Opinion: Pandemics are the world’s silent killers. We need new ways to contain them.

By Robert Muggah

Published on Devex

One of humanity’s gravest existential threats is invisible. Pandemics are silent killers and have prematurely ended the lives of more people than virtually any other cause.

Some outbreaks have been more consequential than others. A typhoid outbreak in 430 BC killed as many as a quarter of the Athenian army, permanently crippling it. The bubonic plague from 541-750 AD killed off as much as 25-50 percent of the planet’s human population. The Black Death lasted from 1331 to 1353, killing some 75 million people around the world. Meanwhile, smallpox, measles, and influenza introduced by European explorers to the New World wiped out up to 95 percent of indigenous populations in the Americas.

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