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World History of Fighting Epidemics like Corona: All You Need To Know

Learn wisdom from the China and World history of fighting Coronavirus Epidemic

At the Wuchang Fangcai Hospital on March 10, medical staff and the patients with new coronary pneumonia who were about to leave the cabin were encouraged, cited a News Agency

This new coronary pneumonia epidemic is a tribulation for our countries, our nations, and each of us. How to treat this ordeal and how to rise from it?

On February 23, General Secretary Xi Jinping emphasized at the deployment meeting to coordinate the prevention and control of the new coronary pneumonia epidemic and economic and social development: 

"The Chinese nation has experienced many hardships in the history, but it has never been crushed, but it has become more and more frustrated. Be courageous and grow up in tribulation and rise up from tribulation. "

This important statement by General Secretary Xi Jinping has strong practical guidance for drawing wisdom from history. Reading history makes people wise. We can learn historical wisdom from the hardships we have experienced in history, especially from the experience and lessons of fighting epidemics in history, and strengthen our determination and confidence to overcome the epidemic.

Historical plague and anti-epidemic struggle

The Chinese nation with a long history has created a splendid Chinese civilization, but also experienced too many hardships and sacrifices. Every tribulation can lead to great patriotism and endless fighting strength.

Today we focus on the situation of our nations fighting the plague. In the thousands of years of civilization of the world nations, this large-scale outbreak of disease is often referred to as "the plague", including plague, cholera and smallpox. The struggle of mankind with this plague has never stopped. The epidemics of some plagues have also affected the rise and fall of dynasties and affected the course of history.

1. Several major plagues in Chinese history

According to the "Chinese Epidemiological History", more than 300 plague epidemics have occurred in the 2000s since the Western Han Dynasty, often a major epidemic in ten years and a minor epidemic in three years. Judging from some important historical moments, the epidemic of the plague has had a major impact on social history.

From the end of the Eastern Han Dynasty to the early years of the Three Kingdoms, there was a major outbreak of plague, coupled with wars, and the population fell sharply, from more than 60 million to less than 15 million.

In the battle of the Red Cliffs during the Three Kingdoms period, it is well known that Sun Liulian ’s army destroyed the Caojun by burning warships. In fact, the local plague epidemic caused Cao Jun to lose. The "Three Kingdoms" records: "Gong (Cao Cao) arrived at Chibi, and it was unfavorable to prepare for the war. So the epidemic, the officials died, but the army returned."

During the Tang and Song Dynasties, the records of the plague were endless in the Zhishu, and expressions such as "Zhenguan Decade, Guannei, Hedong Great Epidemic" and "Jiangnan Frequent Plagues" often appeared. In the thirteenth year of the Tang Dynasty's Tianbao, Li Mi "sold 70,000 soldiers to the Nanzhao". Due to the epidemic, many soldiers died and eventually lost, becoming one of the fuse of An Shi's chaos.

There was a large-scale epidemic in the late Ming and early Qing dynasties, which caused tens of millions of deaths. "Ming Shi" records that from the beginning of the Wanli period, the frequency of infectious disease epidemics gradually increased, and the intensity gradually increased. 

In the spring of 1644, the plague reached its epidemic peak in Beijing, when hundreds of thousands of people died in Beijing. "Chongzhen Records" said: "Beijing Normal University epidemic, tens of thousands of deaths." 

Before Li Zicheng attacked Beijing, Beijing City had been tortured by the plague for about a year, so some historians linked the Ming dynasty and the plague.

The plague broke out in northeastern China from 1910 to 1911, killing more than 60,000 people. For this plague, some professionals judged from the serious symptoms of respiratory tract infection that it is most likely to be spread from person to person through droplets. 

Since modern times, the Chinese people have experienced frequent wars and livelihoods. The health status is relatively poor, infectious diseases are prevalent, parasitic diseases are widely distributed, and the harm is relatively serious.

2. Several major plagues in the history of the world

The same is true in the world. The epidemic caused a large number of deaths and even changed the course of history.

From 430 BC to 427 BC, the plague that swept across Athens directly killed nearly a quarter of the residents. The Justinian Plague, named after the Emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium), broke out in the Mediterranean region from 541 to 542 AD. According to research, it was the rats on the Egyptian grain ship that brought a plague to the Eastern Roman Empire. At that time, as many as 5000 people died every day in Constantinople, the imperial capital.

 In the end, about 40% of the city's population died and spread, causing tens of millions of deaths, and even the emperor himself Justinian I contracted the disease.

