How Fast Is Covid-19 Spreading Vs. Other Infectious Outbreaks?


How Fast Is Covid-19 Spreading Vs. Other Infectious Outbreaks?

COVID-19 seems to have turned into a global crisis almost overnight, but how does its spread compare to infectious outbreaks in the past?

Although the disease caused by the new coronavirus did not have a real name until February 12 (COVID-19), he traveled to every corner of the world in the coming weeks. Its ability to spread so fast frightened people, to the point where things were canceled, buildings closed and travel bans started. Many people began to accumulate items such as bottle racks and toilet paper, leaving the store shelves empty.

The outbreak began last December in Wuhan, China. As of March 11, 2020, there are 121,090 approved cases worldwide and are now an official pandemic. Of these, 1,000 people in the United States are reported to have the virus with 33 deaths. COVID-19 seems to have turned into a global crisis almost overnight, but how does its spread compare to infectious outbreaks in the past?

Cholera Pandemics

Cholera is an infectious bacterial disease caused by Vibrio cholerae, which is often found in hot, salt water bodies. Infection is transmitted when people consume infected water. Cholera has existed for hundreds of years, in 1817 there is the first deadly epidemic in India. There are recurrent outbreaks, and WHO (World Health Organization) estimates that 1.3 to 4 million people die from around the world every year.

The most deadly cholera epidemic occurred in India between 1910 and 1911. More than 800,000 people died and the disease spread to Eastern Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and Russia. When it reached the United States, the American health authorities managed to isolate the infected by preparing them. Only 11 people died.

1918 Influenza Pandemic

This was one of the most destructive pandemics ever caused by an H1N1 virus that has been traced to avian genes. It was spread between 1918-1919 in the spring of 1918 after the military personnel were identified in Fort Devens, Boston. That autumn, Philadelphia City closed its gathering places such as churches, schools and theaters. The people of Arizona’s Tucson residents were not allowed to enter, unless they wear masks.

The estimates expressed the number of people suffering from the flu illness of 1918 with about 50 million deaths and about 50 million deaths. 675,000 people died in the United States. Pandemic ended in the summer of 1919.

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1957 Asian Influenza (H2N2)

1957 Asian Flu or H2N2 started in Hong Kong and infected 250,000 people. The analysis showed that there was an influenza A virus that has never been seen in humans. Within a few months, H2N2 spread to and around China; Arrived in the United States in the middle of the next summer. At first, not many cases were reported, but more cases were recorded a few months later. Later that year, a second wave arrived in England and the Northern Hemisphere. More than 3,500 reports were reported in Wales and England in December 1957; In March 1958, 69,800 deaths were reported in the United States.

1968 Hong Kong Influenza

The 1968 H3N2 influenza started in Southeast Asia and soon headed west. This strain was different from H2N2 and spread more dispersedly to other parts of the world. Disease and death rates were higher, and a introduced vaccine reduced infection rates by 54 percent.

2009 Swine Flu

2009 swine flu breakout during the Mexico City subway scene. Photo credit: Eneas De Troya / Wikimedia.orgSwine flu is a virus that usually affects swine, but in 2009, a pandemic occurred from the H1N1 influenza type A virus. This virus is a mixture of bird (bird), pig (pig) and human genes that are combined in pigs and then spread to humans. He first found a young Californian girl in April of that year. Two months later, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared it a global epidemic. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 61 million people in the U.S. got infected and died 12,469. Global estimates increased the number of deaths to 575,400. Swine flu was officially announced until 2010.

2003 SARS

SARS (Severe acute respiratory syndrome) is also a coronavirus first described in 2003. It originated in China, Guangdong province. Scientists believe it is an animal virus that spreads to other animals and then to humans. It only took a few months to spread to two dozen countries; Asia, Europe, North America and South America were affected. More than 8,000 people became infected worldwide and 800 people died. COVID-19 has already exceeded these numbers.


MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) is also caused by a coronavirus and causes similar symptoms of cough, shortness of breath and fever. The CDC reports that approximately three to four of every 10 patients diagnosed with MERS die. MERS was first reported in Saudi Arabia in September 2012, and all known cases were observed to live or travel to the Arabian Peninsula and surrounding countries. Another outbreak occurred in 2015 in the Republic of Korea by a traveler living on the Korean Peninsula. In 2014, two patients tested positive for MERS in the United States.


HIV / AIDS was first described in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1976. It still exists today, but it is more manageable due to increased awareness and treatments such as anti-retroviral therapy. Since 1981, the virus has killed more than 36 million people. Today, about 31 to 35 million people have HIV, and most of those affected live in Sub-Saharan Africa.

All pandemics and infectious diseases are different and bring a number of viruses and other health problems every year. CDC said this year’s seasonal flus caused at least 34 million infections, 350,000 hospitalizations, as much as 20,000 deaths. Flu vaccines help slow the spread of these diseases, but it takes time to develop them.

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