History has repeated itself, and in the form of pandemics


from blogs.icrc.org

A photo taaken during the 1918 pandemic of the Spanish Flu

History repeating itself has been seen countless times within the past, and now with coronavirus, there is yet another time where events have unfolded in paralleled ways to events in human history.

Philosopher Geroge Santayana once said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” In other words, “History repeats itself”. However, now we can see this historical repetition within pandemics and plagues.

There have been numerous pandemics and plagues in human history, such as the great plague of London in 1965, and the Swine Flu in 2009. However, there have been similar global pandemics and plagues, such as COVID-19, that have occurred approximately every 100 years. This connection is eerie and leaves many wondering how an event such as a pandemic can strike so consistently.

Here are some of the deadliest outbreaks that have appeared every century-

1720-1722: The Great Plague of Marseille
In the year 1720, a plague arrived in Marseille, France, and is recorded as the last of the severe European outbreak of Bubonic Plague. The disease killed 100,000 people in Marseille and the provinces that surrounded, but the city efficiently recovered with an effective three-tiered quarantine system. After only a few years, economic activity recovered, as well as the West Indies and Latin America.

1817- 1820: The first Cholera outbreak
The first Cholera outbreak stemmed from contaminated rice and emerged from West Bengal India. In 1817, this disease spread rapidly throughout most of Indian, modern-day Myanmar, and modern-day Sri Lanka. In 1820 Cholera spread to Japan and China, and eventually reached European territory in 1821. This pandemic spread due to travel on ships and trading between countries and died out 6 years after it began. Cholera is believed to have died out from severe winter which killed the bacteria living in the water, but will definitely go down in history, as it affected almost every country in Asia and killed thousands.

1918-1919: The Spanish flu
The Spanish flu of 1918 is known as the deadliest pandemic in history, killing about one-third of the planet’s population and infecting roughly 500 million people globally. The Spanish flu was first observed in Europe, the United States, and in Asia before it spread rapidly across the globe. This virus occurred during World War One and is known for the way it mostly killed previously young and healthy people. Another notable fact about this pandemic is that it did not actually originate in Spain, but was nicknamed as the “Spanish flu” from widespread misunderstanding and because the first reporting on it was in Madrid in late May 1918.

2019-2020: The Coronavirus
Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, can first be traced to at least December 31st of 2019. In Wuhan, China, Chinese health authorities began treating many pneumonia cases and could not trace the cause. Just 8 days afterward, a new type of Coronavirus was identified, and the first case was confirmed in the U.S on January 21st, 2019. Over 200,000 people have died globally, and there are still many unknowns about this virus as it has just recently surfaced. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, and numerous doctors around the globe are working hard to stop the spread of this virus.

What does this mean?
The mystery as to why history reiteration has taken the form of pandemics has no answer\; nonetheless, there are speculations and theories. This reoccurring pattern of viruses could be attributed to common themes, events, and issues throughout history that cause natural patterns to occur. Another theory could be that influenza A viruses, also known as animal-derived viruses, are constantly changing, making it rare but possible for non-human influenzas, such as the avian bird flu, to form in such a way that they infect people and spread from person to person. Regardless of the existing theories, numerous pandemics and plagues have impacted the human race, and similar pandemics are occurring almost exactly every 100 years. What does this mean?