It seems that the American news media does not want to do their home work and tell you the whole story about previous pandemics occurring in the past 100 years.
1968 – 1969 * Hong Kong flu also known as 1968 flu pandemic was a flu pandemic whose outbreak in 1968 and 1969 killed an estimated one to four million people globally.
This outbreak actually began in mainland China before spreading to Hong Kong.
1957 – 1958 * Asian flu, originated in Guizhou, China.
This pandemic caused two to four million deaths worldwide.
1918 – 1919 * Spanish flu, The death toll is estimated to have been anywhere from 17 million to 50 million, and possibly as high as 100 million, making it one of the deadliest pandemics in human history.
Historical and epidemiological data are inadequate to identify with certainty the pandemic’s country of origin.
Image copyrightGETTY IMAGESImage captionBoris Johnson at the Parthenon in May 2012, shortly before the London Olympics
As Boris Johnson recovers from Covid-19, he will undoubtedly be thinking of an earlier epidemic, says Oxford classicist Armand D’Angour – the plague that hit Athens in 430 BC, and killed the prime minister’s hero, Pericles. It’s an episode, D’Angour argues, that holds many lessons for today.
Britain’s Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, is well versed the history and culture of ancient Greece. He knows that Western literature begins with a plague, the epidemic described in the opening book of Homer’s Iliad – of which Boris can happily declaim scores of verses from memory. And his political hero has long been the ancient Athenian leader, Pericles, whose bust sits in his office in 10 Downing Street.
The prime minister has often quoted admiringly the stirring oration given by Pericles to honour the dead after the first year of a destructive war against Sparta. And he will be well aware that Pericles gave a second famous speech a year later, after a devastating plague, probably a form of typhus, had killed around one third of Athens’ citizens.Image copyrightGETTY IMAGESImage captionPericles, giving one of his orations
Both orations were reported by the contemporary historian Thucydides, whose searing description of the Great Plague is worth reading for its literary virtuosity alone. Commentators today have drawn parallels between the responses of Athenians – ranging from the heroic to the contemptible – and those of valiant NHS staff and scared panic-buyers today.
But surprisingly, none has drawn attention to the lesson Thucydides himself intended. What doesn’t change, wrote the historian, is human nature; you can expect people to react in similar ways when they encounter events like those that have occurred in the past. He embarked on his work, he says, because a clear grasp of the events he was living through could guide responses to similar events in future.Image copyrightGETTY IMAGESImage captionA bust of Pericles
He modelled his method on that of the most innovative medical practitioner of the day, the physician Hippocrates. Rather than prescribing prayers and religious rituals, spells and incantations, or exotic herbs and quack remedies, Hippocrates and his contemporaries were visiting sick patients, meticulously noting their symptoms, and keeping track of how they responded to prescribed treatments such as sleep, exercise, and the regulation of diet. Boris Johnson was a patient at St Thomas’ hospital, and is likely to have been participating in a medical trial that compares treatments for Covid-19 – so it may be that Hippocrates will come to his mind, as well as Pericles and Thucydides.
“One of the worst aspects of the plague was the despair into which people fell on finding they had the disease. Those who were convinced they had no hope were much quicker to give up and die,” observed Thucydides. “Another was the rate of infection among those who flocked to care for and doctor to others: they died in droves, and had the highest incidence of mortality… In addition, the plague led to greater crime, since criminals calculated on escaping detection and penalties.”
Snowdonia National Park Authority said litter – particularly plastic bottles and wrappers – is a “real issue” and said teams of volunteer wardens collect nearly 400 bags of litter off the mountain each year.
Having highlighted the issue on Snowdon after braving snow and icy water temperatures, 38-year-old Laura, from Criccieth, Gwynedd, will now embark on a UK-wide 620-mile (1,000km) expedition.
Starting later this month, she will collect samples by swimming through rivers, lakes or coastlines of all 15 national parks, from the mountainous Cairngorms in the eastern Highlands of Scotland to the open plains of Dartmoor in Devon.
The challenge is expected to take up to a year to complete before scientists report on the results.
