Some of the most notable epidemics include the bubonic plague in the 14th century, smallpox in the 18th century, influenza in the 20th century, and SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) in the 21st century. It is estimated that the bubonic plague caused 25 million deaths in Europe in the 14th century alone, and up to 200 million total deaths across centuries (Glatter & Finkelman, 2021). The COVID-19 pandemic spread at an unprecedented pace due to globalization and the mobility of society, killing millions worldwide. These are dramatic examples of the kinds of acute outbreaks that make epidemiology such an important field of study.
At the beginning of the 21st century, many epidemiologists and healthcare professionals were concerned about the next potential pandemic or epidemic—and then it arrived in early 2020. Globalization means that when these infectious outbreaks occur, they can spread quickly, but we also have more knowledge and better tools (e.g., vaccine technology) to fight them. For this Discussion, you will compare lessons learned from two successful eradication efforts, that of smallpox and polio, and consider how they may be applied to COVID-19.
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