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PARIS, April 19 – The global number of Covid-19 casualties exceeded three million on Saturday, and the pandemic has already killed more people than most other viral epidemics of the 20th and 21st centuries.
But there were significant exceptions. According to some estimates, the Spanish flu destroyed 50 million people after the First World War. And over the decades, AIDS has killed 33 million.
Here are some comparisons:
In 2009, the H1N1 virus or swine flu caused a global pandemic and officially died of 18,500.
This was later revised upwards Lancet medical journal on between 151,700 and 575,400 dead.
That brings it closer to seasonal flu, which accounts for between 290,000 and 650,000 deaths worldwide each year, according to the World Health Organization.
In the twentieth century, the two major off-season flu pandemics – the Asian flu of 1957-1958 and the Hong Kong flu of 1968-1970 – killed about a million people, according to a count made after that.
The greatest catastrophe of the modern pandemic to date, the flu pandemic of 1918-1919, also known as the Spanish flu, destroyed about 50 million people according to research published in the 2000s.
Other viral epidemics
The number of victims of Covid-19, which appeared in central China at the end of 2019, is far higher than the number of hemorrhagic fever Ebola, which was first identified in 1976.
In four decades, periodic Ebola outbreaks have killed about 15,000 people, all in Africa.
Ebola has a far higher mortality rate than Covid-19: About 50 percent of infected people die from it.
But Ebola is less contagious than other viral diseases, namely because it is not transmitted by air, but is transmitted by direct and close contact.
AIDS is by far the deadliest modern epidemic: Nearly 33 million people worldwide have died from a disease that affects the immune system.
No effective vaccine has been found, but retroviral drugs, if taken regularly, effectively stop the disease and significantly reduce the risk of contamination.
This treatment helped reduce the number of deaths from its peak in 2004 from 1.7 million deaths to 690,000 in 2019, according to UNAIDS.
Hepatitis B and C viruses also have a high number of deaths, killing about 1.3 million people each year, most often in poor countries.
In 2002-2003, Covid’s precursor SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) that emerged from China was the first coronavirus to cause global fears, but ultimately only 774 people died.
Three million equals …
By comparison, the figure of three million people represents slightly more than the population of Jamaica or Armenia.
That’s also three times the share of the Iran-Iraq war that raged from 1980 to 1988, or 2,000 times the more than 1,500 killed in the sinking of the Titanic.
Over the past month, more than 10,000 people have died from coronavirus every day.
According to the UN, as many as 10,000 children die of hunger every day. – AFP