“We were horrified when we were told the water we’d collected [in Snowdonia] had microplastics in it,” she said.
The Environment Agency deployed another four pumps, to the existing 18 pumps, to help fight flooding in Snaith, around 20 miles south of York where floodwaters remain catastrophically high.
Several flooded roads were closed in Wiltshire, people were rescued from cars stranded in water in Devon and Somerset, and the Ouse Bridge in Humberside was temporarily closed to high-sided vehicles as gusts reached up to 70mph.
Cardiff Council said emergency teams worked on flood defences, road closures and clearing debris throughout Thursday night, and its roads team responded to around 100 incidents.
Police called a “critical incident” in parts of south Wales on Saturday, including Pontypridd and the Ely area of Cardiff, as emergency services coordinated their response to the weather. But the incident was stood down mid-morning.
Northern Ireland was among those areas hit by a yellow weather warning on Saturday, with disruption stretching from Cornwall to the north of Scotland, where forecasters said there could be up to 30cm (12in) of snow.
Showers have since eased, but wind warnings remain in place until Sunday – with the possibility of power cuts and transport delays, as well as dangerous waves in coastal areas.
High winds have also been recorded across the island of Ireland where thousands of homes were left without power on Saturday morning as the storm made landfall.
Some 15 rivers in the Midlands, Yorkshire and Lancashire have recorded their highest levels on record this winter.
After the deluge brought by Storm Ciara and Storm Dennis earlier this month, the Environment Agency engineers have been working to repair temporary flood barriers in Ironbridge, Shropshire, and Bewdley in Worcestershire – both of which have suffered devastating flooding.
The agency’s head of floods and coastal management, John Curtin, called it a “phenomenal effort”.
A severe flood warning – meaning a danger to life – for the River Severn at Ironbridge was downgraded on Friday.
More than 3,300 properties in England are thought to have been flooded as a result of the combined effects of storms Ciara and Dennis, the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs said.
But the department said that figure, which includes homes and businesses, is only an estimate due to difficulties in gathering reliable data.
More than 28,000 people in the UK were recorded sleeping rough in 12 months, research by the BBC has suggested.
In England five times as many rough sleepers were seen by councils in the year than reported in official figures, which are a one-night snapshot.
Homelessness charity Crisis said the snapshot could not “hope to accurately reflect the real scale” of the problem.
The government said it was providing £500m this year to homelessness and rough sleeping services.
New official figures will be released on Thursday but the data for 2018 showed 4,677 people slept rough in England on the one night the snapshot survey was taken, down 2% on the year before but 165% up on 2010.
However council responses to the BBC showed nearly 25,000 people were recorded sleeping rough at least once in England during the latest year on record.
The BBC asked councils for the number of individuals amid concerns raised last year that the official one-night snapshot did not give the full picture.
What’s it like on the streets?
In Oxford there were 430 rough sleepers recorded during 2019, compared with 43 during the single night count. This meant the city had one of the highest rates of rough sleeping per household population outside London.
For the past 10 years Nancy Webb has been in and out of hostels.
“It’s dehumanising,” the 33-year-old said. “It chips away at you and, once you become homeless, you start to feel trapped and you’re going round in circles.”
Miss Webb said she had been attacked by other homeless people.
“I have been spat on and had drinks thrown over me and it is terrifying,” she said. “I always try and go somewhere hidden if I am sleeping out, but even then it’s scary because you don’t want to be isolated because that’s terrifying and you don’t want to be somewhere where people are going to be walking past you, because that’s terrifying too.”
Stephen Dare has recently been housed in a flat but said he spent most of the past decade homeless.
“I was soaking wet in my sleeping bag for nine years,” he said.
He wants to see quicker access to council housing for homeless people.
There are currently 2,645 households on the waiting list for council homes in Oxford, 1,023 of whom are existing tenants.
Jane Cranston, chairwoman of the Oxford Homeless Movement, said: “One of the things that shocked me is a lot of these guys coming in have got jobs, so they are homeless because properties are too expensive,” she said.
