The COVID-19 pandemic is in its early stages so it is obviously impossible to predict its future impact.
It’s impact on our health, our economy and for those interested in property- how it will affect our property markets and the value of your and my house are still unknown.
Recently I explained the seven reasons why I’m confident in our property markets in the long term, in fact in the medium-term, despite the challenges the coronavirus is going to bring upon us.
But today I’d like to share two fantastic infographics published by Visual Capitalist that outline the history of some of the most deadly pandemics and help put the current pandemic into context.
A Timeline of Historical Pandemics
Disease and illnesses have plagued humanity since the earliest days.
However, Visual Capitalist explain that it was not until the marked shift to agrarian communities that the scale and spread of these diseases increased dramatically.
Widespread trade created new opportunities for human and animal interactions that sped up such epidemics.
Malaria, tuberculosis, leprosy, influenza, smallpox, and others first appeared during these early years.
The more civilized humans became – with larger cities, more exotic trade routes, and increased contact with different populations of people, animals, and ecosystems – the more likely pandemics would occur.
Here are some of the major pandemics that have occurred over time:
|Name||Time period||Type / Pre-human host||Death toll|
|Antonine Plague||165-180||Believed to be either smallpox or measles||5M|
|Japanese smallpox epidemic||735-737||Variola major virus||1M|
|Plague of Justinian||541-542||Yersinia pestis bacteria / Rats, fleas||30-50M|
|Black Death||1347-1351||Yersinia pestis bacteria / Rats, fleas||200M|
|New World Smallpox Outbreak||1520 – onwards||Variola major virus||56M|
|Great Plague of London||1665||Yersinia pestis bacteria / Rats, fleas||100,000|
|Italian plague||1629-1631||Yersinia pestis bacteria / Rats, fleas||1M|
|Cholera Pandemics 1-6||1817-1923||V. cholerae bacteria||1M+|
|Third Plague||1885||Yersinia pestis bacteria / Rats, fleas||12M (China and India)|
|Yellow Fever||Late 1800s||Virus / Mosquitoes||100,000-150,000 (U.S.)|
|Russian Flu||1889-1890||Believed to be H2N2 (avian origin)||1M|
|Spanish Flu||1918-1919||H1N1 virus / Pigs||40-50M|
|Asian Flu||1957-1958||H2N2 virus||1.1M|
|Hong Kong Flu||1968-1970||H3N2 virus||1M|
|HIV/AIDS||1981-present||Virus / Chimpanzees||25-35M|
|Swine Flu||2009-2010||H1N1 virus / Pigs||200,000|
|SARS||2002-2003||Coronavirus / Bats, Civets||770|
|Ebola||2014-2016||Ebolavirus / Wild animals||11,000|
|MERS||2015-Present||Coronavirus / Bats, camels||850|
|COVID-19||2019-Present||Coronavirus – Unknown (possibly pangolins)||4,700 (as of Mar 12, 2020)|
Note: Many of the death toll numbers listed above are best estimates based on available research. Some, such as the Plague of Justinian, are subject to debate based on new evidence.
Despite the persistence of disease and pandemics throughout history, there’s one consistent trend over time – a gradual reduction in the death rate.
Healthcare improvements and understanding the factors that incubate pandemics have been powerful tools in mitigating their impact.
Scientists use a basic measure to track the infectiousness of a disease called the reproduction number — also known as R0 or “R naught.”
This number tells us how many susceptible people, on average, each sick person will in turn infect.
Measles tops the list, being the most contagious with a R0 range of 12-18.
This means a single person can infect, on average, 12 to 18 people in an unvaccinated population.
While measles may be the most virulent, vaccination efforts and herd immunity can curb its spread.
The more people are immune to a disease, the less likely it is to proliferate, making vaccinations critical to prevent the resurgence of known and treatable diseases.
It’s hard to calculate and forecast the true impact of COVID-19, as the outbreak is still ongoing and researchers are still learning about this new form of coronavirus.
As I said at the beginning of today’s blog, the COVID-19 pandemic is still at its early stages and so it’s really impossible to predict its full future impact, however I hope this post and infographic help provide you a historical context.
But remember these wise words from Warren Buffet said: “Be fearful when others are greedy and be greedy when others are fearful.”
Home buyers and long term investors who have a secure job and income and pre approved finance should take advantage of any short term downturn in our property markets to set themselves up for the next phase of the property cycle.
Source: Visual Capitalist