How does coronavirus compare to other pandemics?

COVID-19 has been devastating, affecting people across the world and killing thousands. However, it is far from the first pandemic of its kind. From the Spanish flu to the bubonic plague, throughout history pandemics have killed huge amounts of the population. Is the coronavirus pandemic the worst in history? Or have previous pandemics been worse?

COVID-19 is the worst pandemic in history

Of all the pandemics in history, coronavirus is the one that has had the most devastating effect.

Globalisation has spread the disease faster

We are now more connected than ever, and this is reflected in the way that coronavirus has spread.

Spanish Influenza is the worst pandemic in history

Following WWI, the Spanish flu killed millions across the world.

WWI helped to spread the pandemic

WWI meant that people were moving around much more than ever.

Spanish Influenza killed completely healthy people

While previous influenza pandemics had mostly killed only the very old or very young, the Spanish flu affected even young, previously healthy people.

The bubonic plague is the worst pandemic in history

The bubonic plague killed more people than any other pandemic in history.

The bubonic plague killed more people than any other

The bubonic plague killed roughly 200 million people in the 14th century.

The bubonic plague was a punishment from God

The Black Death was thought to be sent from God, a belief which significantly worsened its spread.

HIV/AIDS is the worst pandemic in history

The refusal of governments to acknowledge and assist in reducing the rate of infection of HIV/AIDs meant that millions died.

HIV/AIDS was perpetuated because of homophobia

HIV/AIDS was made much worse by the homophobic rhetoric surrounding it, and the corresponding lack of government response.

Smallpox is the worst pandemic in history

Smallpox was a devastating disease until it became the only human disease to date to be eradicated.

Smallpox decimated the Native American population

Due to Europeans bringing the disease to America, an estimated 90% of the Native American population was killed by smallpox.

The Plague of Justinian is the worst pandemic in history

One of the earliest recorded pandemics, the Plague of Justinian killed 30-50 million people.

The Plague of Justinian led to the fall of the Roman Empire

While not its only cause, historians argue that the Plague of Justinian hastened the fall of the Roman Empire

The Plague of Justinian killed the highest proportion of people

The Plague of Justinian is thought to have killed around half of the population of the entire planet.
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This page was last edited on Wednesday, 1 Apr 2020 at 13:15 UTC