Deadliest disasters in history

As the dead toll of the Coronavirus continues to rise all around the world, a question arrives. How many deaths can we expect to see when all of this is over?

Recently the US Government predicted a best case scenario of 200.000 American fatalities and a worst case of 2.000.000. Comparing this to the almost 3.000 deaths of 9/11 and 2.400 of Pearl Harbor, even compared to the 400.000 american fatalities during the Second World War this shapes up to be one of the deadliest disasters in American history.

Predicting the total global fatalities of this crisis is impossible as we are still in the early faces of the crisis and many experts also predict a global second wave of deaths.

However we can look at other deadly crisis throughout history and observe how they played out, and why they became so deadly.

Mongol conquest 1206-1368

At its height the Mongol Empire spanned from modern day Korea to Poland. Covering an incredible 36.000.000 Square kilometers or more than 16% of earth’s surface.

This incredible feat of conquest was completed in under 100 years, thanks to the innovate and deadly Mongol warfare tactics.

It goes without saying, that this conquest was not peaceful. However often castles and citadels would simply open their gates and pay tribute, the moment they spotted the Mongol hordes approaching.

This was the result of the reputation that the Mongols had built for themselves. Every Lord and King had heard the tales of the rape, slaughter and destruction the Mongols inflicted upon their enemies.

Genghis Khan is supposed to have said: “The greatest happiness is to vanquish your enemies, to chase them before you, to rob them of their wealth, to see those dear to them bathed in tears, to clasp to your bosom their wives and daughters”. This serves as a explanation in itself to why the Mongol conquests of Eurasia was so deadly.

Lowest death toll estimate: 30.000.000

Highest death toll estimate: 57.000.000

European conquest of the Americas

This deadly event in human history shares a terrible connection to the crisis we face today. That is because the vast majority of the natives in the Americas didn’t die from the direct European conquest in wars and battles. However they died from the diseases that the European conquers carried with them.

The European lifestyle of the middle ages had included a much closer contact with domesticated animals and the diseases that these animals carried. This gave the Europeans a immune system much more capable of combating germs and diseases.

This way of life stood in contrast to that of the native americans. So upon contact, large disease outbreaks of smallpox, typhus and influenza began spreading rapidly among the natives, with deadly effect. Some estimate that around 90% of the native american population died due to disease, in the years following the early contact with Europeans.

However due to the lack of credible sources at the time, it is difficult to estimate the exact effects of European diseases upon the natives. However the rapid Spanish conquest of the massive empires of the Aztecs and Incas, serves as evidence of the devastating effects of these diseases.

Lowest death toll estimate: 8.400.000

Highest death toll estimate: 138.000.000

Second World War

Wars have always been some of the deadliest events in human history. Since they often broad both deaths on the battlefield and among civilians. However the Second World War took this to extreme new heights.

The massive technological and administrative advancements of the early 20th century was used to murder on a industrial scale. The Japanese conquest of China, The Holocaust and Operation Barbarossa are all example of this colossal new deadliness of warfare.

The global scale of the conflict didn’t help either, from France to China the war ravaged, there was no escaping the bloodshed.

Some countries suffered more than others though. The Soviet Union is estimated to have lost around 30.000.000 its citizens during the war, and China around 25.000.000. However these were both countries with relatively large populations.

Poland on the other hand lost only somewhere around 6.000.000 people during the war, however this is estimated to be around 20% of the countries prewar population.

In just 6 years earth lost around 3% of its population due to this conflict, something never seen before throughout human history. A testament to the deadliness of the war.

Lowest death toll estimate: 60.000.000

Highest death toll estimate: 118.000.000

10 Historical Movies to Watch in Quarantine

Is there anything better than a good long and emerging historical movie with popcorn? Certantly not!

This is the perfect time to enjoy one of these masterpieces digging into our past.

From Ancient Rome to the Second World War, gripling stories are told on the silver screen

Here are a few of the very best ones you can watch or rewatch in your quarantine.

10. Lawrence of Arabia

This classic movie tells the tale of legendary british intelligence officer T.E Lawrence better known as “Lawrence of Arabia” and his epic quest to stage a Arabic revolt against the Turkish Ottoman Empire during The Great War.

Year: 1962

Length: 216 min

Imdb: 8,3

9. Hacksaw Ridge

This WW2 era flick tells the tale of young medical student Desmond T. Doss and his experience as a US soldier during the Pacific war. Doss refused to carry a gun, vowing instead to save his fellow wounded soldiers. During his stay at Iowa Jima he saved 75 lives.

