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How does coronavirus compare to other pandemics? Show more Show less
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COVID-19 has been devastating, affecting people across the world and killing thousands. However, it is far from the first pandemic of its kind. From the Spanish flu to the bubonic plague, throughout history pandemics have killed huge amounts of the population. Is the coronavirus pandemic the worst in history? Or have previous pandemics been worse?

COVID-19 is the worst pandemic in history Show more Show less

Of all the pandemics in history, coronavirus is the one that has had the most devastating effect.
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Globalisation has spread the disease faster

We are now more connected than ever, and this is reflected in the way that coronavirus has spread.
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The Argument

Our world now rest heavily on interconnectedness. People travel more than ever, and can do so more easily. Supply chains are global, rarely local. Even within most countries, traveling between cities is easier than ever. All of this wreaks havoc with the way pandemics start and can spread. For instance, the SARS pandemic in 2002-3 reached 32 countries, killing 813 people.[1] As of the beginning of April, COVID-19 has reached 178 countries and killed at least 39,000 people.[2] While, of course, this is not solely because of globalisation, it is clear that it assists its spread. Additionally, more people than ever now live in cities. While in 1960 only 34% of people were urbanised, 55% of the global population now live in cities.[3] Diseases can spread much more easily in urban areas, so this facilitates pandemics. This is the cost of living in the age of hyper-connection. COVID-19 is an unprecedented pandemic because it is spreading on a larger scale - both geographically and in terms of the rate of infection - than anything in recent memory, or perhaps even historically.

Counter arguments

Premises

[P1] We now live in an extremely inter-connected world. [P2] This means that pandemics will inevitably be far worse than ever before.

Rejecting the premises

References

  1. https://www.who.int/csr/sars/country/country2003_08_15.pdf
  2. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/01/countries-confirmed-cases-coronavirus-200125070959786.html
  3. https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/sp.urb.totl.in.zs
This page was last edited on Tuesday, 31 Mar 2020 at 14:58 UTC