Viruses moved slowly in history because people moved slowly. When Europeans met with the people of the new world, they shared viruses and nearly wiped out the native inhabitants, who had no immunity. Small pox was possibly the worst, but when you die, whatever you died of would be the worst to you.
We, ourselves are the inheritors of those migrations and campaigns. Today you can hop on a jet and be on the other side of the planet in a matter of hours. And you can travel like a sultan in first class or like sardine, squished with others in the back.
Once, flying in uniform from Asia to the US, I was boarded with immigrants from Asia who were unfamiliar with Western culture or, it would seem, with restrooms. There were a lot of them, sitting together as part of a group. They had special food. A whole fish, presumably cooked, on top of a bowl of rice. As the area became “ripe”, the aircrew moved me up to sit with the sultans in the front out of a sense of compassion for me. I appreciated it. At the same time, I wondered what those Asian country people would think when they landed in their new home, centuries ahead of where they left. New rules, new standards, no rice paddies. Migrations continue, but differently.
Today, I’m on vacation in the tropics, far from the Arizona highlands, hoping that I don’t come into contact with the rapidly migrating COVID-19 virus, hitchhiking its way across the planet.