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#321890 - 02/24/20 02:30 PM Coronavirus: The Plague of The 21st Century?
NW Ponderer Offline
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Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/09/11
Posts: 17336
When the Black Death hit the world in the 14th Century it was incredibly deadly. In some regions the death toll exceeded 50% of the population. It literally changed the history of Europe. What made it so deadly was the profound ignorance of the population, and governments, about what caused and spread it. Modern medicine generally fares much better, but the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918 was still one of the deadliest in history, though the mortality rate was "only" about 10%.

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) has created a worldwide concern, affected the markets, and sown panic in certain areas. Yet, the mortality rate is much lower (so far) than the annual flu, which clocks in at around 14 per 100,000. Why the panic?

There seem to be two reasons: it is unique, and it is unknown. Unique, because, while the virus is known (even common), this strain is behaving differently. Similarly, the Spanish flu virus was believed to have been a strain of the H1N1 virus, but was particularly deadly. (Swine flu was another H1N1 strain.) Unknown, because its spread and mechanisms of infection and morbidity are not fully understood. Nor, is there yet a "cure". The unknown is scary.

The question is: is this outbreak more like the annual flu, or more like the Spanish flu? Until we know that answer, the concern seems warranted.
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#321894 - 02/24/20 02:48 PM Re: Coronavirus: The Plague of The 21st Century? [Re: NW Ponderer]
logtroll Offline
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Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 10007
Loc: One of the Mexicos
There is a possible bright side.

Quote:
When the Black Death hit the world in the 14th Century it was incredibly deadly. In some regions the death toll exceeded 50% of the population. It literally changed the history of Europe.

I believe the Black Death was partially responsible for the Little Ice Age. Something similar today could be the "cure" for the climate crisis...
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#321897 - 02/24/20 05:45 PM Re: Coronavirus: The Plague of The 21st Century? [Re: NW Ponderer]
NW Ponderer Offline
Moderator
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/09/11
Posts: 17336
I do think it likely that at some point (perhaps in our lifetimes) a deadly contagion will destroy a significant portion of the world population. There is evidence that it has happened in our prehistory as well. Our mistreatment of our planet is likely to either cause or exacerbate the problem.

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#321900 - 02/24/20 06:56 PM Re: Coronavirus: The Plague of The 21st Century? [Re: NW Ponderer]
Greger Offline


Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/24/06
Posts: 16519
Loc: Florida
Within a few months there will be a vaccination and it will all blow over just like the Ebola scare.

That wasn't the case with the Black Plague.

That wasn't the case with the Spanish flu in 1918.

But even those blew over eventually. And here we are.
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#321901 - 02/24/20 07:24 PM Re: Coronavirus: The Plague of The 21st Century? [Re: NW Ponderer]
Ujest Shurly Offline
journeyman

Registered: 10/16/16
Posts: 592
Loc: Sterling Heights, MI, USA
The plague of the Century has yet to appear. Who knows what pathogens lie beneath the Permafrosts and Ice Fields of the world...
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#321902 - 02/24/20 07:24 PM Re: Coronavirus: The Plague of The 21st Century? [Re: NW Ponderer]
pondering_it_all Offline
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Registered: 02/27/06
Posts: 9535
Loc: North San Diego County
I can't see any possible causation between the Black Death and the Little Ice Age. However, I could believe that the Little Ice Age caused more rodents to move inside houses and thus had closer contact between rodent fleas and humans. That could have been causative. Wild rodents are the natural pool for Bubonic Plague. We have it in the rodents living in the Sierras. Every year somebody comes back from hiking the mountain trails and comes down with it. Fortunately, very few of those are pneumonic-phase infections but CDC still tracks down everybody who was on an airplane with them and has them checked out. Very few of these people have rodent infested houses, so the normal-phase of spread is not possible.

I guess I might have a problem with Covid19 because I'm immune-suppressed. I have to balance infections against brain lesions. Doing pretty well so far. I heal pretty well and actually rarely get the histamine reactions when I get a cold. So my system seems to still be able to fight off viruses.

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#321909 - 02/24/20 08:39 PM Re: Coronavirus: The Plague of The 21st Century? [Re: NW Ponderer]
NW Ponderer Offline
Moderator
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/09/11
Posts: 17336
Coronavirus Has 'Pandemic Potential' But Isn't There Yet, WHO Says (npr). My biggest concern, frankly, is that it may become established in some countries with less sophisticated medical and social systems, like North Korea and Iran, then re- contaminate the region outside of there.

How does the new coronavirus compare with the flu? | Live Science

COVID-19 Is More Contagious Than Its Cor...e-By-Case Basis (Kaiser Health News); Coronavirus Outcomes Range From Pandemic to a New Flu, Experts Say (Bloomberg).


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#321910 - 02/24/20 08:47 PM Re: Coronavirus: The Plague of The 21st Century? [Re: pondering_it_all]
Greger Offline


Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/24/06
Posts: 16519
Loc: Florida
Quote:
However, I could believe that the Little Ice Age caused more rodents to move inside houses and thus had closer contact between rodent fleas and humans.

Global warming is rearranging things a bit too. And I'm right on the borderline. I've been fighting a rat infestation for weeks. 40 years here and I've never seen a rat. Exterminator has taken out two dozen or more from my garage and back porch. Walking the dog a couple weeks ago I felt a familiar sting and itch...no-see-ums. Never had those here before. The ex just called and asked what to do with a Cuban tree frog. Put it in a bag and freeze it. Same with Cuban cane toads.
It's just a matter of a few years until the first python shows up around here, Another friend has flocks of Whistling Ducks. They don't winter this far north. I see landscapers planting Royal palms around town. Mango and avocado trees are thriving here, couldn't plant them 20 years ago, they'd freeze before they got old enough to bear fruit. Old peach trees no longer bear fruit because there's not enough chill time.

Things are changing. That ^permafrost^ thing is real too. While I remain optimistic about the future of our species I estimate that we'll lose at least a billion lives in the next century. The world will witness devastation such as it has never witnessed before.

There will be plagues, there will be wars, and there will be starvation. There will be fires, there will be floods. Hurricanes and blizzards such as we've never seen before.

I hate to find myself in this position but the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are upon us.

As I said...I'm optimistic about the future. It could be far worse, another Trump term would probably guarantee a death toll in the next century of four billion or more lives.
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#321916 - 02/24/20 09:06 PM Re: Coronavirus: The Plague of The 21st Century? [Re: NW Ponderer]
Greger Offline


Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/24/06
Posts: 16519
Loc: Florida
Quote:
My biggest concern, frankly, is that it may become established in some countries with less sophisticated medical and social systems, like North Korea and Iran,


It'll be a mess if it gets loose in North Korea or some of the other genuinely backwards areas. Hopefully that vaccine will be along soon.
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#321919 - 02/24/20 09:52 PM Re: Coronavirus: The Plague of The 21st Century? [Re: NW Ponderer]
chunkstyle Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 10/02/07
Posts: 2356
There is a pandemic thatís been going on for some time with little attention. I donít know how one illness gets elevated in the media vs. another. There are 400k infections of the one Iím thinking of on this country alone. That number is considered low as the testing for it is spotty at best. Itís spread by migratory birds, rodents and has accelerated with the increased range of its vector hosts due to climate change.

I think itís going to take bleeding from orifices before the popular culture pays attention. Yeah, climate change is going to have a lot of surprises in store for us on the microbiology front. Canít see our health care businesses being much good at combating the rising threats.


Edited by chunkstyle (02/24/20 09:52 PM)

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