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5 Ways How Pandemics End Based on History

Drew is a professional pharmacist and hobbyist. He is always seeking new ways to earn through the internet and share knowledge with others.

Waiting for Pandemic Ending

Waiting for Pandemic Ending

Want to know when will this pandemic end? The truth is, even with all my pharmaceutical expertise as a pharmacist. I can’t offer you a definite answer. Heck, even Dr. Fauci can’t answer that perfectly for you. At most, all we can do is show you some unsure estimates.

One thing is for sure, though. Pandemics do have an ending. Yep, you heard me right. COVID-19, just like other pandemics such as bubonic plague and Spanish flu, will have an ending. Oh, don’t forget, even those government pandemic benefits will get an end. I can, at least, promise you that. Even history speaks for itself.

So, the only question remaining is how. How will this pandemic possibly end?

History offers insights on how pandemics end. After all, just like the adage has said - history tends to repeat itself.

Here are five ways how past pandemics can end according to history.

  • Ending #1: Adapting to the Pandemic
  • Ending #2: Vaccine ending
  • Ending #3: Mutation ending
  • Ending #4: Social and cultural shift ending
  • Ending #5: No one else to infect ending

Can’t wait anymore? Let’s dive in for a short pandemic history class.

1. Learning to Adapt to the Pandemic

If you love watching movies, you might have heard of Jurassic Park. Remember the quote from the fictional character Dr. Ian Malcolm. Forgotten it already? Then, let me refresh your memories, “Life finds a way.”

And just like the message of the quote, humanity will and must find a way.

I will tell you some cold hard truth. Though possible, totally eradicating a disease is incredibly hard. It is a very high hurdle, even with all the cash and minds combined. This COVID-19 pandemic shows us that fact.

Let’s look at one of the most well-known pandemics in the world – the Spanish Flu. In 1918, this pandemic struck and spread like wildfire across the globe. It affected at least 500 million people worldwide. What’s worse? It killed around 20 million to 50 million people worldwide.

Now, imagine the gravity of the disease during that time. Heh, too much for those who claim 2020 is the worst year, right?

Anyway, one of the ways a pandemic could end is through what we call a social ending. In this ending, the disease will not end up obliterated like what most of us wished. It is more of a socio-political conclusion.

This kind of pandemic ending will happen when the majority becomes tired of it all. So, people start to learn to live with the disease. And believe me, with a vaccine or without, this is a forgone conclusion. We must learn to live with it.

Naomi Rogers, a Yale historian, believes that we are in the moment where we are getting tired of the disease. A time when socio-psychological issues of exhaustion and frustration are coming into fruition.

So should I stop wearing masks and other protective gear? I feel tired and sick of it all already. Suppose that's on your mind. Let me advise you; please don’t! Social distancing, wearing masks, and quarantines must continue.

Even if you are tired, none of us want to reach some 50 million something if we can stop or slow it through simple ways. Those death counts mean a lot to the people affected (even if you don’t care). It may be your best-friend, acquaintances, workmates, or neighbors. And God forbid, maybe your family too.

2. Vaccine Makes Its Way Ending

The vaccine is one miracle I am hoping and praying for—a medical ending. Unlike in the past hundred years ago, humanity has grown leap and bounds due to medical science. So, this ending is within the realm of possibilities.

History has shown diseases getting beaten by vaccines. A few good examples of such conditions are smallpox, measles, flu, and polio. Though, not completely.

It is one of the reasons why nations are currently scrambling to create those vaccines. As of now, there are more than 150 coronavirus vaccines in the making. And that number is still increasing.

Why so many? Everyone wants to get their countries back to normal. Aside from its massive potential market, the one who makes the right vaccine will also get a robust political sway in the global arena. I mean, you can see how messy the current global politics is. And if you don’t, please do read some news. It's a dog fight.

Still, in most cases, a vaccine doesn’t mean complete elimination. Complete elimination will be very hard, considering how infectious the disease is. Such a thing is a difficult feat. And even if it is possible, it will take years. At most, vaccines will be able to control the spread of the virus.

A vaccine doesn’t mean that you will not need any mask or social distancing measures. These things will stay with us for a long time. Yep, whether we want it or not.

Why? Well, not everyone will be able to get those vaccines. A lot of people would even reject getting vaccinated with it. Heard of the anti-vaxxers who consider vaccines as a pain in the ass?

Aside from that, vaccines are not a 100% cure. It is no magic pill. Some might even fail to protect you completely.

Some vaccines can last for only one year, five years, ten years, 20 years, or so on. Even determining the effectiveness of the vaccine, time-wise will take years. An amount of time that you wouldn’t want to hear.

Even so, an effective vaccine will be able to slow down the current transmission rate of the virus. It can make this current pandemic into an endemic.

But let’s not get too pessimistic. And like what I said in the beginning, we have to hope for the best. Hey, only God and time can tell.

3. Mutation to a Less Virulent Form

Mutation into less virulent forms does happen in cases of common colds. As transmission continues, there is a possibility that COVID-19 can become less virulent.

According to Paul Tambyah, a senior consultant from the National University of Singapore. Some evidence suggests that the spread of the D614G coronavirus mutation coincided with a drop in death rates. A possibility that the coronavirus strain is getting less deadly as they mutate.

Even so, caution must still be of high priority until further studies are completed.

Why?

Suppose some strains mutated and became less virulent. We also can’t discount the possibility of some other strains becoming more deadly. After all, life and death are two sides of the same coin.

