Over the past year the TV screen has been updating me everyday with the numbers on the new cases, those hospitalized and the unfortunates who died. The doctors and the politicians have more than occupied the space, speaking, debating, arguing, disputing, agitating, propounding and wrestling to keep us safe, and to restore our lives from the helpless living conditions arising from the Corona virus pandemic. Like some of you I have exhausted the expletives (mainly in Punjabi) thrown at its country of origin.
On searching the internet I learnt some more about the Nations which have caused, over the centuries, so much misery through pandemics not only to their countrymen, but also to everyone around the globe. I am sharing it with you.
Let us begin with the country, which is the focus of the blame and the reason for our misery today.
- About 5,000 years ago, an epidemic wiped out a prehistoric village in China. The bodies of the dead were stuffed inside a house that was later burned down. The archaeological site is now called “Hamin Mangha.
- The Black Death (1346 – 1353) traveled from Asia (China) to Europe, leaving devastation in its wake. Some estimates suggest that it wiped out over half of Europe’s population. The bodies of victims were buried in mass graves. This plague changed the course of Europe’s history. With so many dead, labor became harder to find, bringing about better pay for workers and the end of Europe’s system of serfdom. The lack of cheap labor may also have contributed to technological innovation.
- The Asian Flu (1957-1958) pandemic was another global showing for influenza. With its roots in China, the virus that caused the pandemic with a total death toll more than 1.1 million worldwide, with 116,000 deaths occurring in the United States.
Let us go over the contributions from other countries and continents, as well.
- Around 430 B.C., an epidemic ravaged the people of Athens and lasted for five years. Some estimates put the death toll as high as 100,000 people.
- The Black Death’s (1656-1666) last major outbreak in Great Britain caused a mass exodus from London, led by King Charles II. The plague started in April 1665 and spread rapidly through the hot summer months. By the time the plague ended, about 100,000 people, including 15% of the population of London, had died.
- In plague-ravaged Moscow (1770-1772), the terror of quarantined citizens erupted into violence. Riots spread through the city and culminated in the murder of Archbishop Ambrosius, who was encouraging crowds not to gather for worship. By the time the plague ended, as many as 100,000 people may have died.
- An estimated 500 million people from the South Seas to the North Pole fell victim to Spanish Flu (1918-1920). One-fifth of those died, with some indigenous communities pushed to the brink of extinction.
- AIDS has claimed an estimated 35 million lives since it was first identified. HIV, which is the virus that causes AIDS, likely developed from a chimpanzee virus that transferred to humans in West Africa in the 1920s.
- Swine flu pandemic was caused by a new strain of H1N1 that originated in Mexico in the spring of 2009 before spreading to the rest of the world. In one year, the virus infected as many as 1.4 billion people across the globe and killed between 151,700 and 575,400.
I have merely listed a few dominant and devastating pandemics; you may be aware of many more. The moot issue remains that the pandemics have occurred at regular intervals in the past and have affected the lives of the homo sapiens in each and every country. Do we have to wait for the apocalypse? I am aware of the intensive attention towards ‘Climate Change.’ It is time that the awareness of factors and issues causing these infections and their prevention which are very compelling and crying to be heard be resolved. Should we wait for another pandemic locking down our lives? Hopefully the present situation would be a catalyst to any ongoing program or plan. When we can develop the vaccine and the medicines to prevent and stop the viruses, we certainly are capable of identifying and nipping the birth of these baneful and injurious contagions in the bud.
Everywhere the inoculation of the vaccine for virus has been a major endeavor and executed with care and responsibility. I received a second dose of Moderna vaccine on March 8th at the Gillette Stadium, Boston, USA, and am sharing a few videos and pictures to exhibit the enormity of the work involved and systematically performed.
All pictures by Sabila Husain
Thank you Sabila my sweet daughter for your love and care. May Allah bless you and the family.