In this morning’s edition of The Gartman Letter, Dennis Gartman listed the assorted plagues that have claimed countless lives during the last many centuries. It is a terrific summary and helps develop perspective. We tend to focus on the isolated case and not think about the system. It is scary to watch modern media portray viral spread and resultant death. We are concerned for good reason.
Smallpox, for example, ran rampant many times over the ages, and the groups above believe that perhaps several hundred million people have been killed over the eons by smallpox, with 300 million killed in the 20th century alone. In 1967, 15 million had the disease and 2 million were killed. However, effectively since 1979 there have been no outbreaks of smallpox and the disease is all but eliminated.
In 1918-1919 Influenza, and specifically H1N1, commonly referred to as Spanish flu, killed 50 million people. 675,000 Americans were killed during that period.
The Plague … Bubonic Plague … killed 20 million Europeans between 1340-1771, with the majority of those who died having done so between 1345 and1350, with approximately one of three Europeans alive during that period, having died due to the plague.
Malaria has been around for thousands of years, and only two years ago Malaria killed 1.2 million people, primarily in equatorial climates. The WHO believes that 1.8 million died during a particularly malevolent outbreak of Malaria in ’04, and we are told that 60 thousand US soldiers died of malaria in World War II.
Cholera affects 3-5 million people every year according to the WHO, of which 100-120 thousand die… every year! The WHO counts seven cholera pandemics since the first in the very early 19th century.
AIDS has killed 25 million people since 1981 and it killed 3.1 million in ’05 alone. The WHO estimates that there are 40.3 million people alive today suffering from HIV.
Tuberculosis has been around for nearly five thousand years, and as recently as ’12 there were 8.6 million people infected with TB and 1.1 million who died from the disease in that year alone. TB raged through Europe in the 1600s, killing one of every seven people alive at the time.
Typhus has been extant for nearly three thousand years, and it killed approximately 3 million people between 1918-1922 [Ed. Note: Remember, the Spanish flu was extant at that time, killing 50 million people, so between typhus and influenza, 53 million people died of diseases in those five years alone!]
Here in south eastern Virginia, 3,200 people died of yellow fever in 1855, and that was of a population then of only 15,000, so 1 of every 5 people living in Norfolk, Portsmouth and Hampton died from the disease. In all, yellow fever killed 100,000 people here in the US at the time.
Dennis Gartman, The Gartman Letter, 7 Oct. 2014