Modjoul Blog

COVID-19: Not the World’s First Pandemic

By Sarah Essich on June 16, 2020 |


The Modjoul team, like many of you, are located across the country where protocols and policies regarding the response to coronavirus have varied wildly. For some of the hardest hit states, stay-at-home orders lasted months and it felt like an unprecedented time in history. Which made me ask... is COVID-19 the world's first pandemic?

The idea of quarantining to stop the spread of illness was first found in Italy when the Black Death, which hit Europe in 1347, claimed an astonishing 200 million lives in just four years, according to It goes on to say that it was initially the Venetians that required sailors to wait 40 days, a quarantino, to prove they were free of illness.

As I continued my exploration into global pandemics, I was surprised to find that over the last 50 years, the world has experienced 10 global pandemics. The pandemic with the highest number of cases was H1N1, with over 760 million infected, in 2009. Find the chart below to help you better understand the break down of statistics.

Global Pandemics

With a global pandemic facing the countries of the world every several years, I can't help but wonder if the recent, impactful tools of social distancing, contact tracing, screening, and quarantining will be implemented more frequently or even continuously to prevent the current and future spread of a global pandemic.


Screening Modjoul Health COVID-19 Social Distancing Contact Tracing