Black Death Vs Covid-19: Critical Essay on Pandemic

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Pandemics are huge outbreaks of communicable diseases that can significantly upsurge morbidity and death over diverse geographical regions and cause substantial economic, social, and political disruption. Evidence suggests that the likelihood of pandemics has increased over the past century because of increased global travel and integration, urbanization, changes in land use, and greater exploitation of the natural environment (Jones and others 2008; Morse 1995). As a result, the world is witnessing the epidemics caused by deadly viruses’ like COVID-19, a recent one, including Ebola, SARS, Spanish flu, and of course the Black Death also known as the plague.

The world paid and is bearing the huge economic cost of these pandemics. The plague also named Black Death, had a shocking effect on the European population in the 14th century. Though it is hard to quantify the precise human cost of the plague due to inadequate records from the historical period, most historians reason that the plague took the lives of somewhere between 30% and 60% of Europe’s population between 1347 and 1351.

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The Black Death has a much larger impact on the countryside in Europe however farms recovered within a year. The wages went up much higher and peasants were also in a far better negotiating position to do all kinds of things. The long-term economic impacts included animal husbandry growing great at the expense of grain agriculture which needed far less manual labor and the cultivation went up, particularly in Italy in Greece. Interestingly enough, with greater peasant disposable income, the new sumptuary laws were adopted. The pessimistic psychology of people impacted over economic, spiritual, and political arenas; people figured out that they were going to die anyway. This caused individualistic pursuit of pleasure; people had higher spending on luxury goods. Finally, it can be drawn that the Black Death was responsible for the rise of capitalism.

Beginning from January 1918 to December 1920, the Spanish Flu which hit hard particularly in the U.S. and Sweden, infected 500 million people—about a quarter of the world's population at the time and the death toll is estimated to have been about 50 million, making it one of the deadliest epidemics in human history. Although the actual true impact of this flu on the global economy isn’t actually much known because the 1st World War was just over at the same time, the entertainment services industry suffered while the healthcare industry reported healthy profits. Thomas A. Garrett, a pioneering economist compiled research in 2007 and put forward a hypothesis that a decrease in the supply of manufacturing workers led to an increase in wages. The mobility in wage equalization failed to happen in the US and there was low labor mobility as people were generally unable to move around. The women who suffered from influenza in 1918 generally gave birth to children who then suffered from greater medical problems later in life such as schizophrenia, diabetes, and strokes, so this dented the generation of personal incomes. One study found that the children of infected mothers were 15% less likely to graduate high school.

Ebola, according to WHO, is a fatal disease having a 50% fatality rate, first discovered in 1976 in the Democratic Republic of Congo and occurred mostly in central Africa. The global economic effects of Ebola are seen in African countries’ GDP and the labor force. The most complex and deadly outbreak of Ebola was in West Africa in 2014-2016. WHO declared it a global health emergency and Ebola took the lives of 11316 people out of 28,616 cases. According to the 2014 projections from the World Bank, about 2.2 billion dollars was lost in 2015 in the GDP of all three most affected countries; Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone and mostly it was lost in the private sector growth, agriculture, production, and cross-border trade. It is estimated that Sierra Leone's private sector lost half of its workforce and Liberia reported a 40 percent reduction in the labor market and 66 percent loss in household income which meant that basically, people have less money to buy things which obviously affected the private sector. As huge amounts of populations were decimated, it affected much of food security in these countries. According to Mercy reports, when African countries put a limit on cross-border trading which represents a significant income for both small farmers and traders, it resulted in another huge effect on the system even after these markets open again often traders move their businesses to other places that forced residents to buy more expensive goods.

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV) first infected humans in the Guangdong province of southern China in 2002 and it affected 26 countries resulting in more than 8000 cases with the death of 800 people. The factories in the most hit countries China and Hong Kong were mostly churning out low-cost products like T-shirts and sneakers for consumers around the world. Analyzing the economic impact of SARS, a study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information said just calculating the number of canceled tourist trips declines in retail trade and similar factors is not enough to get the full impact of SARS because of the linkages between and among economies and sectors. the global economic loss from SARS came close to 40 billion dollars in 2003 but given the kind of economic growth the world was experiencing back in the early 2000s the outbreak of SARS dampen the momentum that was already in place.

Novel Corona Virus (COVID-19), first detected in Wuhan of China in December of 2019, killed over 14000 people with more than 250 thousand confirmed cases worldwide. WHO declared a public health emergency on January 30, 2020, and since then it has been a deadly threat to mankind in the 21st century.

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Black Death Vs Covid-19: Critical Essay on Pandemic. (2023, November 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 30, 2024, from
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