Pandemic or Plague?

Over the millenia I’ve seen my share of plagues–black death, bubonic plague, septicemic plague, pneumonic plague, and a few whose names I never could pronounce. With modern medicine, you no longer call them palgues–now call them pandemics. Pandemic sound so much more clinical and therefore less dangerous.

Of course, the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 killed between 50 and 100 million people, which is right up there with the plagues. I grant you that the records from the Middle Age and prior are based on guesstimation–no computers, no accurate numbers, etc. but a million deaths here and a million deaths there and pretty soon you’re dealing with a plague.

Now, the world is facing the corona virus, or as the scientists call it, COVID-19. Will a rose under any other name smell as sweet? Will a disease under any other name kill as many? It’s currently called a pandemic. Due to political pressure, it will probably never be called a plague–regardless of the death toll. Calling a skunk’s fur Alaska Sable doesn’t change its actual identity.

 

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