History’s Most Deadly Pandemics, From the Antonine Plague to COVID-19

How COVID-19 stacks up against other historic pandemics.

By Discover Staff
May 14, 2020 5:30 PMNov 3, 2020 5:09 PM
Pandemic history resized
(Credit: Visual Capitalist)


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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.

(Credit: Visual Capitalist)

This appeared in the June 2020 issue as "History of Pandemics." Subscribe to Discover magazine for more coronavirus pandemic coverage.

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