Councillor Linda Smith, deputy leader of Oxford City Council, said the number sleeping out on a single night had fallen 30% since 2017.
“There are obviously still too many people sleeping rough in Oxford, but the reduction shows the hard work that we and our partners have put in over the years,” she said.
The council is increasing spending on tackling homelessness from £6m a year to £7.4m covering beds, showers and meals as well as support for people negotiating with landlords and finding work.
It also plans to build 600 new council houses.
Why are the figures so high?
The government publishes figures for rough sleeping based on the numbers of people seen or estimated to be sleeping rough in each local authority in England on one night in autumn.
The BBC asked councils how many individuals they recorded sleeping rough at any stage in 2019 – whether they slept rough once or multiple times – and three quarters replied with figures.
Some councils, including Wigan and Doncaster, were unable to provide figures for the number of individuals over the year.
Even among those who did it was not possible to say how many of those recorded may have also slept rough in another area. This means some people may have been counted more than once.
In Wales the total was 599 rough sleepers but most councils referred to Welsh government statistics rather than providing full-year figures.
In Scotland the 2,800 recorded came mainly from housing applications in which people said they slept rough during the previous three months.
The Northern Ireland Housing Executive only provided an estimate based on a single night snapshot, when it found 38.
In London councils referred to CHAIN, a database managed by the charity St Mungo’s with the latest full year figures covering 2018-19.
Central London has consistently had the highest number of rough sleepers. Outside the capital, Hastings recorded the highest rates of individuals per household population.
Hastings Council said it had halved the number of people sleeping rough on one night since 2018, down from 48 to 24. It said it had used government funding alongside its own money for initiatives including a team of health, mental health, substance dependency, social care and housing specialists providing support for rough sleepers.
Nottingham City Council said it knew of 795 individuals who slept rough between April and December 2019, compared with 30 on a typical single night.
Councillor Linda Woodings said the number of homeless people had “undoubtedly risen significantly” following funding cuts and welfare reforms, but rough sleeping in Nottingham was falling.
“Challenges remain around people unwilling to engage with us to access support available to them, increasing numbers of people arriving from elsewhere and with insufficient affordable housing,” Councillor Woodings said. “Also, while we are very successful at bidding for Government grants, it is still not enough to properly address the issue as it continues to grow.”
In Greater Manchester the number of rough sleepers fell by a third in 2019 but the region’s mayor, Andy Burnham, said despite “real progress” there were still too many people on the streets.
What are charities and councils calling for?
Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, said: “Rough sleeping is the most brutal form of homelessness but we still do not have a clear picture of how many people are forced to sleep on our streets throughout the year.
“While the current government statistics on rough sleeping are a useful snapshot, based on counting people seen on one night, this cannot hope to accurately reflect the real scale of the problem.”
Housing spokesman Councillor David Renard said local authorities needed the power to start a “renaissance in council house-building”, adding: “Money allocated to councils is increasingly being spent on providing temporary accommodation, meaning there is less for other homelessness services.”
A Government spokesman said: “We’re committed to eliminating rough sleeping by the end of the Parliament and our efforts have already led to the first nationwide fall in a decade.”
“We’re confident our independently verified snapshot provides a good estimate of the numbers of people sleeping rough on a given night. This year we will give nearly half a billion pounds to councils and charities to support homelessness and rough sleeping services and get people off the streets for good.”
Several European countries have announced their first coronavirus cases, with all appearing to be linked to the growing outbreak in Italy.
Austria, Croatia and Switzerland said the cases involved people who had been to Italy, as did Algeria in Africa.
The first positive virus test has been recorded in Latin America – a Brazilian resident just returned from Italy.
Italy has in recent days become Europe’s worst-affected country, with more than 300 cases and 11 deaths.
But its neighbours have decided closing borders would be “disproportionate”.
Health ministers from France, Germany, Italy and the EU Commission committed to keeping frontiers open at a meeting on Tuesday as new cases of the virus emerged throughout Europe and in central and southern Italy.
“We’re talking about a virus that doesn’t respect borders,” said Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza.