Monday, July 04, 2022 |
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Siberia, 40,000 B.C., Ragnak the Neanderthal was having a real bad day.
He had Mastodon-size headache so he stumbled into his cave and fell down on his bear skin bed. He tossed and turned for a few days but was tough and got through it.
He’d caught the wooly mammoth flu, or whatever you want to call it, one of the many pandemics that could have hit the cavemen back then.
We can assume that pandemics have been around since the beginning, and were probably similar to the ones we know of today. They occur at least twice every century and usually last from two to four years.
So in the 40,000 years after Ragnak, the caveman there could have been between 400 and 800 pandemics, each lasting 3 or so years.
Long after the Neanderthals we come into historic times landing in ancient Greece. Athens was at war with the Spartans. You remember those bad dudes in the movie “300.” During the war, a plague broke out in Athens. It started in 430 B.C. And was over by 427 B.C., lasting three years. The Spartans charged in and won the war.
Long after that Rome had its plague caused by rats, it lasted about one year.
We all know of the Bubonic Plague. It started in 1345 when a bunch of rats slipped aboard trading ships that landed in Italy and Europe. The rats had fleas that caused the virus. People believed it was the end of the world but a year later in 1346 it was over.
Then we come into modern times when the Spanish Flu raged around the world. It was the worst pandemic ever. But as bad as it was, it mercifully ended in two years, going on from 1918 to 1920.
As you can see, as horrendous as these epidemics are, they always end fairly soon.
Now we have the horrible COVID. It came to us like some sick Christmas present in December 2019. It raged through 2020 and 2021.
It is a terrible thing but to understand its effects and possible ending we must view it like any other pandemic. It acts like every virus through history.
Like all others it started from animals. The disease in ancient Athens was caused by rotting animals in the besieged city. Rome’s problem was caused by rats in crumbling graineries. The Bubonic Plague by rats and their fleas. And COVID-19, like every pandemic before it, was caused by animals in Wuhan, China.
So coronavirus had a similar beginning as the others, and it follows that it will have the same ending, the same duration of time before it winds down.
COVID is now entering its third year, the year most world-wide viruses have aways ended.
Now the newscasters and negative nannies are droning on about the dangers of COVID. They are right to be careful but our fears make us forget that these disasters end on their own time. The bugs burn out on their own, or so it has always been.
Of course, protecting ourselves with masks and distancing will hurry the time it ends, but if the past 40,000 years is any indication, this pandemic could soon be over.
This is not a Pollyanna prediction, it is a simple observation. History repeats itself.
Fighting this together we’ve lost much, but now the sun is shining over the mountain.
It will soon be time to rise and feel the sunshine on your face.
This too shall pass, really.
Dennis Gregory writes a bi-monthly column for West Hawaii Today and welcomes your comments at email@example.com