4. Social and Cultural Shift Ending

Pandemics, epidemics, and endemics tend to change our view and ways on many things. And most of the time, in the right direction. Hey, history teaches us a lot.

Hundreds of years ago, we never thought simple handwashing could save us from a lot of diseases.

Let’s take Ignaz Semmelweis, a Hungarian physician, as an example. After noticing the weird high mortality rate among laboring mothers. He conducted an investigation and tried to find an answer to this problem.

He theorized that medical students might have spread microbes after doing autopsies. So he mandated doctors to do handwashing with chlorine before touching any patients. Though, history tells us that many didn’t like it and ignored this rule.

Still, Dr. Semmelweis eventually became known as the father of hand hygiene as time flew. Though not in his time. He shifted our views on handwashing. Futurewise, he saved a lot of women and families.

Another good example is the Ebola virus. Researchers found out that transmission also occurs during burial traditions. Direct contact with the Ebola-stricken cadaver can also get you infected.

They discovered that improper burial of the dead has contributed to the spread of the virus. It was a discovery that forced a lot of traditional ways of burial to be changed.

At the start, a lot of people didn’t like it due to their hundreds of years’ traditions. Still, a lot relented after seeing the results. Sometimes the fear of death is a powerful motivator.

5. No One Else to Infect: The Worst Pandemic Ending

I hate to talk about this one with you. Why? Well, considering the current scientific breakthroughs in vaccine development. I find the chances of this event happening next to nil. Hey, it is one thing to be happy about. And you will know why as we dig into this deeper.

Anyway, let’s look back to history again. I will talk about an event that is known as the deadliest pandemic ever-recorded in human history. Yep, it is the Black Death, also known as the Bubonic Plague during the 14th century. It couldn’t get any more popular in these times of pandemic. But don’t worry, unless humanity as a whole does something incredibly stupid. It won’t get to this level.

During those times, getting infected was almost a death sentence for anybody. Black Death was called black death for a reason. Why? It is because of how fatal the disease was. The bubonic form of the disease has at least an 80% case fatality rate. What’s worse? Its pneumonic form almost had a 100% fatality rate.

It is a pandemic that literally wiped away cities and thriving nations. Though, there is no actual document that can tell us how many died. Well, no one really cared to count piles of dead bodies. Historians and experts have at least expected about 25 million to 200 million deaths. Shocking right?

After thinning the population in epic proportions, it ended up with no one else to infect. Why? The survivors had developed immunity against it, a lasting immunity. Scholars concluded that the survivors also distanced themselves from the carriers—the nasty rats.

The Bottom Line

We don’t really know when this pandemic will end. Still, history tells us a lot about the things we should do and don’t at these times of trouble. Good things and bad things. Hey, my lovable friends, let us not get stupid. Do your part. Let’s not be ‘Karens.’

I want you to appreciate that everyone is doing their best to get us out of this quagmire. Spread some love to the people in the frontlines.

Thank the doctors, nurses, med-techs, pharmacists, and other healthcare workers. Appreciate those soldiers, contact tracers, social workers, leaving their homes to save others. Salute those researchers burning their brows thin to get those vaccines out.

Now, before I end, let me leave you with some serious insights. Ready? Imagine those people that I wanted you to thank and salute, gone, or have given up. Okay, now close your eyes.

Inhale, then exhale. Think of it for a while.

Scary, right?

Okay, I don’t want to talk about any dark things for a while. I want to watch some comedies for some good vibes.

Want a Pandemic Ending Info-graphic? Watch

References

This content is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for formal and individualized diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed medical professional. Do not stop or alter your current course of treatment. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2020 Drew Agravante

Comments

Drew Agravante (author) from Philippines, Currently in Qatar on September 14, 2020:

Yep, I'm totally waiting for it. I expect vaccines to be out in December or in January. Even so, I don't want to get the first shot. I'll at least wait for six months to determine which vaccine is safe. Thanks for reading Louise.

Drew Agravante (author) from Philippines, Currently in Qatar on September 14, 2020:

Hi, Blessed.True. I really wish for this pandemic to end. The best way we can contribute is to simply follow. Thanks for reading!

blessedp on September 13, 2020:

Let us trust and believe that this too shall pass. We just need to adhere to the rules of wearing mask, sanitizing our hands, and stay 6 feet apart.

If we work together we can overcome this pandemic.

Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on September 13, 2020:

Yes, no one knows when this pandemic will end. I suspect it won't be for a while yet. But let's hope they find a vaccine for it soon!

Drew Agravante (author) from Philippines, Currently in Qatar on August 30, 2020:

Thanks for reading through my article, Danny. The pandemic really made us understand how important those simple hand-washing procedures truly are.

Drew Agravante (author) from Philippines, Currently in Qatar on August 30, 2020:

Indeed, the disease will not just fade away. And even with the vaccine, there's no perfect assurance of complete protection. Live, laugh, and laugh - a healthy mind makes a healthy body. Thanks for reading.

Danny from India on August 30, 2020:

Yes, it should and will come to an end, just as the 1918 Spanish Flu. Everything has its day and so with pandemics. Whatever the origins, it made us learn about hygiene and taking proper care of the environment even animals.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on August 30, 2020:

The message is clear: "These things will stay with us for a long time. Yep, whether we want it or not." Meanwhile, you encourage us to live, laugh and love.