Year: 2016

Length: 131 min

Imdb: 8.1

8. The Kings Speech

This Oscar winning flick tells the story of British wartime monarch George the 6th, and his unexpected rise to head of the British Empire. The movie follows the kings struggle to combat his stuttering and deliver a speech to the British people in the darkest days of the Second World War.

Year: 2010

Length: 119 min

Imdb: 8

7. Master And Commander

This movie tells the fictional story of a Royal Navy vessel during the Napoleonic Wars and its mission to hunt down a French warship. Though the story is made up the movie gives a great glimpse of the life aboard a warship of the era.

Year: 2003

Length: 138 min

Imdb: 7.4

6. Das Boot

This movie tells the other side of the Second World War, from the German perspective. The setting of the film is life in a German submarine deep under the sea and we get to experience the stress, terror and boredom this creates for the crew.

Year: 1981

Length: 149 min

Imdb: 8.3

5. Braveheart

This epic movie tells the story of Scottish national hero William Wallace. A knight who led a mass revolt against English overlordship in the early 14th century. A great medieval epic with torture, war and amazing speeches.

Year: 1995

Length: 178 min

Imdb: 8.3

4. Gladiator

Gladiator tells the tale of fictional Roman general Maximus Decimus Meridius and his fall to gladiator. The movie includes real historical Roman emperors like Marcus Aurelius and Commodus. Not a true story but a great ancient movie flick with amazing gladiator battles.

Year: 2000

Length: 155 min

Imdb: 8.5

3. Downfall

Downfall tells the story of the very last and desperate days of the Third Reich. We follow life in a destroyed and besieged Berlin as the Soviet army draws closer to the “Fuhrer bunker”. We also witness the Fuhrer’s last desperate and vain attempts to fight to the end.

Year: 2004

Length: 155 min

Imdb: 8,2

2. Troy

Troy is the movie adaption of the legendary epic by Greek author Homer. The story follows Hector, Agamemnon, Achilles and all the other great characters of the epic during the assault on the ancient city of Troy.

Year: 2004

Length: 163 min

Imdb: 7.2

1. 12 Years a Slave

This tragic Oscar winning movie tells the tale of northern free black man Solomon Northrup, who is kidnapped and sold into slavery while on a music tour in Washington. The film follows his 12 year fight to return to freedom.

Year: 2013

Length: 134 min

Imdb: 8,1

A brief history of puzzling

In the redundancy of consecutive days spent at home, locked away from the devastating pandemic outside our doors, many are turning to board games and puzzles to occupy their minds and their time.

Puzzles are an anomaly. They have the ability to entertain the little ones, the young adults and the elderly. They teach, challenge, entertain and relax whoever decides to attempt them.

And who do we owe our gratitude to for the creation of such a time- well- spent invention?

“Dissected Maps:”

Spilsbury Jigsaw

John Spilsbury was born in Britain in 1739 and grew up to become a British mapmaker and engraver. He created the first- known Jigsaw puzzle in the year 1766, by pasting a world map onto a block of mahogany wood and cutting around the country boundaries with a hand saw. He used this concept to help children at the local school with their geography education. Spilsbury called his new invention “Dissected Maps,” and they were hugely effective in schools, subsequently inspiring him to create seven other puzzle themes: Africa, America, Asia, England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.

The “Dissected Maps” inventor built these until his death in 1769, when his wife took over his business and continued selling her late husband’s creation.

Growth in Popularity:

More and more education systems began using these “dissected maps” as an educational tool, and the popularity of the puzzle grew It was especially popular among the wealthy families as the hardwood to make the puzzles caused prices to be fairly expensive. Very soon, other companies and entrepreneurs began copying the idea, creating different images for other school subjects, such as pictures of farms or scenes from religious images.

A rise in the popularity of jigsaw puzzles was seen among adults between the mid 1800s and early 1900s. Where few people saw puzzles as a child’s toy, many adults began to enjoy a puzzle’s entertainment factors, and would buy puzzles for their parties hosted over weekends.

Development:

It was around the same time that adults began to show an interest in puzzles, that new methods of creating and cutting puzzles came to be. A new, more effective saw, known as the tredie jig- saw was invented to cut puzzles a lot quicker than the latter hand saw, and allowed puzzle makers to cut even more complex shapes out of the puzzle pieces.

Puzzle makers also introduced cheaper materials for making the puzzles, like plywood and cardboard, but the population still preferred the hardwood puzzles as they were perceived as higher quality.

Mass Production:

With the increase in demand for puzzles, many companies started mass producing jigsaw puzzles, such as Milton Bradley and the Detroit Publishing Company, although the most popular of all the puzzle manufacturers were the Parker Brothers.

The Parker Brothers popularity remained for approximately fifty years and they named their product ‘Pastime Puzzles.’ They experimented with puzzle design, turning the pieces into figures, like elephants and dogs, known as ‘whimsy pieces’ to make the experience more challenging. They also started creating pieces that would lock together so as to prevent pieces being lost or moved from their place in the puzzle.

The Great Depression:

Unemployed men queued outside soup kitchen during the Great Depression

Although interest in puzzles had been radically growing up until this point, the crash of the stock market and the onset of the Great Depression in the 1920s and early 1930s surprisingly brought even more popularity to the jigsaw puzzle. Their cheaper prices, as cheaper materials were being used more and more, made it a logical pastime, as people could not afford their more expensive past entertainment, such as shows and restaurants. Building puzzles also helped get the puzzle- builders’ minds off of the fears and catastrophe that the Great Depression was bringing upon their personal lives as well as their cities.

Companies also began giving away free puzzles when their product was bought, to increase their sales and create a bigger interest in their goods.

Failed Medicine in History

Many days into self-isolation, watching as the world’s economy and spirits collapse, one might begin to ask the question: do we really know what we’re doing? And in the age of modern medicine the answer is, quite surprisingly, yes! Historically, however, that has not been the case. Nowadays we take for granted our tested, proven, and effective methods of medicine. But back when your insurance carrier was the church and your pharmacy was the local garden, people faced disease with nothing more than a hope and a prayer. Here are five examples of historical cure-alls that historically cured none.

5. Corpse Medicine

Nowadays cannibalism is highly frowned upon. The very word has become a symbol of evil and depravity in modern media. But in the past, consuming elixirs of human bone and flesh was just something you did when you had a stomach ache. In ancient Rome the blood of gladiators was thought to cure epilepsy, and, in keeping with the early European tradition of desecrating everything sacred English apothecaries stocked “mummy powder” – made from ground Egyptian mummies. Edward Taylor, a 17th Century english “doctor”, glorified the religious use of mummies as they were “a suitable substitute for the body and blood of [Christ]”. 

All “corpse medicine” stemmed from the very simple, vague, and nonsensical idea that by consuming the remains of a deceased person you were taking part of their spirit with you. And since this idea was conceived and practiced with no understanding of science or medicine, it didn’t really matter what you consumed said spirit with. So mummy powder and other such remedies found their ways into innumerable concoctions including wine, beer, tea, blood elixirs, and hot chocolate.

4. Bloodletting

Before the advent of modern medicine practitioners believed that illnesses were caused by either 1) An overabundance of blood in the body or 2) Hazardous “humors” within the bloodstream. Either way, the answer was bloodletting. Doctors would use metal razors, wood splinters, or leeches to draw blood from the arm or neck. In Europe the practice was so widespread that when the church banned monks (who often played the role of doctor) from administering bloodletting, local barbers began to offer it as service. The iconic red stripes of barber poles represent the blood which would collect on hairdressers’ rags. 

In Mesoamerica bloodletting was commonly practiced for spiritual reasons. Priests and social higher-ups would offer their blood to the gods and the symptoms of blood loss were often explained as a heightened spiritual state in which persons undergoing bloodletting could commune with the gods. 

Bloodletting would continue in common practice until the late 1800s, in which, with the discovery of new medicine and cures, it began to fall out of favor within the scientific community. And although most of its purported effects have since been widely disproven, bloodletting is still used to treat specific rare diseases. 

3. Animal Cures

In the middle ages animal parts weren’t only used by nobles to display their wealth and access to food variety. They were also used as medicine. From cow stomachs to horse saliva to pig’s rumps, if it came from an animal, it was useful. In accordance with the ideas behind corpse medicine, it was thought that by consuming part of an animal, you were consuming part of its soul as well. Thus, cures utilized organs of animals that aligned with ailments they were attempting to cure. So if one had a stomach ache, a remedy would involve the consumption of an arbitrarily-chosen animal’s stomach. That’s science! As with most pseudo-scientific practices, animal organs enjoyed continued use in the field of medicine until the 1800s when they were proven to be mostly ineffective. Animal therapy exists now, yes, but instead of eating beaver testicles (which were used as a cure for common ailments) it involves spending time with very friendly dogs.

2. Mercury

Mercury was thought to have healing powers for millenia. Chinese emperors drank pure mercury in the hopes of achieving immortality. Qin Shi Huang, first emperor of China, sent thousands of men on a hunt for an “ancient magician” thought to possess “the elixir of life” (mercury). When constructing his elaborate tomb, Huang ordered that a giant moat be built and filled with this elixir. He would find himself visiting said tomb earlier than expected, as he shortly died from mercury poisoning. 

Mercury spread to the west and continued to be used as an amalgam cure worldwide until the mid-1800s. Being that the symptoms of mercury poisoning often mimicked the symptoms of afflictions it was used to cure, it’s lethal effects weren’t discovered until the 1890s. Because it killed almost every patient who consumed it, the use of mercury in America caused widespread distrust and resentment for established medicine.

1. Radium

Frighteningly, humans discovered the true dangers of radiation only a short while ago. Although we now know that radon exposure causes cancer, doctors in the early 20th century ironically used it to treat cancerous tumors. Products like radium toothpaste and radium-lined water bottles were peddled with the promise of wild and universal medicinal benefits. And such “medicine” still exists today. Visitors at the Radium Palace in Jachymov, Czech Republic will be greeted by “radiation treatment” techniques which include bathing in uranium-rich waters and breathing in radon directly. Visitors will also be greeted by staff “doctors” spouting completely false, pro-radium propaganda in advertisement of the spa. 

Thankfully the purported health effects of radium have been all but disproven in the field of modern medicine. But places like the Radium Palace are dispiriting evidence that there will always be people untrustful of science and, along with them, charlatans who capitalize on that mistrust.

How the world of sports reacted to the Spanish Flu

While people were celebrating Armistice Day in autumn 1918 an extremely deadly virulent strain emerged behind the scenes.

After the end of World War I a hidden enemy continued killing millions of people over the globe leaving over 50 million dead bodies behind.
Spain was the first to report the outbreak of the world wide epidemic and since then the causing virus is known as the Spanish Flu.
We still do not fully understand the origins of the pathogen and how it developed itself into a human virus but one thing is certain. It spreaded unexpectedly fast and infected half a billion people.

American Red Cross care for infected during “Spanish Flu Epidemic ” 1918

We can see COVID-19 spreading with the same speed and learning from the past strict measures made by governments all over the world seem reasonable beside the fact that its morality rate is nowhere near to Spanish Flu’s. The best way to prevent the spreading of the virus is minimalizing contact between individuals. We could not find a better place crowded with thousands of human individuals than a sport event. Thankfully the world of sports reacted to the outbreak of coronavirus as fast as possible.

The cancellation and postponement of sporting events are a common occurrence nowadays. Almost every major events from F1 Grand Prixs through the NBA season to the Olympic games were affected. But if cancelling great gatherings is the only way stopping viruses getting from one human to another why didn’t the sport associatons reacted to the Spanish Flu as fast as it was needed? Or did they eventually?

The Spanish Flu was highy underestimated all over the world until it started killing men, women and even children in great numbers.

At the time MLB was the largest American pro league. According to FANBUZZ, „(MLB) season ended shortly before the worst of the flu pandemic during the fall of 1918. Public health was so bad by the time the 1918 World Series came around, though, Major League Baseball went so far as to ban the “spitball” from being thrown.” Doctors were fighting in Europe and healthcare was in very poor conditions and the virus killing more and more people teams started to step back from games and the season came to its end. But with the Montreal Canadians and the Seattle Metropolitans having the same record they are remembered as co-champions.

Highschool and college football games, soccer and boxing matches were cancelled and public gatherings were banned in general.

Despite all the problems caused by the war and the flu, in 1920 the Belgian Olympic Committee decided to hold the Olypic games mainly to fade bad news about hunger, famine and bad post war circumstances. They sent out invitations to the games of the Seventh Olympia to be held in Antwerp.
They excluded the members of the late German alliance.

Polish legionist playing soccer 1918


Both the Giro d’Italia and the Tour De France were held in 1919 over the ruins of Europe the war left behind. The 1919 Tour De France is still known as one of the toughest race ever held simply because of the lack of usable roads and the number of finishing riders were the lowest in history with only 10 competitors finishing the race.

With that in mind it we can understand easier why cancelling sporting events is a reasonable and right step to do in these circumstances we are all in.
Learning from the mistakes of the past is vital for our future especially during the times of an epidemic.

How We Remember Heads Of State That Die In Office

William Henry Harrison

It is interesting to note how quickly the tone in the media changed when it was announced that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had coronavirus. For a man who has received more brickbats than bouquets from the British and American media – both for his handling of the virus and before that – , the suddenly sympathetic coverage he has obtained might seem a little surprising. Indeed, an editorial for the New York Times just two days ago was titled, “Boris Johnson is not cut out for this crisis (1).” After it was announced that he had tested positive, the New York Times and indeed most of the British media have limited themselves strictly to reporting on the factual information regarding not only his condition, but him personally. Moreover, the “goodwill” expressed by Johnson’s main adversaries, Jeremy Corbyn (Labour) and Ian Blackford (Scottish National), have come together to form a significantly more positive – or at least less hostile – image of Boris Johnson in the press and, in consequence, the public eye. Indeed, Bloomberg News reported that,  “ [polls] found personal ratings for Boris Johnson — himself now diagnosed with coronavirus — that have not been seen for a British Prime Minister since the early days of Tony Blair’s premiership in 1997. (2)”

Looking at the history of heads of state who have fallen ill, or died, can give us a better understanding of the current situation in Britain, which is certain to repeat itself elsewhere. Furthermore, it can even give an insight into how Boris Johnson will be remembered in the future. As with most things, this varies by county, so we can examine both what can be expected of the U.S, and Britain itself. 

The United States has had quite a few examples of presidents who have died in office, William Henry Harrison most famously catching either a cold or cholera and dying within 30 days of taking office. Historical analysis of his presidency is, however, obviously limited. More important examples are those of John F. Kennedy and James Garfield. In particular, Garfield, who served as president from March to September 1881, dying from an infection caused by a bullet-wound, bears some resemblance to Boris Johnson. Running on a campaign of moderate economic reform and radical changes to the bureaucracy, neither of which he lived long enough to see passed. Nevertheless, much like Kennedy would later be credited with the 1964 Civil Rights Bill, Garfield was praised by historians for his stance as a far-sighted reformer and largely credited with later changes, in spite of how little he was able to accomplish during the time he was actually in office. Furthermore, those American presidents who died in office after leading extremely controversial administrations, namely James Polk and William McKinlley, have been held in either beningin obscurity by historians, or had only the most positive effects of their tenure emphasized. 

Assasination Of James Garfield

The United Kingdom has had a different experience with its own Prime Ministers dying in office. This is largely due to the fact that only Spencer Percival, who was assassinated, ever held the distinction of having done so His reputation was much enhanced by his death, given the mass discontent caused by his total-war style measures against Napoleonic France. Indeed, for a long time he was hailed as a sort of martyr against foreign radicalism, before being largely forgotten, which in any case resulted in him having a far better reputation than he would have had otherwise. This being said, there was one other Prime Minister who effectively died in office, being forced to resign due to ill health and dying of a heart attack a week later. Henry Campbell-Bannerman, much like Boris, came to power through a series of byzantine maneuvers in Parliament, and after leading a minority government to the greatest victory of any party in a generation, laid out a plan for massive reform of the British economy and foreign relations. Unlike James Garfield, however, few historians ever mention Campbell-Bannerman. His Liberal Party opponents were much more effective at taking credit for his reforms, and his importance was further obscured by the outbreak of a period of mass instability and violence from 1914 to 1945, only six years after his death.

Postcard Of Campbell-Bannerman, Shortly After His Death

In the end, we can extrapolate from this analysis two conclusions: Firstly, there is an inherent quality to sickness in heads of government or state, and a possibility of incapacity to continue in office which that implies, that makes positive re-evaluation of politicians more desirable to contemporary commentators and historians alike. Secondly, the legacy of Boris Johnson, as Prime Minister who could be forced out of office due to incapacity by disease, will depend on events that occur after he leaves office. If the incoming global recession does result in a period of instability comparable to that of 1914-45, then Boris runs the risk of becoming a new and unfairly forgotten,  Campbell-Bannerman. If indeed the economic consequences of the coronavirus are mild, then he is likely to be more akin to James Garfield. Either way, Boris Johnson can, for now, take some relief in the more positive press that he is getting. 

Bibliography

1. Russell, Jenni. “Boris Johnson Is Not Cut Out for This Crisis.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 26 Mar. 2020.

2. Singh, Matt. “One Battle Boris Johnson Is Clearly Winning.” Bloomberg.com, Bloomberg, 28 Mar. 2020

How Will the Coronavirus Be Looked Back Upon?

History is riddled with pandemics. Among the building of the Pyramids, the Renaissance, and the Crusades are the Spanish Flu, Smallpox, and the Plague. And as mighty as humans think we are, we never are prepared. Viruses are unpredictable and various – they come, as the Coronavirus has, at random periods and with frightening speed. They send nations into panic and economies into ruin. Right now, it seems we’re living history. But how will our history be told? How will the Coronavirus be written about in the history textbooks of future generations?

In the information age, history is much broader and detailed than it could have ever been. With the advent of the internet, through video, texts, emails, articles, etc, everything that happens is set in stone. The right to be forgotten, whether we like it or not, simply doesn’t exist. And although it’s of no question that everything happening right now is recorded, it is impossible to consume absolutely all of it. No matter how life-changing and devastating it may be, people in the future will have to perceive the Coronavirus in mere summary. 

Most of what we learn of history is synopsis. Napoleon marched through Russia, Brutus killed Caesar, Columbus brought Smallpox to the Americas. Of course, for the people involved, these circumstances were of massive and unfathomable consequence. Napoleon’s conquests spurred widespread European political discussion and sparked fear for many regular households; not to mention the hundreds of thousands of young men stripped from their livelihoods to fight in the ensuing conflict. Caesar’s death led to a multitude of bloody civil wars and the end of the Roman Republic, killing and displacing many innocent civilians. But mention of these details in history books is scarce, if existent. Although the coronavirus is bitingly real and terrifying now, it is unlikely that it will occupy much space in the culture or discussion of future generations. 

And that’s an unfortunate fact. Because the Coronavirus pandemic is an instance which serves as damning evidence to the phrase “the only thing we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history”. Pandemics are unpredictable, yes. The Spanish Flu killed tens of millions worldwide, the Broad Street Cholera outbreak ravaged the metropolitan center of London, and the Black Death took the lives of 1/3rd of Europeans, only to be ended with the invention of quarantine. Viruses evolve – it appears impossible to ever be prepared for such a sudden and mystifying event as a pandemic. But in the age of modern medicine and ultra-preparedness, the global reaction to Coronavirus is woeful.

The world economy has tanked, supermarket shelves are barren and restaurants are closed. Even in medically superlative nations like the United States, preventative measures have been limited to the mere suggestion of quarantine and basic hygiene, a suggestion which came too late to stop the disease from spreading across the country. Even worse, reliable information about the virus is difficult to come by. President Trump is (for the first time in many news cycles) stumbling and indecisive, often contradicting the explanations of Dr. Anthony Fauci – America’s top expert on infectious disease. Chinese media is spreading dangerously anti-foreign rhetoric to shift any blame away from itself, Americans are panicking and countries, hell even states, can’t come to any semblance of consensus regarding safety procedure or jurisdiction.

But the Coronavirus has brought positive changes, however small, as well. In the increasingly hostile and polarized political environment of the United States, it is refreshing to see Republican senators and governors adopting traditionally democratic ideas such as universal basic income and financial aid to deal with the economic stress brought by the pandemic. And the (albeit anecdotal) accidental environmental effects of widespread quarantine are evidence that pollutive human activity is surprisingly reversible. The newly-uncovered blues of Chinese skies and Venetian waters symbolize an inspiring hope in the constant fight against Global Warming. Furthermore, it is almost astounding to see countries practicing mutually beneficial foreign aid – non-toxic diplomacy is now hard at work in the age of Trumpian isolationism. 

But these changes are temporary. After the dust of Coronavirus settles, we could easily witness the resurgence of the political maelstrom of the 2020 elections, which has been largely set aside for the time being. When populations begin to leave their homes again and travel, now-clear skies and canals will surely be re-polluted. And it’s just our luck that while the positive effects of Coronavirus are temporary, the negative effects may not be so. Despite worldwide efforts to support suffering businesses, it is unclear whether the economy will truly recover, at least in the near future. And China’s anti-American propaganda, which is dangerously reminiscent of North Korean rhetoric, destroys the last remaining hope of preserving a healthy and strategic relationship with the communist nation. Not to mention the thousands of Coronavirus casualties, causing irreversible damage to families and communities all over the globe. 

The coronavirus pandemic will not be remembered fondly. Most likely it will be summarized, as it should be, as evidence of a world unprepared, politically charged, misinformed, and frighteningly fragile in the face of unexpected disaster. We can only hope that our story is learned from and never repeated.