HOW OFTEN DO PLAGUES HIT OUR WORLD?
It’s amazing to realize when I wrote this last year, we were a mere two weeks into the pandemic. We are still in the same pandemic having gone through surges, retreats, vaccination, resistance to vaccines. At least you-know-who is out of office. That’s something what’s really amazing is how I never imagined this could possibly last this long!
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:
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 a failure to be in touch with the earth, but this was so obvious and immediate. 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.