The phrase “end of the world” often conjures up images of hellfire, of apocalyptic forces bringing about the end of all living things. While such an end is feasible, it’s not exactly likely in our world.
What’s far more likely–and thus something you should be more prepared for–is an “end of the world” scenario involving a global pandemic. Here’s what we mean.
What Is a Pandemic?
A pandemic is a very wide-ranging disease outbreak that affects a huge swath of land. It is contrasted against an endemic, which is a disease that has been affecting a single region for a long stretch of time but has a consistent number of infection cases across that span of time.
Notable pandemics from history include the 1918 Influenza Outbreak and the 2009 H1N1 Epidemic. The deadliest and most widely-discussed pandemic to ever hit the human race was the Black Death, a plague that struck Europe in the mid 1300s and killed an estimated75 to 200 million people. For reference, that would have been somewhere between thirty and sixty percent of the population of Europe.
What Would a Modern Pandemic Look Like?
We have some advantageous that 1300s Europe didn’t have, like knowledge of infection vectors, penicillin, and numerous other medical advances. Something that we have working against us, however, is incredibly dense population centers and airports.
A single infected person with an airborne contagious disease entering an airport can cause a global outbreak in very little time. People they come into contact with can become infected, get on a plane to a distant hub city, and then infect people in that city. That’s a much faster infection spread than the Black Death ever had.
How Would We Respond?
The World Health Organization has contingency plans in place to keep outbreaks from becoming pandemics. A global pandemic, such as from a viral hemorrhagic fever or through SARS or avian flu, would need to break through a number of containment protocols.
However, in the event that containment broke down, there is a distinct possibility that society as we know it could collapse if a sufficiently deadly virus tore through civilization. Even an outbreak that cause the death of ten percent of the population could have serious repercussions on a global level. Anything reaching towards twenty or thirty percent of the population dying from illness begins to push the world towards collapse.
That’s where prepping comes in. You can find some of our top tips on being prepared for the worst right here on Doomsday Hero.