As Coronavirus impact is increasing in all parts of the world, lives and activities have either come to almost standstill or have slowed down in most of the countries. Efforts are ON to prevent and fight against the pandemic COVID-19. Governments have taken measures at their best. People are being careful. Attempts are multiplying to find out medicine or vaccine for this deadly microbe. Coronavirus, a group of viruses which affect mammals and birds and cause respiratory diseases have been the reason for many of such pandemics.
In this context, let’s have a glance at various pandemics in last one hundred years.
Spanish flue spread during 1918-19 claiming 40 million lives and is the deadliest pandemic of the history. This influenza pandemic affected over 500 million people, about 27% of the world population of that time. It was a subtype of H1N1 influenza virus.
Asian Flu, an H2N2 influenza virus, originated in China, spread during 1957-58 and took toil of 1.1 million lives.
Hong Kong Flu, an H3N2 virus, was active during 1968-70 and about 1 million people died.
Since 1981, AIDS/HIV has claimed 25 to 35 million lives, if we consider it in this category of a pandemic. It spread to almost all countries and a lot of awareness has been created.
At the beginning of the 21st Century, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) spread during 2002-03 and killed around 770 people. It was caused by SARS-Coronavirus which originated in China and spread across 17 countries infecting over 8000 people of which about 770 died.
Years 2009-10 was affected by Swine Flu which killed more than 2 million people.
In 2014-16, Ebola killed over 1 lakh people. It is a rare deadly disease in people and nonhuman primates.
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), a type of coronavirus spread from 2015 and since then has killed over 1 lakh persons in more than 21 countries.
Recently, a coronavirus named as Covid-19 started in 2019 in Wuhan province of China and has claimed over 6,500 lives since then. This has disrupted regular activities in most of the countries and they have declared national emergencies.
Are these pandemics creating awareness and introspection in the human being? Are we changing our lifestyle permanently due to them? As 9/11 changed the travel and immigration guidelines and procedure permanently, will these pandemics do the same? Will Covid-19 compel us to think about using more technology and less travelling? Will it bring families closer and help us discard unnecessary social gatherings?
(Source: John Hopkins and other websites)