World pandemics history - SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus compared to other pandemics

SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus is not the worst that has happened to humanity. Epidemics have been happening since ancient times. Some of them turn into pandemics. We present to you selected epidemics and pandemics alongside their mortality rates.

Although the current SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus pandemic raises many concerns, it is not the worst that has ever happened. Humanity is constantly struggling with spreading diseases. The times of globalization, when traveling is easier than ever, favour the migration of the virus to new continents and the development of a pandemic. At the same time, we have incomparably better opportunities to study pathogens and develop medicines and vaccines.

Coronavirus and other pandemics.

An epidemic refers to a sudden and unexpected increase in the number of cases of a disease in a population. Pandemic is the spread of a new disease worldwide - usually in many countries and on several continents.

A list of selected pandemics: 

  • Antonine Plague 
    years: 165-180  
    death toll: 5 million
  • Black death
    years: 1347-1351
    death toll: 25 million
  • Smallpox
    years: 1520-1979
    death toll: 56 million
  • Great Plague of London 
    years: 1665–1666
    death toll: 100,000
  • Spanish Flu
    years: 1918-1920
    death toll: 40-50 million (according to some sources even 100 million)
  • Asian Flu
    years: 1957-1958
    death toll: 1-2 million
  • Hong Kong Flu
    years: 1968-1970
    death toll: 1-4 million
  • Russian Flu
    years: 1977-1978
    death toll: 1 million
  • SARS
    years: 2002-2003
    death toll: 800
  • Swine Flu 
    years: 2009-2010
    death toll: 284,500
  • Ebola (last major epidemic)
    years: 2014-2016
    death toll: 11,300
  • Cholera (pandemics 1-7)
    years: 1817-2018 last epidemic outbreak
    death toll: 1 million
  • HIV/AIDS
    years: 1981 – ongoing
    death toll: 35 million
  • MERS
    years: 2015 - ongoing
    death toll: 858
  • COVID-19
    years: 2019 - ongoing
    death toll: 345,105 (as on 25.05.2020)
The presented medical information should not be treated as guidelines for medical treatment in relation to each patient. The medical decision, including the scope and frequency of diagnostic tests and/ or therapeutic procedures, is decided by the doctor individually, in accordance with medical indications, which they determine after becoming familiar with the patient's condition. The doctor makes a decision in consultation with the patient. If the patient wishes to carry out tests not covered by medical indications, the patient has the option of paying for them.