The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (known as the CDC) is our federal public health agency located in Atlanta Georgia (as famously seen on the zombie apocalypse series The Walking Dead). Every year the CDC is given over 10 billion dollars to control the spread of disease and keep the public informed about our health. They’ve been especially prominent in the public eye since the COVID-19 pandemic started, being the main source of guidelines for Americans about how to “flatten the curve” of the pandemic.
In informing the public, the CDC has frequently compared COVID-19 to previous pandemics and epidemics to help people put into context how deadly and communicable the disease is. The 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic killed around a third of Earth’s population (including Edward Cullen, RIP). Also in the 20th century, Smallpox outbreaks have killed 300–500 million people. This disease is so deadly, it killed up to 30% of people who contracted it. And a lot of people contracted Smallpox. COVID-19 spreads at a rate of 2-2.5 people for every person infected. By contrast, every person who contracted measles was expected to infect 12-18 others. Smallpox spread at a rate of about 60% when someone was in close contact with an infected person. When Columbus landed in North America, he introduced the Indigenous people who lived here to Smallpox, decimating the population. It is estimated that 90-95% of the native population was killed by diseases brought over by Europeans. Twenty million people. This is a big factor in how Europeans were able to colonize North America and created the prevailing mistaken belief that the U.S. was “virgin wilderness” before colonization.