JESUS V. QUITAIN

FACT: Three pandemics changed the world as people had to change their way of life.

The Black Plague (1340’s-1347), probably bubonic and spread by rats and transmitted to humans by fleas, killed 20% of the world’s population mainly in Europe and Asia Minor.

The Spanish flu began in Europe in 1918 up to 1921, killing 40 million worldwide. COVID-19 was discovered in September 2019 and became pandemic in February 2020.

FICTION: In 2014, Canadian Emily St. John Mandel wrote the novel – Station Eleven – which is about a flu pandemic that killed most of humankind. (see Wikipedia)

FACT: Last November, a Japanese satellite landed in Australia after it hitched a ride on an asteroid and took samples of gas and rock particles. In December, a Chinese satellite landed on the desert of China after getting rocks and dust from the moon.

FICTION: Michael Crichton was a Harvard Medical school graduate who became a world-famous science/medical fiction novelist (see Wikipedia). His novel – The Andromeda Strain (1969) – sold 3 million copies and became a movie blockbuster in 1971.

The novel is about a US satellite that was accidentally hit by an asteroid and forced to land in Piedmont, Arizona, A NASA team tracked the satellite and reported that all in the town died except for an old sickly man and a 3-month-old baby.

The trackers also died after getting the satellite. A NASA project called Wildfire embedded deep in Nevada is a self-contained modern laboratory.

Its job was to analyze viruses and microorganisms from space which may land on earth and, if dangerous, find a way to kill it. The virus clung to the satellite when the asteroid hit it.

FACT: If Japan and China are not careful in collecting the extraterrestrial dust and rocks, there just might be a microorganism that can start a pandemic.

It is one thing if these extraterrestrials can be eliminated at once. It is another thing if they can become virulent and harmful.

UN agencies like the World Health Organization, FOA, etc., until now have not passed any warning about the danger of collecting space dust, debris for research.

The most vulnerable are the people of the 3rd world nations because of their clean, modern health and medical infrastructures. Sadly, it is the likes of the US, Japan, Russia, China, etc., who go out into space to explore and to gather samples.

But it is the poor countries who may suffer the most. Just like the natives of South America who were nearly wiped out in the 15th century when the European explorers Spain, Portugal, England, etc. arrived on the shores of Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela, and others, bringing with them smallpox, measles, venereal disease, etc.

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Source: Mindanao Times ( https://mindanaotimes.com.ph/2021/02/06/pandemic-facts-and-fiction/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=pandemic-facts-and-fiction)