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A visual history of pandemics

Quarantined

  • The original use of the word Quarantine was the act of anchoring a ship arrived in Venice, Italy, for 40 days before landing.
  • Infectiousness of any disease is measured by the reproduction number (R0, or R naught). For example, Smallpox has an R0 of 6 whereas Measles has an R0 of 16. 
  • Vaccination, if available, and herd immunity can curb the spread of disease.
  • Big cities, with exploding population and traffic, can lead to the rapid spread of any infectious disease.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

A visual history of pandemics

A visual history of pandemics

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/03/a-visual-history-of-pandemics

weforum.org

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Key Ideas

A History Of Pandemics

  • A Pandemic is defined as the proliferation of a disease over the whole country or the entire world.
  • Diseases and illnesses have troubled humanity since the earliest days, but can now occur with increased frequency due to rapid urbanization and globalism. The death toll numbers in Pandemics over the ages are estimates based on available research, and may not be accurate.
  • Earlier it was believed that Pandemics are God’s punishment on humans, but now, as our understanding has increased, the response to these outbreaks has improved.

Quarantined

  • The original use of the word Quarantine was the act of anchoring a ship arrived in Venice, Italy, for 40 days before landing.
  • Infectiousness of any disease is measured by the reproduction number (R0, or R naught). For example, Smallpox has an R0 of 6 whereas Measles has an R0 of 16. 
  • Vaccination, if available, and herd immunity can curb the spread of disease.
  • Big cities, with exploding population and traffic, can lead to the rapid spread of any infectious disease.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Spreading of diseases

Transmissible diseases existed during humankind’s hunter-gatherer days, but the shift to agrarian life 10,000 years ago created communities that made epidemics more possible.
We started build...

430 B.C.: Plague of Athens

The earliest recorded pandemic happened during the Peloponnesian War. It passed through Libya, Ethiopia, and Egypt,  and it reached Athens as the Spartans laid siege. Two-thirds of the population died.
The disease, suspected to have been typhoid fever, weakened the Athenians significantly and played a big role in their defeat by the Spartans.

165 A.D.: The Antonine Plague

It may have been an early appearance of smallpox that began with the Huns.
The Huns then infected the Germans, who passed it to the Romans and then returning troops spread it throughout the Roman empire.  This plague continued until about 180 A.D., claiming Emperor Marcus Aurelius as one of its victims.

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The Third Cholera Pandemic (1852-1860)
The Third Cholera Pandemic (1852-1860)

Cholera is a bacterial infection and is mainly contracted through food and water.

The largest cholera outbreak originated in India and spread beyond its borders, killing about 23 000 people ...

The Asian Flu Pandemic (1957)

The Asian Flu Pandemic was an outbreak of avian influenza that started in China and spread worldwide.

The estimated death rate was one to two million people.

Typhus fever in World War 1 (1945)

Typhus fever is spread by lice. The war brought on poor sanitation that probably led to a higher density of lice and made the transmission more prevalent.

Typhus fever caused three million deaths in Russia alone.

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The influenza pandemic of 1918

It is often referred to incorrectly as the “Spanish flu.” Between 50 and 100 million people are thought to have died, representing as much as 5% of the world’s population. Half a billion people...

The origins of the "Spanish" flu

The so-called Spanish flu did not originate in Spain. The geographic origin of the flu is debated to this day, though hypotheses have suggested East Asia, Europe, and even Kansas.
The influenza pandemic from 1918 got this name most likely because of the WWI context: The major countries involved in the war were keen to avoid encouraging their enemies, so reports of the extent of the flu were suppressed in Germany, Austria, France, the United Kingdom and the U.S. By contrast, neutral Spain had no need to keep the flu under wraps. That created the false impression that Spain was bearing the brunt of the disease.

The end of mankind

The 1918 flu spread rapidly, killing 25 million people in just the first six months. This led some to fear the end of mankind and that the whole thing was caused by a form of super-virus.
Recent studies show that the high death rate can be attributed to crowding in military camps and urban environments, as well as poor nutrition and sanitation, which suffered during wartime.

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The habit of shaking hands

Taking into account the current situation created by the new virus, disease experts state that we should all consider removing handshakes from our habits from now on, as they could only increase th...

Giving up on handshakes

While shaking hands reveals the need to connect with the other and be socially engaged, several disease experts are encouraging us to find a substitute that would endanger less our health throughout periods of pandemics and not only. For instance, greetings such as simply stating how much of a pleasure it is to meet a person could actually do the trick.

Adapting our social habits

While disease experts support the idea of removing the handshakes from our cultural customs, several University professors claim that individuals are surely able to adept their customs, even if these have been practiced for generations to come. Therefore, giving up or just adjusting the handshake, should be no major issue for our civilization.

