How COVID Compares to Other Deadly Diseases

COVID-19 is not the first time a disease has killed a large amount of people. The worst pandemic in US history was the 1918 influenza outbreak. It killed aproximately 675,000 Americans, and from 1918-1920, 2.1 percent of the world's population, or some 40 million people, died from influenza.


But all viruses are different, with symptoms ranging anywhere from respiratory problems to tinged yellow eyes. However, they all strike the same fear into those affected.  Today, advanced medical research helped develop the latest COVID vaccine, but historically, people have not always been so lucky.


  • The Bubonic Plague, otherwise known as the Black Death, struck Europe in 1347—about 800 years after it hit Constantinople—and killed an astonishing 200 million people in just four years. This is the first time the concept of quarantine was used. In fact, officials in the Ventian-controlled port of Ragusa kept newly arrived sailors on their boats until they could prove they were healthy. The isolation period started at 30 days but soon grew to 40.
  • Although not a pandemic, Yellow Fever rocked the residents of Philadelphia, killing 5,000 people in a city of 50,000. No one knew the best treatment for this ilness, but some doctors used methods uch as bloodletting to rid the body of toxins.  


Diseases do not care who you are or what your story is when they infect your body. Many celebrities have been infected with COVID, but there is a historical amount of people with social platforms getting infected with diseases. From Tom Hanks to Donald Trump, celebrities across all fields have been testing positive for COVID. During the Yellow Fever outbreak in 1793, Alexander Hamilton and his wife, Eliza, both contracted the disease early on in the epidemic.  


Not only are a wide array of people affected by COVID-19, but the accompanying symptoms are vast. COVID can cause  flu-like symptoms, shortness of breath, sore throat, and identifiable factors such as loss smell and/or taste. But unlike other diseases, symptoms and severity vary from person to person.


Symptoms for the Bubonic Plague were more commen, with coughing, a fever, swollen lymph nodes, and sometimes nausea. Yellow Fever got its name from the tinged yellow eyes and/or skin from those affected, but this was also accompanied by a bloody cough, chills, fever, fatigue, and loss of appetite.  


The world has been hit by many different diseases over the years, each one different than the last. Hoepfully, advances in medicine and research will be able to stop the spread of any new diseases before more lives are lost.



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