Fears, Outbreaks, and Pandemics: Lessons Learned

Mar 27, 2020

Infectious outbreaks have shaped the psyche of humanity for times immemorial. Epidemics and pandemics propagate fear and erratic behavior and, long after they are over, remain entrenched within the global psyche, often in the form of folk tale and literary or historical accounts. Naturally, logically, and unsurprisingly, the larger the scale of an outbreak, the larger the impact and magnitude of its sequelae. The black plague pandemic, starting in 1345, claimed up to 100 million lives and is still the topic of lively speculation and research to this day; the influenza pandemic of 1918 still receives attention. The Table summarizes major historical outbreaks, with estimated lives affected.