Plagues in perspective

THERE WAS A global pandemic in 1957-58, an H2N2 virus. The estimated death toll was 1.1 million. I was 13-14 years old, and I do not remember it. Do you? If you weren’t born yet, ask your mom and dad.

In 1968, an H3N2 virus caused another pandemic. It killed an estimated 1 million to 4 million globally which, yes, is a very wide range, and about 100,000 in the United States, most of whom were over age 65. Sound familiar? I was 24 years old, married with a daughter. I do not remember this pandemic. Do you?

Why are they forgotten?

During those pandemics, nations did not clobber their own economies nor force citizens to stay home and wear face masks to walk outside. What has changed? Communication has changed. And we’re scaring ourselves out of our wits.

This year we have the coronavirus, which has killed about 700,000 worldwide and about 159,000 in the United States, and it seems to be winding down in many places. In Mexico, 48,000 have died, which is one of the world’s highest tolls.

Mexico’s GDP has taken a terrific hit due to forced business closures.

To put that global death toll of 700,000 in perspective, it’s about midway between the populations of Albuquerque and Austin. For the whole world, which houses 7 billion, 800 million and change, people-wise.

Following is a brief video from the inimitable Katie Hopkins. She is addressing a ham-fisted shutdown in Melbourne, Australia, where lockdown has reached stellar absurdity.