By Thomas Sellers Jr.
For years when I heard the word Corona, I thought of a groovy beer.
Until this past December, the ‘C’ word was an adult beverage. Corona Extra became a part of Americana as a pale lager produced by Cervecería Modelo in Mexico. Now one of the top-selling beers worldwide is a part of internet memes as the cause of the lethal coronavirus.
Although the beer and disease are not related, the coronavirus is having a negative worldwide effect, including China having to shut down some operations ranging from tourism to Anheuser-Busch Inbev.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is closely monitoring an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a new coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.
Chinese authorities identified the new coronavirus, which has resulted in thousands of confirmed cases in China. Additional cases have been identified in a growing number of other international locations. With China at a virtual standstill, industries— including the production of Corona beer — are suffering as well.
The news cycle rage of 2020 so far worldwide is the coronavirus. Let’s hope an antivirus is created soon so we can get back to partying with Coronas by New Year’s Eve.
Throughout history some diseases have tried to erase mankind. Below are my ranking of the worst epidemics of all time. No. 1 should be obvious.
Swine flu (2009-2010)
Death toll: 201,200
The 2009 swine flu was an influenza pandemic that lasted from early 2009 to late 2010. This pandemic got us used to hearing about the H1N1 influenza virus. It reached the United States, causing deaths. The disease was born from the influenza type A virus that affects pigs.
Asian flu (1956-1958)
Death toll: 2 million
The current coronavirus is not the first time the continent of Asia has been the home of a deadly disease. Back in the late 1950s, the Asian flu was a pandemic outbreak of Influenza A of the H2N2 subtype. The disease originated in China in 1956. For two years, the Asian flu traveled from the Chinese province of Guizhou to Singapore, Hong Kong and the United States. The estimated for the death was in the millions with 69,800 of those in the U.S.
Sixth cholera pandemic (1910-1911)
Death toll: 800,000-plus
There were actually five previous incarnations of this disease. The sixth cholera pandemic originated in India, where it killed more than 800,000. After touring most of Europe and parts of the Middle East, the pandemic crossed the pond to the United States. It was the last American outbreak of cholera more than 100 years ago.
Flu pandemic (1889-1890)
Death toll: 1 million
Flu is common on one hand, and on the next hand it can be deadly. Back in 1889, the Asiatic flu or Russian flu was a strain thought to be an outbreak of the Influenza A virus subtype H2N2. Recent discoveries found the cause to be the Influenza A virus subtype H3N8. This outbreak was a blessing in disguise because it helped researchers find multiple solutions, preventable measures and antiviruses for future outbreaks.
Third cholera pandemic (1852–1860)
Death toll: 1 million
Cholera reached a grand total of seven pandemics. The third incarnation of the disease is considered the deadliest of its seven pandemics. The third major outbreak of Cholera in the 19th century lasted about eight years. This version started in India, spreading from the Ganges River delta. This cholera traveled through Europe, doing major damage in Great Britain.
Plague of Justinian (541-542)
Death toll: 25 million
This plague almost destroyed a city. The Plague of Justinian killed about 25 million people in Europe. The outbreak of the bubonic plague afflicted the Byzantine Empire and Mediterranean port cities. At its peak, the disease was killing an estimated 5,000 people a day and eventually resulting in the deaths of 40 percent of one city.
Death toll: 36 million
Still around and starting in the 1980s, the HIV/AIDS virus started its peak about 15 years ago. AIDS is a global force, killing more than 36 million people since 1981. Currently there are between 31 and 35 million people living with HIV. Awareness has grown and new treatments have been developed that make HIV more manageable.
Flu pandemic (1918)
Death toll: 20–50 million
Back again is the flu. It’s scary that something so common can be so lethal. If you were alive 100 years ago, the flu was a death sentence. Between 1918 and 1920, a deadly outbreak of influenza tore across the globe, infecting more than 33 percent of the world’s population.
By the time this version died down, between 20 to 50 million people were dead. This deadly flu outbreak ranks so high because of its unique victims. This flu struck down typically healthy young adults. It was a major game changer.
Antonine plague (165 AD)
Death toll: 5 million
Let’s go far back in history for No. 2. Here is my research of the plague of Galen, also known as the Antonine plague. This disease was an ancient pandemic that affected Asia Minor, Egypt, Greece and Italy. It was thought to consist of either smallpox or measles. This strange disease was brought back to Rome by soldiers returning from Mesopotamia. The disease destroyed the Roman army and killed more than 5 million, an astronomical number for that era.
The Black Death (1346-1353)
Death toll: 75–200 million
The “best thing since sliced bread” is a common phrase, like “the worst thing since the Bubonic Plague.” So the Black Death from 1346 to 1353 has to rank No. 1. This outbreak of the plague absolutely destroyed Europe, Africa and Asia. Some estimates are nearly a quarter of a billion people died from the Black Death.
THOMAS SELLERS JR. is the editor of The Millington Star and both the sports editor and a weekly personal columnist for West 10 Media/Magic Valley Publishing. Contact him by phone at (901) 433-9138, by fax to (901) 529-7687 and by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.