Musing: On Pandemics

What’s this musing about: Well the coronavirus is really screwing up everyone’s lives, isn’t it?

My sister-in-law (Hi, Terri!) asked me about some of the other pandemics that occurred through history a couple days ago. And by “asked me,” I mean I took it upon myself to tell her about them.

As of March 21, 2020, the coronavirus has infected over 278,000 people and claimed 11,570 according to CNN/Johns Hopkins.

In comparison to the two “big ones,” namely the Black Death and the Spanish Flu…well thank God “it’s only” the coronavirus.


Death Toll: 11,570

Mortality Rate: Less than 1%

Spanish Flu:

Death Toll: 17 million to 50 million (over the course of 1 year)

Mortality Rate: 2.5%

Scary Fact: Spanish Flu killed more people in two days than are currently infected with the coronavirus.

Black Death/Plague (for you true nerds, only talking about the second one):

Death Toll: 75 million to 200 million (over 4 years)

Mortality Rate: 80%+. Basically, if you got it, you were dead.

Scary Fact: The Black Death reduced the world population by 21% (conservatively). For the coronavirus to do that it would need to kill 1.6 billion people.

I’m going to go wash my hands again. Be safe people!

More reading:

Black Death by Stephen Porter

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Musing: On Pandemics
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