How can we understand the COVID-19 pandemic?
Ever since the 1918 Spanish influenza pandemic, scientists have dreamed of preventing such catastrophic outbreaks of infectious disease. Yet despite a century of medical progress, viral and bacterial disasters continue to take us by surprise, inciting panic and dominating news cycles. In The Pandemic Century, a lively account of scares both infamous and less known, medical historian Mark Honigsbaum combines reportage with the history of science and medical sociology to artfully reconstruct epidemiological mysteries and the ecology of infectious diseases. We meet dedicated disease detectives, obstructive or incompetent public health officials, and brilliant scientists often blinded by their own knowledge of bacteria and viruses—and see how fear of disease often exacerbates racial, religious, and ethnic tensions. Now updated with a new chapter and epilogue.
2020 has indeed been a year like no other. The misery, pain, and suffering that covid-19 bought is unprecedented as far as memories of those alive today are concerned. Many epidemiologists and public health experts believe that is just not an isolated occurrence. In recent times only we have seen Zika (2015), Ebola (2014), H1N1 (2009), SARS (2003), H5N1 (1997) pandemics may be more deadly and more frequent in the future. Learning from the past is extremely important.
This book the pandemic century by Mark honigsbaum takes us through the blue death, the parrot fever pandemic. the Philadelphia (Philly) killer, AIDS Pandemic, and yes the disease X pandemic which turned out to be covid 19.
In this book, the honigsbaum tries to reiterate and detail the words of G B shaw that
” the characteristics microbe of a disease might be symptoms instead of the cause.” This the true of microbes and viruses alike in the sense that the infectious diseases they lead to nearly have wide environmental and social causes. After repeatedly failing to predict the outbreaks of infectious disease, the world has well realized the limits of medical prognostication. This is not just because the microbes and viruses are mutable but also become humans have always lent them a helping hand in occupying new ecological niches and in spreading to newer places. Maybe that’s why Louis Pasteur once said, “Gentlemen, it’s the microbes that will have the last word.”