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Pandemics do not occur every 100 years

by - June 16, 2020   730 Views   1 min
Pandemics do not occur every 100 years

Claim

Pandemics are cyclical and occur every 100 years

Verdict

Inaccurate (no factual basis; unacceptable margin of error)

An infographic shared hundreds of times on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube states that the coronavirus pandemic of 2020 follows a specific pattern and that such pandemics occur every 100 years. This infographic, and the information it provides is inaccurate.

Incorrect dates 

The text of the infographic attempts to establish a systematic chronology that proves that pandemics such as COVID-19 take place at 100-year intervals. It situates the Black Death in 1720, a cholera pandemic in 1820, Spanish influenza in 1920 and COVID-19 in 2020.

But these dates are incorrect. The black plague appeared nearly 400 years before the date reported in the infographic, between 1347 and 1351. The cholera pandemic started in 1817 and not in 1820. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in the United States, the Spanish flu appeared in the spring of 1918, two years before the date stated in the graphic. Three of the four dates given in the original submission are therefore inaccurate. And although COVID-19 was characterized as a pandemic in 2020, the virus causing it was first detected in December 2019 - hence the "19" in COVID-19.  

Chronology of pandemics 

The world has experienced many more pandemics than this infographic suggests, which eliminates the hypothesis of a centennial cycle. Indeed, in the 20th century alone, we have experienced four influenza pandemics: 1918 (H1N1), 1957-1958 (H2N2), 1968 (H3N2) and, most recently, the H1N1 pandemic in 2009. The chronology of these pandemics does not follow a specific pattern. In addition, since the 19th century, WHO has identified seven cholera pandemics.

The information in this chart on the history of pandemics is therefore inaccurate. The dates are wrong, and do not take into account other pandemics that have occurred over the past few centuries.  

Beware of statements that attempt to make associations 

Before you become alarmed or share information from social media, make sure the information is accurate. It only takes a few minutes to do a quick search on the Internet. And if you do not have time to do this research, when you see or receive the information, don't share it.

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  Claim

Various sources

Organization
Pandemics are cyclical and occur every 100 years

Verdict:

Inaccurate (no factual basis; unacceptable margin of error)

 June 16, 2020


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