The history of pandemics is very saddening as they had taken lives of billions of people worldwide. According to data, the 1918 flu pandemic had taken away the most lives in the U.S. when compared to past pandemics.

Later, other viruses that caused severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) between 2002-2004, H1N1 flu in 2009, and Ebola between 2014 to 2016. Now, we have a new virus, causing COVID-19 which is also a deadly virus infecting many people. The death rate is increasing and the vaccination is not yet discovered.

One thing that was common in most of the pandemics is that it explained to us the importance of social distancing and wearing a mask. We used to look at a person who is wearing a mask and assume that they are sick. It is not the case now. Everyone is finding stores where masks are available and every other person is wearing it.

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Major outbreaks so far:

You might be wondering what happened in the past when such pandemics occurred. Here is everything you want to know:

Spanish Flu Epidemic – 1918:

The 1918 flu pandemic was first detected in March 1918 and around 500 million people were infected causing the death of 50 million people around the world. For people under the age of 40-50 years, it was new and novel.

The symptoms included fever, aches, diarrhea, and nausea. It was transmitted through respiratory droplets from person to person and it ended in 1919 where only people with high immunity levels survived.

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) – 2002-2004

SARS was a virus that came from China and was similar to coronavirus. It was detected in November 2002 and around 8,098 cases were detected causing 774 deaths globally. It was also transmitted through respiratory droplets and the symptoms were fever, cough, and malaise.

It affected the 60-year age groups and no vaccine was found. Some were treated through antiviral medicines. It ended in July 2003. 

H1N1 Flu Pandemic – 2009

It was first detected in April 2009 in the U.S. and around 24 percent of the global population was infected causing more than 2 million deaths globally. The most affected age groups were between 5 to 19 years of age. The vaccine was available in December 2009 and the symptoms were fever, body aches, chills, and cough. It ended in August 2010.

Ebola – 2014-16

It was first detected in March 2013 with more than 25,000 cases and 11,000 deaths globally. There was no vaccine and it ended in March 2016.


It was first detected in December 2019 and the number of cases and deaths is still increasing in billions of people globally. It is transmitted through respiratory droplets and the symptoms are fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Adults over 65 years suffer from this condition and the vaccine is not yet discovered.