The Justinian plague drastically reduced labor and military strength, severely disrupted the normal order of life, and had disastrous consequences for the Eastern Roman Empire.

In the middle of the 14th century, the Black Death, which ravaged Europe, was disturbing. This is a severe infectious disease caused by Yersinia pestis. The patient will have blue-black herpes, so it is named "Black Death".

According to academic estimates, the Black Death in Europe from 1347 to 1353 caused more than 25 million deaths, accounting for one-third of the total European population at that time. Later, the disease spread throughout the world and claimed about 50 million lives. This plague changed the face of Europe and the world.

Many clerics became sick and died, shaking the basic belief that “the plague is God ’s punishment for sinners”, weakened the church ’s spiritual control of the public, and caused European religious beliefs, politics, and economy. The crisis of social structure in all aspects also triggered profound social changes.

In the 16th century, the plague that spread to the Americas claimed the lives of millions of Indians, accounting for about one-third of the population of the American continent. The Indians died of infections caused by the Spanish from Europe.

The Great Plague in London, England, from 1665 to 1666, killed nearly 100,000 people, accounting for one-fifth of London's population at the time. The flu spread from Europe to the world from 1918 to 1919, infecting hundreds of millions of people and killing more than 25 million people, more than the number of deaths in the First World War.

The plague caused great harm to mankind. Therefore, some experts suggest that the study of history should change the past that paid too much attention to the development and evolution of human civilization and social form. In the future, we must strengthen research on the environment on which human civilization depends and the impact of the environment on human civilization.

3. Prevention and control measures against plague in ancient China

China has accumulated a lot of experience in the prevention and control of infectious diseases that are seriously harmful from ancient times to the present. The ancient control of the plague mainly took three methods:

i. Medical treatment: Traditional Chinese medicine tends to be mature. On the basis of practical experience, a theoretical and technical system for disease prevention and treatment has been formed.

The classics of the Yellow Emperor's Internal Classic of Chinese Medicine has a complete idea of ​​epidemic prevention and treatment, which lays the foundation for understanding the human physiology, pathology, diagnosis and treatment.

Other TCM classics such as "Treatise on Febrile and Miscellaneous Diseases" and "Shen Nong's Materia Medica" provide some prescriptions and drug knowledge for prevention and treatment of diseases.

ii. Prevention and immunotherapy: In the Chinese  Tang and Song Dynasties, fragrant medicines were widely used to prevent diseases, and the incineration of Atractylodes was popular in the Ming Dynasty to purify the air. With the increasing awareness of prevention and treatment of epidemics, people began to implement immunotherapy, mainly for smallpox. 

In the mid-Ming Dynasty, smallpox prevention of human pox vaccination appeared in the people. The Qing Dynasty introduced it to the palace to plant acne for members of the royal family. Later, this technology was transferred to Europe and the invention of vaccinia vaccination laid the foundation for the ultimate elimination of smallpox .

iii. Third is to isolate the source of infection. According to historical records, since the Han Dynasty, the spread of the plague has been controlled by isolating patients. The Qing court set up a "pox-avoidance place" to isolate those infected with smallpox, and it was stipulated that pro-personnel can be visited after nine days of isolation.

In the whole process of prevention and treatment, Chinese medicine has played an important role

In the face of various plagues, generations of doctors have not backed down, avoiding hardships and dangers, and have repeatedly studied treatment in practice, and have achieved certain results. 

At the same time, attention should be paid to isolation, prevention and public health.

In addition, transportation is not well developed, and many plagues in ancient times can be controlled in limited areas.

Ancient China has rich theories and experience in epidemic prevention, but there are also obvious deficiencies.

One is the lack of effective organized epidemic prevention. Under the old social system, the ability of social organization is weak.

In the civil society, whenever the plague is prevalent, local governments and people in the society often can only do some temporary sheltering, powdering, etc. work.

There is no continuity and effective prevention and control cannot be organized continuously. Therefore, the plague has a long epidemic and great harm. The second is insufficient protection technology.

Restricted by scientific and technological factors, the ancients could not know that there were pathogenic particles of different sizes in the air, and they could not invent corresponding isolation protective equipment and effectively eliminate the pathogens. Although they realized that the epidemic would be contagious, they could not fundamentally prevent it.

4. New China's epidemic prevention struggle

After the founding of New China, under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, China's health and anti-epidemic cause opened up a new path.

 In November 1949, Mao Zedong instructed the Ministry of Health to vigorously strengthen the organization and leadership of health and epidemic prevention work. 