The mask

The mask - a flimsy polymer cup - fits tightly around the face and is capable of filtering 95% of airborne particles, such as viruses, from the air.

The firsts masks were ...

Surgical masks

Doctors started wearing the first surgical masks in 1897. The masks were not designed to prevent airborne disease - that is still not the case today - but to prevent doctors from coughing or sneezing droplets onto wounds during surgery.

The first modern respirator

During 1920, a plague broke out between a shared jurisdiction of China and Russia. The Chinese Imperial Court brought in a young doctor named Lien-teh Wu that determined that the plague was not spread by fleas but through the air. He expanded upon the surgery masks he'd seen in the West, and made it from gauze and cotton and added several layers of cloth to filter inhalations.

When the Spanish flu arrived in 1918, the mask was well-known among scientists and the public.

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Epidemic vs. pandemic

An epidemic is a broad term used to describe any problem that is actively spreading and has grown out of control.

The pandemic rel...

Disease Event Classification

Epidemiology is the branch of medicine that handles the following:

  • Incidence: the occurrence of a disease over a specified period.
  • Prevalence: how many people are affected within a population.
  • Control of diseases: an appropriate public health response.

Two measurable factors mostly define the level of disease occurrence:

  • The pattern and speed by which a disease moves.
  • The size of the susceptible population.
The terms an epidemiologist use
  • Sporadic refers to a disease that occurs infrequently or irregularly.
  • Cluster refers to a disease that occurs in larger numbers even though the actual number or cause may be uncertain.
  • Endemic refers to the constant presence and/or general prevalence of a disease in a geographic population.
  • Hyperendemic refers to persistent, high levels of disease well above what is seen in other populations.
  • Epidemic refers to a sudden increase in the number of cases of a disease above what is normally expected.
  • Outbreak is the same as an epidemic but is often used to describe a more limited geographic event.
  • Pandemic refers to an epidemic that has spread over several countries or continents, usually affecting a large number of people.

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The Black Death
The Black Death

This is a medieval pandemic (most likely, the bubonic plague) and is associated with Europe because it killed an estimated one-third of the European population in the 14th century.
However, the ...

Origins of the Black Death

Many scholars believe that the bubonic plague began in northwestern China, while others cite southwestern China or the steppes of Central Asia.
We do know that in 1331 an outbreak erupted in the Yuan Empire and may have hastened the end of Mongol rule over China. Three years later, the disease killed over 90 percent of the Hebei Province's population with deaths totaling over 5 million people.

The Black Death Spreads

From its origin at the eastern end of the Silk Road, the Black Death rode trade routes west stopping at Central Asian caravansaries and Middle Eastern trade centers and subsequently infected people all across Asia.

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Insight from literature

Over the history of Western literature about pandemics, much has been said in the way of catharsis, ways of dealing with intense emotion, and political commentary on how people respond to public he...

Stories help us to think

Homer's Iliad opens with a plague visited upon the Greek camp at Troy. The Decameron (1353) by Giovanni Boccaccio is set during the Black Death.

The stories offer the listeners ways to consider how similar crises have been managed previously, and how to reorganize their daily lives, which have been suspended due to the epidemic.

Authority's failure to respond
  • Mary Shelley's apocalypse novel The Last Man (1826), depicts the life of Lionel Verney, who becomes the last man after a devastating global plague. The book criticizes the institutional responses to the plague, showing the revolutionary utopianism and the in-fighting that breaks out among surviving groups before they also die.
  • The short story, The Masque of the Red Death (1842), also shows the failures o authority figures to respond to a disaster appropriately.

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The pandemic

According to the World Health Organization, a pandemic is declared when a new disease for which people do not have immunity spreads around the world beyond expectations.

Declaring a pandemic

When declaring a pandemic, the World Health Organization has the last word. There is no threshold, such as a certain number of deaths or infections, or a number of countries affected, that needs to be met.
And once a pandemic is declared, it becomes more likely that community spread will eventually happen, and governments and health systems need to ensure they are prepared for that.

Dealing with the current pandemic

Although a pandemic has been declared, there is no need for global panic. Panic would defeat the purpose of trying to raise awareness.
It is still urging countries to detect, test, treat, isolate, trace and mobilize their people.

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Flattening the curve
Flattening the curve

It means that all the social distancing measures being adopted these days in many countries aren’t so much about preventing illness but rather slowing down the rate at which people get sick with...

Preventing system overload

Staying home during the pandemic helps prevent health systems from being overloaded.
Overloading hospitals can likely be averted with protective measures like closing schools, canceling mass gatherings, working from home, self-quarantine, self-isolation, avoiding crowds. All these keep the virus from spreading fast.