The World Health Organization has warned that the coronavirus pandemic is "not necessarily the big one" and that a more deadly virus could yet sweep the globe.
Chief of the WHO's emergencies programme Dr Mike Ryan said on Tuesday that the pandemic was a "wake-up call", reports the Daily Mail.
"This pandemic has been very severe… it has affected every corner of this planet. But this is not necessarily the big one," he told a media briefing.
The coronavirus has so far killed 1,799, 337 people world wide and the most recent SAGE estimates put its infection fatality rate at 0.5%, meaning it kills one of every 200 people infected.
Spanish Flu was the last major global pandemic and killed in excess of 50million people between 1918 and 1919. It was much more deadly to younger people and there was a high mortality rate among those aged 20-40 years old. It's infection fatality rate was 2.5%, and it is feared that a similarly deadly global pandemic today would shut down global civilisation, potentially disrupting food supplies as workers in global supply chains stay home over fears for them and their families.
Food shortages could spark global unrest much bigger than the riots that were provoked by outrage over the death of George Floyd in the middle of the pandemic this year.
Stability of governments across the globe could be threatened by such widespread unrest.
The Black Death is believed to be the world's deadliest pandemic and killed between 75million and 200million people across Africa, Europe and Asia between 1347 and 1351.
Ryan added: "This [coronavirus] is a wake-up call. We are learning, now, how to do things better: science, logistics, training and governance, how to communicate better. But the planet is fragile."
"We live in an increasingly complex global society. These threats will continue. If there is one thing we need to take from this pandemic, with all of the tragedy and loss, is we need to get our act together. We need to honour those we've lost by getting better at what we do every day."