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The coronavirus may have the potential to kill as many people as the great influenzas of the last hundred and thirty years. The Spanish flu of 1918/19 killed more individuals than any other specific event. But the Black Death beginning in 1347 killed a higher percentage of the human population than any other event. There were only a half billion people then and nearly eight billion now.

Cardiovascular disease kills more people these days, but that is an individual event and it isn’t a communicable disease. World War Two was a complex event with many different individual deaths, but it was a social disease of human thought and not of nature. The greatest human death toll was the Black Death, which was created by Genghis Khan’s progeny, and Timur was a successful exterminator of people also.

For a comparison of the current pandemic of coronavirus, I created the chart below showing several of the greatest human population disasters. They are listed along the top half of the chart on a historical basis from 1AD to the present. These disasters are color-coded Coronavirus in blue, Ebola in red, Historical diseases in purple, and historical wars in green. A more thorough treatment of Ebola is shown in the lower right of the chart in red.

Comparisons of coronavirus, Ebola, historical diseases, and wars.

The different facets of these four historical problems and descriptive links are color-coded to help you see the relationships. The chart below is identical but Ebola has been removed for easier viewing. But the comparison of coronavirus to Ebola is important because it is easy to see the explosive growth of coronavirus. Its worldwide growth going from 12,036 cases to 182,723 cases in six weeks is startling, because when we project that growth line into the future it becomes obvious that it will grow to engulf the world before a vaccine can be created. The fact that it rarely kills young people and they will probably develop immunity does give hope for the future of humanity.

The blue line on the left side of the chart is the number of Coronavirus cases worldwide. Below it, a thinner blue line represents the number of people who have died by that date. Each of these lines is tagged to a blue dot which has a corresponding number attached to it representing a documented number on that date.

The same method was used for displaying the data for Italy in green, and the US in amber.

The broad black horizontal line at the top represents the total human population corresponding to the dates in light green.

There is more to be said, but it must wait for tomorrow.