17. Have there been pandemics before?

Yes. The WHO defines a pandemic as the worldwide spread of a new disease.

In the past 100 years, there have been numerous pandemics. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The largest was the Spanish Influenza in 1918: there were 500 million worldwide cases and 25 million deaths.
  • In 2002 there was a SARS pandemic caused by SARS CoV-1 virus: this originated in China and had a death rate of 10%.
  • In 2009 there was a Swine Flu pandemic caused by H1N1 virus: this originated in Mexico, and had a very low death rate (<0.1%)
  • In 2012, there was a MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome): this originated in Saudi Arabia and had a death rate of 35%.

The current COVID-19 pandemic has a death rate of ~3%.

by Dr Sukhdev Singh, Sikh Doctors Association 

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