HOW OFTEN DO PLAGUES HIT OUR WORLD? – Marilyn Armstrong

Epidemics happen and they happen regularly and surprisingly often. Humans have a funny way of forgetting anything that happened more than 10 years ago. Not studying history is bad enough, but not remembering what you actually lived through is pathetic.

This is an article about plagues: when they occurred and where. We don’t know much about ancient plagues except for two in China, about 5,000 years ago. But since the 14th century, there have become more common. The nearer we get to “now,” the more frequent plagues become.

This is the article if you care to do a little historical reading:
https://www.livescience.com/worst-epidemics-and-pandemics-in-history.html

Many folks assume people dealt better with plagues back when we were more in tune with the earth and our environment. Nice theory, but not true. We didn’t deal with them any better. We died by the millions. If we hadn’t, we probably would have despoiled the earth even sooner.

There were fewer people in the world in the 14th century,  but following the Black Plague, entire cities disappeared. Provinces were wiped out. Nobody has the exact numbers, but it’s likely more than half — and possible more like 70% and above — died in that plague. It changed Europe, it changed world history.

There were no peasants left to till the soil leading to starvation. There was no medicine. There were areas in England where literally no one survived the plague. From the youngest baby to the oldest man or woman, everyone died. There was little communication and no one knew what was coming until it arrived.

The 14th century has been much written about because those have always been considered the worst years the human race ever experienced. The Plague hit in 1347 and returned three times during that century and several times in later centuries. It is still around today, but massive amounts of antibiotics keep most people alive. It’s still a killer.

In the 14th century, without antibiotics, hospitals, central government, and grueling poverty, it killed everyone it touched. Poverty was nearly universal. The Crusades had gutted the nobility. Between constant war and Plague, more than half of the nobles in England descended into peasantry or if they were lucky, the emerging middle class.

Some good came out of it, but the good part was the direct result of the millions of deaths. After the number of people was hugely reduced, survivors were able to improve their living conditions. Great manors were desperate for workers which gave serfs an opportunity to move up in the world. Though serfs were tied to the land, with many lords and ladies dead of plague or warfare, serfs could sell their services. It was the end of serfdom.

Closeness to the land didn’t help anyone. What helped was cleanliness, hygiene, and a minimum of rats. Jews who were “locked up” anyway survived better because they were cleaner than their neighbors and lived in areas with walls and didn’t go out into the community. They also had better doctors.

Plagues hit. Regularly and with the world so crowded, more often.

How much damage a plague does has everything to do with how contagious it is and who it kills. This one is less lethal than the Spanish Flu of 100-years ago, but it is more contagious. Thus far, it hasn’t mutated, which means that if and when they find a vaccine, it’s likely to be a long-term vaccine. Unlike the flu, you won’t need annual inoculations.

Covid 19 is less a killer than other plagues, but it kills. Despite medical advances, it responds to no known medications.

There are far too many morons in charge of other countries, but in the U.S. with all our power, this is a tragedy. Regardless of who wins the election in November, this is a terrible time in our history. We knew — anyone with a brain knew — this disease was coming. Our government did nothing. It’s not a failure to be in touch with the earth, though that is another major issue. We are paying a heavy price for allowing and encouraging bad government.

Did you not think having an ignorant, bigoted president who has probably never read a book would fail to come back to haunt you? Some chickens always come home to roost.



Categories: Arts, Coronavirus - Covid 19, Health, History, Marilyn Armstrong, medical history

Tags: , , , ,

21 replies

  1. here in the Uk we have to suffer an albeit, less dangerous leader of Government who dithered at the start of this pandemic, and we suffering record number of deaths. There are two types of politicians; those who want to do something and those who want to be something. US & UK are both under the yoke of the latter. I hope you are well.

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  2. I wish I could stop watching your President, but it sadly makes me laugh.. so unintelligible, so out of touch with reality, and so in denial. He really should as I feel my PM should have someone else speak on his behalf. It may at least make a iota of sense. In Australia most people wish our government would just tell us all to go into lock down it seems. A month in lock down perhaps at least people stealing sanatiser and masks from the hospitals might stop! If nothing else. My life has changed very little. Keep well Marilyn

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  3. Did you not think having an ignorant, bigoted president who has probably never read a book would fail to come back to haunt you?” Apparently a lot of people are not moved by his incompetence. His job approval rating has actually ticked up, if you can believe that!

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    • People hear what they want to hear. That has always been our problem. Everyone wants the virus to go away and when Trump promises it will go away, however weird or bizarre his claims, people WANT to believe him. The absence of leadership is hitting us very hard and it is demoralizing.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. A fascinating post about the plagues, Marilyn. I have also read up quite a lot about these periods in history, recently and before as I find it interesting. I can’t comment much about your president but I doubt that churches will be full on EAster Sunday.

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  5. Yes we’ve had many plagues, but most stay localized. That’s what makes these times unique – we can get all over this planet in one day. Makes it very hard to contain.

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  6. Well said, Marilyn. A fascinating reminder of how common plagues were, and still are. Funnily enough, I’ve been studying the 14th Century Black Death in my module this year, and what you say is all too true. I guessit puts our outbreak in perspective a bit more, knowing how lethal the medieval plagues were.

    We weren’t really ready for Covid-19 either, so we’re all having to live in lockdown and endure the chaos it’s wreaking. The one good thing is that it seems to be benefiting the environment somewhat, and with nowhere else to go, people are starting to reconnect with nature. Take care, and thanks for a great and throught-provoking read. 🙂

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  1. OH BRAVE WEIRD WORLD – BLOGGING AND THE PANDEMIC – MARILYN ARMSTRONG | Serendipity Seeking Intelligent Life on Earth

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