Throughout human history, there have been a number of pandemics of diseases such as smallpox and
tuberculosis. The most fatal pandemic in recorded history was the Black Death (also known as The Plague), which killed an estimated 75–200 million people in the 14th century. Other notable pandemics include the 1918 influenza pandemic (Spanish flu). Current pandemics include HIV/AIDS and COVID-19 .
Cholera, bubonic plague, smallpox, and influenza are some of the most brutal killers in human history. And outbreaks of these diseases across international borders, are properly defined as pandemic, especially smallpox, which throughout history, has killed between 300-500 million people in its 12,000 year existence.
According to the World Health Organization, the most common diseases in Ghana include those endemic to sub-Saharan African countries, particularly: Cholera, Typhoid, Pulmonary Tuberculosis, Anthrax, Pertussis, Tetanus, Chicken Pox, Yellow Fever, Measles, infectious Hepatitis, Trachoma, malaria, HIV and Schistosomiasis.
Cancer is responsible for many deaths but is not considered a pandemic because the disease is neither infectious nor contagious.
To think of this, has there been series of pandemics ??? Is this going to be the last pandemic??? Should the world continue to be at a standstill???
Let’s take a critical look at these pandemics as well as the number of death resulting from it.
THE BLACK DEATH(1346-1353) with a Death Toll of 75 – 200 million.The outbreak of the Plague ravaged Europe, Africa and Asia and also The PLAGUE OF JUSTINIAN(541-542) with a Death Toll of 25 million thought to have killed perhaps half the population of Europe with Bubonic Plague as the cause of both.
The ANTONINE PLAGUE (165 AD) killed 5 million people but cause remains unknown. The FLU PANDEMIC (1918) also killed 20-50 million people with Influenza as the cause. Thus, the outbreak of influenza disturbingly tore across the globe, infecting over a third of the world’s population.
The FLU PANDEMIC (1968) and the ASIAN FLU (1956 – 1958) all caused by influenza killed one million and two million people respectively.
While the 1968 pandemic had a comparatively low mortality rate (.5%) it still resulted in the deaths of more than a million people including 500,000 residents of Hong Kong, approximately 15% of its population at the time. The ASIAN FLU in its two-year spree travelled from the Chinese province of Guizhou to Singapore, Hong Kong and the United States. Estimates for the death toll of the Asian Flu vary depending on the source, but the World Health Organization places the final tally at approximately 2 million deaths with 69,800 of those in the US alone.
HIV/AIDS PANDEMIC (AT ITS PEAK, 2005-2012) which was first identified in Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1976, HIV/AIDS has truly proven itself as a global pandemic, killing more than 36 million people since 1981.
Currently, there are between 31 and 35 million people living with HIV, the vast majority of those are in Sub-Saharan Africa, where 5% of the population is infected, roughly 21 million people. As awareness has grown, new treatments have been developed that make HIV far more manageable, and many of those infected go on to lead productive lives. Between 2005 and 2012 the annual global deaths from HIV/AIDS dropped from 2.2 million to 1.6 million.
COVID-19 (THE NOVEL CORONAVIRUS):
Beginning in December 2019, in the region of Wuhan, China, a new (“novel”) coronavirus began appearing in human beings. It has been named COVID-19, a shortened form of “Coronavirus Disease of 2019.” This new virus spreads incredibly quickly between people. Due to its newness, no one on earth has an immunity to Covid-19, because no one had Covid-19 until 2019. The WHO declared Covid-19 a pandemic in March, and by the end of that month, the world saw more than a half-million people infected and nearly 30,000 deaths. The infection rate in the US and other nations was still spiking.
With the coronavirus pandemic, people all over the world have become more aware of the best practices during a pandemic, from careful hand-washing to social distancing, avoiding touching of MEN (Mouth, Eyes, Nose) as well as use of face masks to cover mouth and nose.
Countries across the world declared mandatory staty-at-home measures, closing schools, businesses, and public places. Dozens of companies and many more independent researchers began working on tests, treatments and vaccines. The push for the human race to survive the pandemic became the primary concern in the world.
The outcome of the Covid-19 pandemic is impossible to predict, at the time of this writing. But we can learn from pandemics in history to determine our best courses. These are our teachers – the Spanish Flu, the AIDS pandemic, and more.
Pandemics have proven to be a part of the human race and all are clearly associated with deaths of human beings. May the departed souls continue to rest in peace. That notwithstanding, the world must come to the understanding that diseases are part of us and as such COVID19 has come to live with us.
I hereby call on us all to accept the fact that COVID-19 has come to stay just like other pandemics which we are still battling and as the saying goes, prevention is better than cure , let’s continue to adhere to the various protocols and preventive measures and we shall surely OVERCOME.
Long live Ghana
Long live NUGS
Long live Ghanaian Students