With the widespread cases of people afflicted with Covid-19, it can be depressing to hear about the total number of people affected by this disease. Added to that stress is knowing that with the closing of businesses--both temporary and permanent--jobs are lost and the road to economic recovery will be a long one.
Historically, this isn’t the first virulent epidemic in the United States, there have been several instances:
HIV/AIDS Epidemic: The first case of the HIV/AIDs infection was in New York City in 1981--at the time doctors didn’t know what the disease was and what was causing it ¹. As of 2017, there are over 37 million people worldwide living with this infection. To commemorate those who have lost their lives to HIV/AIDS and to raise awareness on this issue, December 1st is known as World Aids Day².
The Influenza Pandemic of 1918 (Spanish Flu): H1N1 was one of the most fatal diseases in the United States history. People from nearly all ages were at risk: those who are 5 years old or younger, 20-40, and 65 and older were vulnerable to the disease³. Worldwide, 50 million people died; 675,000 of them are from the United States⁴. While it is often called the "Spanish Flu" that is a misnomer--the actual origin of the outbreak is unknown⁵.
Polio: One of the few diseases that has been virtually wiped out in the United States for over 30 years⁶. Polio affected more than 37,000 people per year in the US alone⁷.
The one thing these three epidemics have in common is that things have gotten better. While it might not bring a lot of immediate solace to what’s going on, it is a re-affirming reminder that bad things do get better.