After a large-scale epidemic investigation and research, in January 1950, the Ministry of Health in China first launched the prevention of tuberculosis. Since that year, it has vigorously promoted the inoculation of BCG vaccine in cities across the country.

In August 1950, the first National Health Conference of New China was held. Mao Zedong wrote an inscription for the conference:

"Unite the new and old Chinese and Western medical and health personnel, form a consolidated united front, and strive to carry out great people's health work." 

The conference was established as The "prevention first" and "unity of Chinese and Western medicine" health work guidelines.

In October of the same year, the Ministry of Health issued the "Provisional Measures for Vaccination", which stipulates that the people of the country must breed vaccinia.

In 1951, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China issued the "Instructions on Strengthening Health and Epidemic Prevention and Medical Work" to make a comprehensive deployment of the national epidemic prevention work.

During the period of anti-US and aid to North Korea, China also launched a fight against plague. In February 1952, infectious diseases such as plague and cholera occurred on the North Korean battlefield.

In March, Chinese volunteer soldiers were infected. In order to do a good job in epidemic prevention and treatment, China has sent three batches of frontline including entomology, bacteriology, epidemiology, poison chemistry, pathology, nutrition, etc. and more than 50 experts and hundreds of epidemic prevention personnel to provide plague for the front Vaccine and carry out disinfection work. After taking these measures, the development of the epidemic was quickly controlled ahead.

The third National Health Conference was held in December 1953. The meeting called for more efforts to train health cadres and unremittingly carry out the patriotic health campaign and prevent epidemic diseases.

For decades, China has vigorously promoted vaccination, continued to carry out patriotic health campaigns, established a nationwide health and epidemic prevention system, improved laws and regulations for the prevention of infectious diseases, and actively carried out special prevention and treatment of plague, schistosomiasis, malaria, leprosy, tuberculosis, and AIDS.

Smallpox was basically eliminated in 1961, and poliomyelitis was eliminated in 2000. The incidence of many infectious diseases dropped to the lowest level in history.

Before this fight against New Coronary Pneumonia, China also had two large-scale fights against plague:

Once was to eliminate schistosomiasis. In the early days of the founding of New China, schistosomiasis, which was prevalent in some areas of the South, was the most harmful infectious disease. 
It was affecting about 10 million people and threatening nearly 100 million people. The party and government attach great importance to prevention and control.

In 1955, Mao Zedong personally inspected the schistosomiasis epidemic area, and issued a great call to "must eliminate schistosomiasis", instructing the Ministry of Health "to make schistosomiasis eradication a current political task." After years of hard work, it has finally achieved obvious results. In Yujiang County, Jiangxi, where the epidemic was most severe, the masses set off a mass movement to eradicate schistosomiasis.

In 1958, they completely eliminated schistosomiasis, creating a miracle in the history of schistosomiasis control. After seeing the report, Mao Zedong wrote two poems of "Send Plague God", expressing his excitement and heroic spirit. Two of the sentences are: "If you ask the plague monarch where he wants to go, the paper boat will burn candles."

One was the victory against SARS in 2003. During the outbreak of SARS, in the face of this new type of infectious disease that was unknown to the world medical community at that time, people also had a step by step process of understanding. 

Eventually, under the strong leadership of the Communist Party of China, the people of the whole country rallied and won the victory against SARS. The establishment of a national disease prevention and control system.

Chinese and the Global Fight Against Pandemic

Enlightenment rising from tribulation

Engels said: "There is no huge historical disaster that is not compensated by huge historical progress." The premise of historical progress is to be good at turning crises into opportunities, conscientiously sum up lessons and learn historical wisdom. The Chinese nation has defeated the epidemic in history and has risen from tribulation to bring us valuable enlightenment.

I. Judge the situation correctly and view the problem dialectically

Correct judgment of the situation and profound understanding of the national conditions are the prerequisites for formulating correct policies.
As a decision-maker leader, whether or not the situation can be correctly judged, the fog can be cleared, and the correct direction of progress can be pointed out. This is the key to whether the struggle can win. For example, after the outbreak of the War of Resistance Against Japan, there were various arguments about the "fast victory theory" and "death country theory".

When many people were not clear about how the war would develop, Mao Zedong correctly analyzed the international situation, especially the national conditions of China and Japan, and made it clear that the war of resistance against Japan was enduring and victory belonged to China.

Mao Zedong persuasively portrayed the end of the war and strengthened the people’s confidence in the victory of the war. Such scientific judgments are made on the basis of a correct understanding of the situation and a profound analysis of national conditions.

