World of Anthropocene - The Disaster of Global pandemics

Updated: Jan 6

Author: Pallabi Nandi

Pandemic is nowhere a history now, it has become a hundred years challenge for the world. Throughout time nothing has killed more human beings than an infectious disease. This Herculean catastrophe of contagions has shuddered humanity and society. Now we are battling with the havoc of the COVID-19 virus since 2019. It has become unstoppable and the reason is what we see daily through newspapers and televisions. In this modern era of Homo sapiens, outbreaks are nearly persistent, but not every pandemic reached a level like Novel Corona Virus.

Diseases have plagued humanity since age and this is our mortal flaw. Widely, the modernization of the society has enhanced the momentum of epidemics like Malaria, Tuberculosis, Leprosy, Influenza, Smallpox. Now we have a timeline of pandemics starting from Antonine Plague (165-180) to COVID-19 (2019). As the empire of this world increased the population increased, trade increased and so the pandemics increased too.

The Time frame of the disastrous diseases

Earth is getting polluted with various types of pollution adding up with diseases on the top. The recurrent outbreaks of contagious ailments have an intense effect on human beings and societies throughout history. Epidemics have described some of the basic occupants of modern medicine, giving the scientific community to enhance principles of prevention, immunization, and treatments.

There is more than 15 pandemics all over the world, so many people died battling with their life. The Plague of Justinian (541AD-750AD) attacked half of the global population ended, which was around 50 million[1]. The disease affected the entire Mediterranean basin, Europe, and the Near East and capital Constantinople. This Plague is named after The Roman Emperor of Constantinople, Justinian, who also was infected by the disease. The disease was caused due to a bacterium which is also responsible for Black Death, Yersinia pestis.[2] It is said that the ancestor of the Justinian Plague has been found in the Tian Shan[3]. During the Plague, the victims faced hallucinations before the outbreak of the ailment. Shortly after this condition, they fall into madness. Within days this infection grasped half of the global population, either they were dead or survived with limited body parts. Though nobody found its cure, it got cured by time. 70,000 corpses were reported. This plague is known as the first disastrous and deadliest outbreak of the plague pandemic.

The Plague or “The Black Death” was a cancerous upsurge of bubonic plague, emerged in China in 1334, and reached Europe in 1347 through silk route. It reduced the global population below 350 million from 450 million[4]. It started in China and spread throughout Central Asia and Northern India through the same silk route. Within the bound of 5 years, it spreads across the continents taking 25 million lives in the first wave. The course and symptoms were same as Justinian Plague. The mortality rate of this bubonic plague was 70% within 8 days. Later, when treated with antibiotics the rate dropped to 11%. The tension of Yersinia infected the guts of oriental rat (Xenopyslla cheopis)[5] which forced the rats to vomit concentrated bacteria into the host when feeding. Such hosts transmit the disease further and infected humans to other humans which led to pneumonic plague. The Entire nation was washed out or habitats abandoned. There were no crops, travelling and trade decreased, and food and goods reduced. But this plague came up with a new class that is middle class. Less number of laborers in the long run, increased the process of innovation of technologies, leading to productivity.

“The Spanish Flu”, one of the deadliest pandemic of 1918 lasted till 1920.The H1N1 Influenza virus infected more than 500 million people worldwide, about one- third of the world’s population got wiped out and out of that America got hit the most. The flu never got originated from Spain, the epicenter was never known. The first case was reported in Camp Funston in Fort Riley, Kansas, March 11, 1918[6]. The flu was first observed in Europe, The United States and few parts of Asia, later spread across the world. The virus attacked the respiratory system which was very contagious, communicable, and airborne. It occurred in the middle of World War 1 and attacked the young and healthy individuals too. But, this immense effect started fading from the public and scientific attention. Some call it “forgotten pandemic”. It affected civilization, politicians, artists, and scientists changed their careers. Though, the society fought it rapidly but, with a horrific experience.

The zoonotic disease devastatingly took a toll on the humongous population of the world. The humans are to be blamed for this. The disease was caused due to Novel Coronavirus, which skeptically took birth in the labs. The disease deteriorates the immune system of an individual by attacking our immune system with our spike protein. By far coronavirus has been the deadliest of all the pandemics making as small change of caging humans inside their homes and letting animals roam around the streets. Although it has been bad to humankind; Mother Nature is surely healing. With shutting down of industries and limited access to the places have reduced the pollution level and impacted the climate. To strike the balance between growth and green, we need to foster economic growth in ecologically and sustainably.

With the dawn of “Anthropocene”[7] and ‘growth at any rate’, the occurrences of pandemics have hindered the growth and development of the countries. Governments along with civilians have to check and balance the activities that might cause climate change and the rise of many other zoonotic diseases. Proper healthcare facilities may facilitate in fighting the diseases but inthe long run, it is us who can control such occurrences in the future.


[1]Walsh, Covid-19: The history of pandemics 2020, http://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200325-covid-19-the-history-of-pandemics [2] Yersinia pestis -Rod shapedbacterium without spores [3] Tian shan -Range of Mountains located in Central Asia [4]“Historical estimates of World Population” Census.gov. 2 may 2019, http://www.census.gov/data/tables/times-series/demo/international-programes/historical-est-worldpop.html [5] Xenopyslla cheopis – the oriental rat flea [6]“Spanish Flu”. History.com Editors.( May 19, 2020) http://www.history.com/world-war-/1918-flu-pandemic [7] Anthropocene -It is a geological time period of Earth as being influenced by humans.

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