There are constantly plague outbreaks and virus infections all over the world. However, for these past couple of centuries, large outbreaks seemed to have followed a pattern. In 1720, there was a Great Plague of Marseille and in 1820, there was a Cholera Outbreak. Unfortunately, in 1920, the world was affected by the Spanish Flu. Now that another century has passed, the year 2020 is greeted by the Coronavirus, a new illness first reported on December 31, 2019. Yet could this trend be just a ‘coincidence,’ or is there a possible link to the chain of massive outbreaks each century?
In 1720, Marseille was struck by a deadly disease killing more than half of its population, which totaled about 100,000 deaths (50,000 deaths in the city and 50,000 deaths outside the city). The Great Plague of Marseille was claimed to be the last of the Bubonic Plague outbreaks, and had spread due to fleas carrying bacteria.
By 1820, a new virus outbreak by the name of Cholera had made its way across the globe from Asia. Despite Cholera being an airborne disease, the outbreak was said to have been caused by contamination of the water supply of the Vibrio cholerae bacteria. Hundreds of thousands of people fell victim to its demise.
In 1920, the Spanish Flu contributed to the decline of the average life expectancy of the United States by 12 years. Killing about 500 million people (one third of the world’s population at the time), the Spanish Flu had earned an infamous name for itself as the deadliest pandemic in history. This disease emerged from the bird flu, also known as the Avian Influenza, and is said to attack the respiratory system once spread. The bird flu has the capability of affecting not only birds, but also humans. Because of its highly contagious quality, the spread of the Spanish Flu became rapid and dangerous.
Since another century had passed, the trend of outbreaks has still not ceased. China is currently battling the Coronavirus, a new illness that has risen from an unknown source. The origin of this new and unusual virus is still being researched, yet some scientists propose that the virus may have spread from animals. However, as of January 25th, there are about 1,300 cases confirmed and nearly 800 people killed. China has expanded its quarantine to 12 states with 35 million people in total in an attempt to contain the virus. However, China’s quarantine may be making the situation worse by locking infected people with unaffected people. Despite China’s efforts to place the people in quarantines as well as enforce a lockdown, the virus had managed to escape its borders and affect other countries as well, including the United States. There are currently 5 cases of the Coronavirus in the United States: 1 in Washington, 2 in California, 1 in Arizona, and 1 in Illinois. Especially since the outbreak had struck China around the time of the Lunar New Year, the virus is bound to spread even further due to increased traveling.
Thus far, the 20s has maintained its record in producing a deadly virus each century. With history repeating itself every 100 years, it is no wonder that 2020 was met with the Coronavirus. This being the case, people are cautioned to maintain good sanitation in order to prevent catching and spreading the virus.
Lily Lam (280)