General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out that the epidemic was a crisis and a major exam. In front of this big exam, the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core reviewed the situation, accurately judged the situation, and quickly started the people's war, the overall war, and the war of prevention and control of the epidemic.

The practice of achieving obvious results in the prevention and control work has fully proved that the Party Central Committee's judgment on the epidemic situation is correct, the various work arrangements are timely, and the measures taken are powerful and effective.

Of course, we should also see that although China’s prevention and control work has achieved significant results, the epidemic situation is facing a grim situation all over the world, and their national defense input pressure continues to increase, so must must be recognizing that the epidemic situation is still serious and complex, and prevention and control are still at the critical stage.

They must have been highly vigilant of paralyzing thoughts, war exhaustion, fluke and ease of mind, and they could not be successful without winning.

Dialectical thinking is required to correctly judge the situation and plan scientifically. Only by admitting contradictions and analyzing contradictions can we grasp the key points, pinpoint the key points, resolve the contradictions in connection and development, and promote work. One of the outstanding problems now facing is how to treat the impact of the epidemic on China's economic development.

The epidemic will inevitably have an impact on the economy and society, but in the long run, from the perspective of basic development philosophy and development foundation, the fundamentals of China’s long-term economic growth have not changed.

The impact of the epidemic is short-term and is generally controllable, don't be intimidated by problems and difficulties.

It is advisable to take a long-term view, as long as we turn pressure into motivation. Be good at turning crises into opportunities. Restore order in production and life in an orderly manner. Increase policy adjustment efforts. Fully release the great potential and strong kinetic energy of our development. Their strategic goals will and can be achieved as scheduled.

II. Enhance the sense of worry and strengthen the bottom line thinking

The ancients said that born of anxiety and death. Road twists and turns are inevitable, and we must be prepared for danger at all times.

We all know from the history of the party that the Seventh National Congress of the Communist Party of China was convened in 1945, and the Anti-Japanese War was about to win. However, Mao Zedong listed the 17 problems we might encounter at the Seventh National Congress. The more the Chinese reach the victory, the more they must think about their possible problems encountered. 

The first difficulty that Mao Zedong talked about was what the Chinese should do with "foreign curse" and whether they can withstand it. The eleventh of them is what to do when "natural disasters are prevalent and there is a thousand miles in the red land". 

Only by thinking of all kinds of difficulties and problems can people win the initiative. Mao Zedong mentioned so many difficulties that year, that is, they are required to formulate the countries' policies from the worst possibility, so that the people can win the initiative. This is the bottom line of thinking, this is the sense of worry.

Chinese General Secretary Xi Jinping also emphasized the bottom line thinking many times, focusing on the worst and focusing on the best, fighting for preparation and confidence, firmly grasping the initiative of work, and focusing on preventing and resolving major risks.

The problem is the voice of the times, and every era has its problems. Human society is always advancing in successfully solving various problems. 

General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out: 

"We must prevent and control all kinds of risks, but we must focus on preventing and controlling the global risks that may delay or interrupt the great rejuvenation process of the Chinese nation."

 To strengthen the bottom line thinking, we must dare to face the problem directly. We cannot see that risk is the biggest risk. We must be good at grasping the key points, grasping the source and solving the deep-seated problems behind the risks from the short board and the solid board. 

When risks arise, we must carry forward the spirit of struggle, enhance our fighting skills, and effectively put the struggle to turn danger into danger and turn danger into opportunity. In these respects, we have experience and lessons in our history, which deserve to be seriously summarized.

III. Respect nature and laws

 The plague in the past was generally caused by two factors. One was natural factors, such as floods, droughts, locusts, earthquakes and so on. The other is social factors, including war and famine.

 It is often said that there is a major epidemic after a disaster. However, we found that the outbreak was not caused by two traditional factors.
Although the traceability of the new coronavirus is still being explored, it is certain that how to properly handle the relationship between man and nature is the key issue. Human and nature are the community of life.

We must protect nature, respect nature, adapt to nature, cultivate ecological morals and behavior habits, form a civilized and healthy lifestyle, and resolutely prevent the indiscriminate killing of wild animals, the illegal trading of wild animals, and the elimination of indiscriminate.

 The bad habits of eating wild animals. Human damage to nature will eventually hurt humans.

Engels wrote in the book "Dialectics of Nature": Residents in some places, "in order to obtain cultivated land, destroyed the forest, but they can't even dream of it, these places have become hairless today." In this regard, Engels profoundly pointed out: "We should not be too intoxicated by our human victory over nature. For every such victory, nature will retaliate against us."

