Since humanity’s earliest days, we’ve been stalked by the specter of illness and disease. And as human civilization spread — bringing with it bigger cities, new trade routes and more mingling between different groups of people and animals — so did the likelihood of widespread disease outbreaks.
Long before we had COVID-19, we were dealing with some of these significant pandemics.
This appeared in the June 2020 issue as "History of Pandemics." Subscribe to Discover magazine for more coronavirus pandemic coverage.