Telegraph: Why air travel makes a global pandemic the biggest threat to humankind

24 January 2020
by Annabel Fenwick Elliott

The Telegraph wrote an article on the risk of pandemics:

<"Historical records suggest that about once every 1,000 years, an event occurs which wipes out about a third of the human population," stated Dr Simon Beard, at the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk at the University of Cambridge, to the BBC.

In the Middle Ages, this was the Black Death, when bubonic plague spread across Eurasia and claimed one in every three inhabitants. There was also a 'dramatic global cooling' at that time, incidentally; cause unknown.

"Around 1,000 years before that, there was a similar event with the Plague of Justinian [an epidemic that afflicted the Byzantine Empire] and again, a lot of people died," Beard says.

Go back further, some 76,000 years ago, and there was "quite likely a certain event on a much larger scale", Beard continues, a mysterious event which wiped out 90 per cent of the human population. Genetic evidence suggests our numbers may have dwindled to about 10,000. 

You might be wondering, based on this model, when we're next due a major population loss?>

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