2016 has been a terrible year, right? Terror attacks in Europe, countless shootings in the U.S., Zika, Brexit, climate change, the checking out of David Bowie, Prince, and dozens of other beloved artists, and, of course, the checking in of President-elect Donald Trump. Just look at what's being said about him, weeks before he even takes office:
"I am scared that if [he] gets into office, we are going to see more of the Ku Klux Klan and a resurgence of the Nazi Party."
"I'm afraid things are going to blow sky high during this next term."
"He's shallow, superficial, and frightening."
You probably see sentiments like those on social media about, oh, infinity times a day. But those particular quotes were about Ronald Reagan, spoken in 1980 during his first presidential run. Those young enough to be born after his presidency might notice that Reagan did not, in fact, destroy the world, despite him being a conservative 70-year-old media personality with a habit of saying dumb things. So while it might feel as if 2016's suckiness has doomed us all, keep in mind that we've been here many, many times before.
The Rubella Outbreak Of 1964 May Help Us Beat Zika
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The Zika virus is both as serious as the plague and so cartoonishly horrific that it might as well have been directed by David Cronenberg. The entire world is in a panic over this voracious scourge that is coming for our babies. And lest we forget about Zika, there are plenty of headlines to remind us:
The New York Times
It's terrifying that we care what Barbra Streisand thinks.
And those are just the recent ones. We've been hearing worrying stories about Zika all year. Zika is considered by some the new rubella, a disease that became rampant in the '60s. Here are some terrifying headlines about rubella from the past year:
Oh right, there aren't any, because we curb-stomped rubella decades ago. The reason we mention it is that, because its history is similar to Zika, rubella's being used as a case study on how to fight this new menace. Rubella, also known as the German measles, started as a weird foreign disease that hit unborn babies the hardest, causing severe defects like "deafness, congenital heart disease, enlarged spleens, liver problems, abnormalities of the bones and bone marrow, and bleeding disorders." By 1965, over 10 million people were infected. 20,000 babies died, 30,000 more were born with birth defects, and thousands were aborted as a precautionary measure. Then, by 1969, a vaccine was made. By the '80s, rubella was contained to minor, isolated outbreaks. Today, it has been so thoroughly wiped out of the Americas that any American carrying it could be suspected of being a time traveler.
Center For Disease Control
Or suffering from the most unfortunate case of freckles ever seen.