profound knowledge of possible treatment methods, the healing success was about zero for a long time and the number of victims was correspondingly high. Recovery was almost a matter of luck.
YEAR / PERIOD DISEASE/ DEADS
0165 – 0180/ Antonine plague/ 005 million
0540 – 0542/ Justinian plague/ 40 million
0735 – 0737/ Japanese smallpox/ 001 million
1347 – 1351/ Pest-Black Death/ 200 million
1520 – 1521/ Smallpox/ 056 million
1600 – 1700/ Various plagues/ 004 million
1817 – 1923/ Cholera/ 001 million
1855 – 1856/ Fourth plague epidemic/ 012 million
1889 – 1919/ Russian flu/ 001 million
1918 – 1919/ Spanish flu/ 045 million
1957 – 1958/ Asian flu/ 001 million
1968 – 1970/ Hong Kong flu/ 001 million
1981 till today/HIV-AIDS/ 030 million
2009-2010/ Swine flu/ 0.200 million
2014-2016/ SARS-Ebola/ 0.011 million
2019 till today/ Corona-Covid-19/ 0.252 million
The question of whether, when and how the “Corona flu crises” can be stopped and eradicated is only one side of the problem. Rather, other viruses – according to researchers at least as deadly – will find their way to Europe soon if the causes are not eliminated and mankind continues inevitably to penetrate the last corners of the earth as the population increases. Nature obviously knows to defend itself (!)
A look at the “corona spreading map” shows that the central hub function and actually strength of Europe is at the same time bad luck in the event of a pandemic and hopefully not the downfall of our free, unbiased world.
The belief in vaccines and other medications is always an illusion in an acute crises, since their research, virus adaption, test phase and sufficient production takes much time. And the solution to this is neither the permanent wearing of rubber gloves and face masks, nor tracking apps, social distance control, home office and school abstinence. While the time factor is considered the most effective means of managing a health crisis, it is NOT necessarily an element of control and therefore does not allow to predict the end of a crises. But at most it will allow to show tendencies regarding the degree of infection within a population.
I already dare to predict that there will be no shutdown next time; and not because we are now better prepared for such types of crisis. For me, the parallel term “influenza” in the sense of “influencing” and “direction of masses” to me gets a completely new, double meaning.
Wars, which are/ were often associated with epidemics/ pandemics, have always been considered a kind of “human hygiene“. Itwas Charles de Gaulle who once said: “The cemeteries are full of indispensable men”. Sad, but so true in many ways …