The city slowed to a near halt. Schools were closed. Church services were banned. The federal government limited it hours of operation. People were dying - some who took ill in the morning were dead by night. That's how quickly it happened - William H. Sardo Jr.
Sounds like something from a horror movie, doesn't it. Unfortunately, this rememberance is from a man who survived the 1918-1919 Influenza pandemic. One of the least known and most deadly pandemics the world has ever seen. In the course of 2 short years somewhere between 70 and 100 million people would die worldwide.
Pandemics didn't really exist until people started moving to and from other communities. As people spread out and connected, so did the disease that they or their animals carried. No longer was the plague isolated in one small part of the world. It could now take a trip down the silk road. Today we deal with concerns such as SARS or Avian flu on a daily basis. The advent of simple, fast travel has made the spread of disease nearly instantaneous. On the flip side, increased connections around the world means that potential pandemics can be recognized and dealt with much more quickly and effectively. There is a reason that there has not been a MAJOR pandemic since the early 20th century.
Pandemic has been the context for this unit. As Michelle Dewit explains below we've done our best to take a look at the causes and effects of pandemics from multiple different angles.
So, reporting on the week of 2/18-2/22, Michelle writes:
Today I'm going to tell you all about what my Disease and Society class learned about this week. We talked about the differences between an epidemic and a pandemic. An epidemic is when a disease spreads throughout a community, and a pandemic is a disease that spreads globally, affecting all countries. We also learned about diseases that can spread through different countries. Because of air travel and close living conditions, disease have a more effective way of harming people, growing, and traveling around the world more than in ancient times when humans were nomads. Natural disasters are also great breeding grounds for disease because of the lack of sanitation and ability to grow bacteria. We recently discussed America's pandemic plan along with other countries around the world. One of the main points we learned this week would be how globalization (which is countries interacting with each other) can be a positive and a negative thing when dealing with diseases. Positive because countries can quickly share information on a spreading sickness and neighboring countries can quickly provide medical supplies. Negative because of the consistent travel people do that create pandemics in the first place.