There is a rule, we should remember that when humans love nature, conform to it, and protect nature, nature ’s rewards to humans are generous; when humans destroy nature, damage nature, or violate nature, nature treats humans.

The punishment is merciless, which is an irresistible natural law. Therefore, we must deeply understand the extreme importance of respecting nature and respecting the law from the lessons. The Chinese people must implement the concept that green water and green mountains are Jinshan and Yinshan, adhere to the harmonious coexistence of man and nature, strengthen the construction of ecological civilization, and build a beautiful China.

IV. Adhere to the party's leadership and fully rely on the masses

 As we all know, modern China has struggled in the dark. Mr. Sun Yat-sen once lamented that modern China is a mess. Why is there a lot of sand? 
It is because there is no strong organization to unite and lead. The Chinese Communist Party has stepped onto the stage of history, and the Chinese nation has ushered in the dawn of a rebirth. 

After the founding of the Communist Party of China, it went deep into the masses and played such a core leadership role as uniting the masses and rallying the masses.

During the Anti-Japanese War, why could the Communist Party of China become the mainstay of the Anti-Japanese War?

It is because the Communist Party of China held high the banner of the national united front against Japan and was able to mobilize, unite and organize the masses, insist on the resistance of the whole people and finally win.

After the founding of New China, every practice of overcoming tribulation has fully proved that as long as there is strong leadership of the party, scientific decision-making, party organizations play the role of battle bastions, and party members charge forward to play an exemplary leading role. They will surely lead the masses to overcome difficulties, to win.

The great spirit is a powerful driving force to overcome the epidemic

Since ancient times, the Chinese people have never stopped fighting against epidemics. Difficulties inspire fighting spirit and challenge the spirit. The great struggle gave birth to a great spirit, which inspired us to win new great victories.

 The reason why the Chinese people are able to survive through hardships and endure hardships is to rely on the unity and struggle of the people of all ethnic groups, of which the great spirit of great power plays an extremely important supporting role.

In 2003, in the face of this sudden and severe disaster of the SARS epidemic, the people of the whole country united to overcome the epidemic and formed the "Atypical Pneumonia" to fight against SARS.
The spirit has become a powerful spiritual pillar that inspires the Chinese people to overcome difficulties. The experience of anti-epidemic struggles in history has taught us that the more difficult it is, the more we must vigorously promote the great spirit and strengthen our determination and confidence to overcome tribulation.

Confidence and courage are the source of our strength in overcoming difficulties. After the epidemic occurred, the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core reviewed the situation and conducted comprehensive research and judgments, and promptly put forward the general requirements of firm confidence, solidarity, scientific prevention and control, and precise implementation of strategies.

 It clarified the overall goal of resolutely curbing the spread of the epidemic and resolutely winning the epidemic prevention, control and blocking war.

 The firm spirit of confidence and responsibility for meeting difficulties have enriched and developed the fine tradition of the Chinese Communists who dare to struggle and dare to win.

This fight against the epidemic is a people’s war, insisting on a national chess game, one side is in difficulty, eight sides support, under the party’s strong leadership, the broad masses of people from all walks of life, unite, work tirelessly, help each other, sincere dedication, in their respective positions.

Shanghai contributed to the fight against the epidemic and formed a strong joint force to fight the epidemic. A united spirit of unity and solidarity is a powerful force to win victory against the epidemic.

Special battles require special warriors, and heroes will inevitably emerge in life-and-death struggles. The vast majority of medical staff and nurses care for everyone, and they are willing to look back and support Hubei. They worked tirelessly, fighting day and night, nursing, treating and rescuing, and devoted themselves to the race to fight against the virus and fight for life with time.

The unrelenting love shown in the fight against the epidemic, the great love for self-sacrifice and self-saving, the firm responsibility to save lives, the high responsibility for loyalty to the duty, the hard work of conquering hardships, and so on, are all vivid and resolute and hard-working fighting spirits, they reflect.

The fight against the New Coronary Pneumonia epidemic also gave birth to a firm confidence, to face the difficulties, to unite and work together, to fight against the spirit of the epidemic, to fight back and to fight hard. This is giving the great Chinese spirit a new era connotation, and becoming an inspiration for the Chinese to win the fight against the epidemic which is their strong spiritual pillar.


Author's Bio

Doctor Shawna Reason, Virologist
Dr. Shawna Reason
Name: Shawna Reason

Education: MBBS, MD

Occupation: Medical Doctor / Virologist 

Specialization: Medical Science, Micro Biology / Virology, Natural Treatment

Experience: 15 Years as a Medical Practitioner

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