How Past Plagues & Pandemics Have Shaped Human History

jpanhalt

Joined Jan 18, 2008
11,088
A couple of notes:
1) Some pathologist believe the bubonic plague was really due to a different agent, namely a virus similar to EBOLA hemorrhagic fever.
EDIT: Here's a short article that presents that theory: https://www.nature.com/scitable/blog/viruses101/could_the_black_death_actually/#:~:text=In virtually every textbook the,in the following 300 years.
2) My paternal grandmother died in the Spanish flu of 1918. One cannot imagine the effect that had on a large, young immigrant family. My dad was only 8 years old at the time. His youngest brother died too.
 
Last edited:

WBahn

Joined Mar 31, 2012
26,398
My grandparents got married in 1918 (he was 21 and she was 18) so I imagine they were impacted significantly, even if no one they knew succumbed to it. I never got the opportunity to talk to them about it because by the time I was old enough to realize how valuable such a conversation would be, it was too late.
 

jpanhalt

Joined Jan 18, 2008
11,088
A very good friend in Cleveland was Cambodian, "Patra." I cannot pronounce the rest of her "first" name. We worked for the same employer, and when there was the inevitable turmoil, her message was "life moves on." Simple, but knowing a little of her past, that comment moved me.

SARS-CoV-2 will have an effect, but life, business, schooling must move on.
 

Thread Starter

shortbus

Joined Sep 30, 2009
8,478

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
8,292
Bubonic was one that came back quite a few times over the centuries. Some times it hit harder than others.
Quote, "Yersinia pestis has been discovered in archaeological finds from the Late Bronze Age (~3800 BP" From - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bubonic_plague#History Bubonic was just one name for the disease caused by Yersinia pestis.
Bubonic Plague is a present danger. We were vaccinated in the 70's for it.
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41541-019-0105-9
Half a century ago, the USA developed and approved a formalin-killed whole cell Y. pestis vaccine (USP) which was used to vaccinate military during the Vietnam War.89,90 This vaccine afforded effective protection against bubonic plague, but the vaccine was highly reactogenic and failed to provide long-term protection and any protection against pneumonic plague.
 

jpanhalt

Joined Jan 18, 2008
11,088
NOTE: Just added a citation to my post #2.

It is conceivable based on surviving evidence that not all instances of "Black death" had the same cause.

Edit: added "all"
 
Last edited:

GetDeviceInfo

Joined Jun 7, 2009
1,844
My understanding is that the human genome shows markers believed to be past disease events. Might those have changed our evolutionary path?
 

justtrying

Joined Mar 9, 2011
432
A very good friend in Cleveland was Cambodian, "Patra." I cannot pronounce the rest of her "first" name. We worked for the same employer, and when there was the inevitable turmoil, her message was "life moves on." Simple, but knowing a little of her past, that comment moved me.

SARS-CoV-2 will have an effect, but life, business, schooling must move on.
This is a message you will hear from many older russians and the one I subscribe to - bydem zhit' - meaning "keep on living". It is a funny way of saying, you didnt die, so you have no choice but to go on living. Stop complaining... The underlying message there is it is your choice on how you live. Tricky :)

For this particular "crisis" - look at the numbers and decide for yourself if this outbreak is on par with others... I have noticed that at our local grocery store foreign workers have been brought in to fill vacancies (from India) as people stopped working and went on governement relief... Dont think this happened during Spanish Flu times
 

jpanhalt

Joined Jan 18, 2008
11,088
The problem, as I understand it, is CARES gives 14-days of employer-paid quarantine at full pay after an exposure. Many employers are seeing employees who conveniently get "re-exposed" every 14-days. There is no circuit-breaker provision in that hastily passed legislation.
 

justtrying

Joined Mar 9, 2011
432
Did they even have a government relief back then for the SF? Weren't people pretty much on their own?
That is my point. In Canada the "pandemic relief" payments have been extended yet again... While they are not handing it out like candy anymore, at the beginning pretty much anyone qualified so you could quit your grocery store job (essential), claim it was for health reasons and get $2000/month check. Supposedly gov't will be asking for it back if it is not legit (but eligibility criteria seem pretty loose), but how are they going to sort through this mess?

https://www.advisor.ca/news/economic/understanding-cerb-ei-and-the-feds-wage-subsidy/
 

Thread Starter

shortbus

Joined Sep 30, 2009
8,478
It's my understanding that here it is tied to unemployment claims. And at least here in Ohio, if your unemployed and refuse to go back to work when called back your unemployment is cancelled. Or that was the way it was when I was still working. And if you just quit a job, for health or what ever reason there is/was no unemployment.
 

jpanhalt

Joined Jan 18, 2008
11,088
My understanding is that the human genome shows markers believed to be past disease events. Might those have changed our evolutionary path?
Probably. There is clear evidence that infectious diseases (including parasites) have had an evolutionary effect. Sickle cell anemia and G6PD deficiency are probably both evolutionary responses to malaria.

Here's one link that discusses retrovirus risks: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK19457/

EDIT: I probably should have said sickle cell trait is protective. The homozygous state that gives rise to sickle cell disease (SCD) is also protective, but is kind of an evolutionary wrong turn in my mind as SCD can be quite disabling.
 
Last edited:

Thread Starter

shortbus

Joined Sep 30, 2009
8,478
The Spanish Flu was a double whammy on a world which had just recently emerged from the deadliest war in history: (until then) WW1.

There was a quote over this past week end, that the 1917 Spanish Flu Pandemic ended the Second World War early too. Won't tell you in the thread who said so, but will in PM.
 

jpanhalt

Joined Jan 18, 2008
11,088
There was a quote over this past week end, that the 1917 Spanish Flu Pandemic ended the Second World War early too. Won't tell you in the thread who said so, but will in PM.
I would like to know. VE Day was not anticipated by any flu. VJ Day was shortly after the Enola Gay flew.
 
Top