Human beings have survived 4 influenza pandemics since the dawn of the 20th century. We have had an ongoing battle the HIV/Aids pandemic since 1981 and are amid the latest pandemic – Covid-19.
The following statistics are according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC): An estimated 50, 000, 000 people lost their lives to the Spanish Influenza in 1918. Again in 1957, the H2N2 virus was identified in East Asia claiming with it an estimated 1, 100, 000 lives. In 1996 – the United States identifies the H3N2 virus and with it are another 1, 000, 000 lives lost.
In 2009, the H1N1 virus quickly spread across the globe claiming with it an estimated 151+ million lives in the first year the virus circulated. We as a species have survived literally countless epidemics and various outbreaks.
Pandemic & Epidemic – What’s The Difference?
For starters, pandemics have passports. Whereas epidemics typically affect communities, populations, or regions – pandemics are epidemics that find their way to additional continents and/or countries. Outbreaks are uncontrolled epidemics, and an endemic is specific to a particular people or country. Influenza, disease, pandemics, epidemics, outbreaks – they have been present for as long as humankind. As we evolve, so do our virus’ but feel safe knowing that parallel to that, is the rise of our biotechnology.
The first vaccine on historical record was introduced by Edward Jenner in 1796; which would not only put an end to smallpox but have it completely eradicated by the 1980’s. With the introduction of vaccines, life expectancy in Western societies rose from 50 to 78-85. According to the World Health Organization, the only thing more effective than a vaccine is clean water.
So, with these historical facts made available to the public, why is it that my political stance in terms of who should run my country counts for less than my opinion on Covid-19? Does when, where and which vaccine really matter? One thing the above stats do not account for are the unspoken casualties of previous pandemics and Covid-19, our relationships.
The Effect of COVID-19 Pandemic
Over the course of the last 15 months or so, we have seen small and medium, to large businesses hurt, suffer, and even close their doors. We have been away from our families and friends. General exercise has been hacked away at the knees and the globe suffers in unimaginable ways. All the while, what is truly separating us are not our risk-factors, nor is it whether we have been vaccinated. What separates us is the difference in philosophies and belief systems.
We live in a world of social influence and mainstream thinking. What does a future such as this look like? Will we become a society of vaccinators vs. “lepers”? Will friends be ousted from their circles or family members turned away from the table simply because they opted out of their vaccine?
I don’t have the answers, simply the bigger questions.