The modern-day plague of gnats

    Greetings from the Ridge.
    “And God sent a plague upon Egypt and there was great moaning throughout the land!”
    Aside from being a lousy line for an Egyptian travel brochure, the Old Testament warning of plagues has held meaning throughout our world’s history. Over 100 major plagues rolled across Europe before the calendar turned over to the year 1700. That’s a lot of plague-ing.
    We now call them pandemics, a word that somehow sounds more curable, but in effect is just a scrub and polish of the word “plague.” The worst, of course, was the Black Death than reared its ugly head in Europe around the middle of the 14th century. At least 75 million died as a result of what we now know to be bubonic plague. This figure becomes even more devastating when we realize there were only around 450 million people in the world at the time. Half the population of Europe died within four years. Now that’s what I call a plague.

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