pandemicA pandemic is a widespread occurrence of an infectious disease that spreads person to person over a whole country and throughout multiple continents. The most common way for the infection to spread is through aerosolized pathogens. Aerosolized pathogens are extremely small and become airborne when an infected person is breathing, coughing, talking, or sneezing. An infected person can produce clouds of active pathogens around them. When these clouds are in the air around you, they can deeply penetrate your body when you breathe in. If enough active pathogens can get to you, they can quickly form a colony that can overpower your immune system and lead to infection. As this infection spreads between people, it leads to large-scale outbreaks over multiple geographic areas, causing significant economic and social disruption.

History of Pandemics in the Last 100 Years

1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic
  • More than 40 million people died from the H1N1 virus known as Spanish Flu, or 3% of the world’s total population.
  • Only 550,000 people died from Spanish Flu in the United States. Early and sustained efforts to isolate and quarantine infected individuals in the U.S. helped to mitigate the mortality rate.
1956 Influenza Pandemic
  • Known as the Asian Flu, this strain of H2N2 killed nearly 2 million people globally, including around close to 70,000in the United States.
  • In the two decades before this pandemic, researchers developed the first flu vaccinations.
  • A global response to the pandemic was possible due to the recent creation of the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
1968 Influenza Pandemic
  • The CDC estimates that 1 million people worldwide, including around 100,000 people in the United States, died from the H3N2 strain.
  • In the 1960s, the U.S. Surgeon General began recommending people in high-risk groups and those over the age of 65 receive an annual flu vaccination. This helped reduce the impact of this pandemic in the U.S.
1981 HIV Pandemic
  • HIV was first detected in Central Africa in 1976 and was recognized globally in 1981. As many as 36 million people have died from HIV since this time.
  • Better public education, an improved understanding of transmission, and new treatments have led to a dramatic drop in infections worldwide.
  • In 2004, 7.8 million people died from HIV. In 2018, deaths had dropped to 770,000.
2002 SARS Pandemic
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) was a novel coronavirus pandemic discovered in southern China in 2002.
  • There were 8,096 suspected cases of SARS reported in 29 countries, with less than 8 in the U.S. SARS was responsible for 774 deaths.
  • The virus was quickly contained in the U.S. due to personal hygiene and isolation precautions learned from past outbreaks.
2009 Flu Pandemic
  • Like the 1918 pandemic, this global flu outbreak was an H1N1 strain. However, only 0.001 to 0.007% of the world’s population died from the influenza pandemic.
  • 8 million cases were reported in the United States, with 274,304 requiring hospitalization.
  • There were 12,469 deaths in the U.S. from this flu, with 80% of them under age 65. The strain affected younger people more than it did older Americans, whereas in most pandemics the opposite is generally the rule.
2020 COVID-19 Pandemic
  • In early 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic was caused by an outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The novel virus was first identified in an outbreak in China in December 2019.
  • Initially, common mitigation measures during the pandemic included travel restrictions, lockdowns, mask mandates, quarantines, testing systems, and contact tracing. In December 2020, COVID-19 vaccines began to be widely deployed around the world.
  • The number of confirmed cases worldwide was almost 770,000,000.

Get Protected Now Ahead of the Next Pandemic

We don’t know when the next pandemic will break out, but by understanding the history of pandemics and how they work, it is highly probable that the next pandemic is in the wings. Now is the time to prepare and get protected before the next widespread outbreak of infection. Experts recommend that pandemic preparedness plans implement non-pharmaceutical interventions first to limit pathogen transmission. Our indoor air disinfection solutions are the answer. UVPhasor® technology neutralizes active, aerosolized pathogens before they get to you. Powerful UV light kills bacterial pathogens and deactivates viruses so they cannot reproduce and spread. These effectively neutralize more than 99.9% of airborne and aerosolized pathogens to help prevent disease transmission. Contact us now to request a proposal for our UV light disinfection solutions.