How pandemics start/spread

How pandemics spread

There are several ways disease spread, the most common ways are airborne, direct and indirect contact, and through exchanging bodily fluids (insect bites, saliva exchange, blood exchange.) These types of transmissions all affect how well a disease spreads.

Planes, Trains, and influenza

 It’s also important to look at human connections as a factor for how disease spreads. Means of transportation play a significant factor in disease spread as well. Planes, trains, and automobiles go all over the world and the larger spread of people, the larger potential for a disease to spread. According to, over the past 300 years there have been 10 major influenza pandemics. One of the most severe ones, the 1918 Spanish flu, was one of the most deadly due to the disease spreading by transportation, having global coverage by the 20th century. In short, As transportation has become more effective, so has the quickness a disease can spread and become a global issue

“Ok, so what?”

It’s great to know how pandemics spread, because it reaffirms just how important it is to stop pandemics. The more connected we are as a community, the more we present a danger to each other. Which is exactly why we need to use our connection to help everyone. Simple but incredibly effective things like herd immunity and Hygiene are super important to reduce germs and bacteria, and wearing masks are great ways to keep your bacteria and germs from spreading. More information on the sections talking about the importance of hygiene, herd immunity, and the importance of masks.


What do we learn from Pandemics?

Past Epidemics/ Pandemics, what we learn from them

Our recent pandemic hasn’t been the only pandemic our world  has been through. By looking at past diseases we can learn a lot. Take the SARs outbreak of 2003, by looking at the timeline we can learn from past mistakes. As outlined in ten years after SARs, doctors and researcher comment on not only how communication and disease control has improved, but how challenging initial research of the disease was in the first place. Because of this, governments had to communicate and widely release more information, causing a larger amount of cooperation between nations. It was a shockwave that caused a new normal for everyone to adjust to, something we can all identify with right now. There’s also a quote I found during my research I like by Colorado University History Professor Elizabeth Fenn “Epidemics highlight the fault lines in our society.” History supports this, the SARS outbreak required a higher level of communication, and we can see in our pandemic the inherent faults of a discombobulated government. Pandemics let us know what we need to adjust and fix in our world. 

Covid Pandemics

Next Steps

What Next?

Update: You don’t have to wear masks as long as you are fully vaccinated and are not in a crowd. That doesn’t mean “No more masks ever you’re good!” it’s more “You now have a wider access to some things.” Still try to stay outdoors, still stay away from large groups, still stay safe. Personally, I plan to keep wearing mine to feel safe and because I like making faces at people under my mask. I can’t tell you what to do, only advise you to make the safest decision for yourself.

It may be easy to push the pandemic out of the way now that people are finally getting vaccinated. And while our shared situation is improving, there is still work to do, as well as work that must be maintained. We have not reached a good level of herd immunity yet. People who haven’t gotten the vaccine yet are still at risk. Due to supply limits we are prioritizing the people most at risk to get the vaccine the quickest, that leaves the rest of us who are in the least amount of danger to keep each other out of danger. An article by UNC healthcare outlines very clearly what people should be doing before and after the vaccine. Before you’re vaccinated you should be maintaining basic hygiene: washing hands regularly, quarantining at home if you’re sick, staying 6 feet apart, as well as continuing to wear a mask. After the vaccine you should continue what you were doing before, staying hygienic, wearing a mask, ect. Doctors haven’t vaccinated everyone and are not sure if it prevents asymptomatic infection (Asymptomatic means people with COVID who are not showing any symptoms, but can still pass on the virus). If what the UNC doesn’t convince you, check out what Doctor Fauci has said, the following quote comes from an interview he did with the news site Scientific American. (Do note that this interview was in December of 2020, so it is a little dated.)

Q: Coronavirus infections are surging exponentially. Can we still get them under control?

A: “Yes, absolutely. I’ve been saying this every day. If we, uniformly throughout the country, implement public health guidelines—wearing masks, keeping physically distanced, avoiding crowded situations, doing things outdoors more than indoors and washing hands frequently—I believe we will see an effect. We know from experience that the states or cities or countries that have done this have always been able to blunt and mitigate the slope of a surging curve such as this one.”


Q: What are your major concerns for vaccine distribution?

A: “We hope to get the overwhelming majority of people in this country vaccinated. We have the logistics under Operation Warp Speed and General Gustave Perna [Operation Warp Speed’s chief operations officer] to put vaccines into the trucks, trains, planes and whatever it is that gets them to where they need to go. But then local public health officials will need the capability and resources to distribute the vaccines in an equitable way. It’s going to be a big task to vaccinate more than 300 million people—a very prodigious project.”

There’s more than a few similarities between these two, and 3 months apart we still have the same goal. We need to continue doing what we’ve been doing to keep people safe, and continue to be patient while the very daunting task of vaccinating the millions in America takes place. But as Fauci says in the interview although it’s “A very prodigious project” it becomes a much easier task when each of us do what we’re able to stay safe and keep our friends and family safe. Stay hygienic, stay safe.