Are We Facing Another Global Pandemic?
By Todd Strandberg
In all of human history, infectious diseases have been a constant threat. The small mutation in the genome of a virus or bacterium could trigger a pandemic that could sweep over the world and kill millions of people. The last major pandemic with high levels of mortality was the 1918 Spanish flu outbreak; this pandemic was estimated to be responsible for the deaths of approximately 50–100 million people.
The 2009 flu pandemic was the most recent pandemic. First described in April 2009, the virus appeared to be the result of a triple reassortment of bird, swine and human flu viruses. This new strain was so different from previous viruses, it was able to breach the immune system of a vast number of people. It is estimated that 11–21% of the global population contracted the illness, and 151,000–579,000 died.
It’s no odd coincidence that many of the world influenza strains originate in China. When you have 100s of millions of farmers living right next to various animals, you have a perfect breeding ground for a new deadly virus. It should come as no surprise that China just had two major viruses in its farm animal population. The African swine fever has wiped out a third of China’s pig population. Another virus killed millions of ducks.
The Chinese culture is equally if not a greater source for new virus strains. With China being a communist nation, the first impulse is to always cover up any outbreak, which allows the contamination to spread. The Chinese fondness for eating anything that crawls on the earth adds to the risk. The coronavirus that’s currently grabbing world headlines is said to be related to the bat and snake market trade. There are also the “wet” markets, which are popular in China as customers like to purchase their meat “warm” – that is, recently slaughtered. In short, China is one giant Petri dish.
The coronavirus has alarm bells sounding all over the world. As I am writing, the virus has infected more than 6,500 people and killed 137. As the authorities fight to contain the virus, experts warn that the death toll will almost certainly rise.
The source of the coronavirus is believed to be a market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan. The city’s health commission said the infection broke out between December 12 and 29, with some of the patients employed at the market.
The Chinese government has made an impressive effort to contain the coronavirus. Beijing has imposed lockdown measures on ten cities, which includes 65 million people. A ban has been placed on all transport links suspending buses, subways, ferries, and shutting the airport and train stations to outgoing passengers. In the city of Wuhan, a massive hospital is quickly being built that will be able to provide over 10,000 hospital beds for viral pneumonia patients.
I believe that the coronavirus will ultimately be contained before it reaches the level of a global pandemic. I think Bible prophecy will be the key reason why. We are in a state of profound financial risk. A global lockdown on economic activity related to the effort to fight the virus would certainly push us over the edge.
The Ebola virus gives me confidence in making this hopeful prediction. The current outbreak of Ebola began in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in May 2017. In July 2019, the World Health Organization declared the Congo Ebola outbreak a world health emergency. Ebola is normally a virus that kills a large number of people. Its rate of infection is best compared to the burn of gunpowder. Right now, Ebola is smoldering like a damp campfire. During the last 30 days, 77 cases of Ebola were reported in the Beni Health Zone in North Kivu Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo.
I think the ever-increasing threat of a global pandemic is meant to be warning sign from God of worse things to come. The pale horse of pestilence is getting ready to ride. His order to ride out will not come until the tribulation is well underway.
“And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth” (Rev 6:8, KJV).
“And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven” (Luke 21:11, KJV).