Are there any similarities between COVID-19 and the Spanish Flu Outbreak of 1918?

The number 1 COVID-19 outbreak on our agenda brings to mind previous outbreaks. The Spanish flu pandemic in 1918 killed more than 50 million people in 1.5 years, for example. Let's compare the two.
The Spanish flu of 1918 was a terrible disease that has given people fear for generations.

this flu epidemic, which is known as the deadliest epidemic in human history, has led to the death of at least 50 million people (equivalent to 200 million in today's population) worldwide, half a million in the United States. It spread to Japan, Argentina, Germany and dozens of different countries.

but perhaps the most terrifying part was that the vast majority of these deaths were people in the middle of their lives. People in their 20s, 30s, and 40s died, rather than the elderly and people weakened by other diseases.

As the new coronavirus spread worldwide and people's concerns peaked, comparisons began to be made between today's situation and the Spanish flu in 1918.

Although the frightening atmosphere - surgical masks, food stocking and avoiding collective spaces - and the potential economic consequences are similar to the 1918 outbreak, the medical reality is completely different.

historian alfred w. "Nurses were often going to the scene of the plague that resembled the plague in the 14th century," crosby wrote in his book, "America's forgotten outbreak". “One of the nurses found a woman who was sleeping in a room with her newly born twins and her husband who was lying dead on the floor in the same room. death and twins were born 24 hours ago, and the woman had nothing to eat but an apple. ”
With a death rate of at least 2.5 percent, the 1918 flu was far more lethal than normal flu and was so contagious that it spread widely and death rates increased rapidly.
The researchers believe that the 1918 flu did not kill older people because they had some kind of immunity. They theorized decades ago that this virus had a non-lethal version that spread like an ordinary flu. According to them, older people who lived in 1918 suffered this less fatal flu, and their bodies developed advanced antibodies. As for children, most viral diseases - measles, chickenpox - are more lethal in young adults, which may explain how children get rid of the epidemic.

The flu of 1918 was also a disaster for the average lifespan. In 1917, the average life expectancy in the United States was 51 years. It was the same in 1919. but it was only 39 years in 1918.

The new corona virus seems to be more prone to killing the elderly and those with health problems, and not killing children. this information shows that, at least, it will be much less effective on the average life span.

As for the new corona virus case death rate, it is not yet known, but the latest data from south korea with 7,478 confirmed infections show a significantly higher rate than the seasonal flu. After testing 100,000 people for the virus, the mortality rate seems to be 0.65 percent. (data are still improving as researchers in other countries follow the cases.)
The common point of the current situation with 1918 is public concern.

Fort devens near boston were among the first places where the 1918 flu reached the united states. so many young soldiers were sick and so many were dying that the minister of health sent the country's four leading doctors to the investigation.

One of them, Doctor Victor Vaughn, later explains: “The uniform of their country would come to the hospital ward of hundreds of young people, in groups of ten or more. they were placed in cots until each bed was full, but others would come. their faces quickly become bluish; Bloody sputum would come after a painful cough. In the morning the dead bodies were stacked around the morgue like tree stumps. ”

such stories deeply frightened the Americans.

On October 3, 1918 philadelphia closed all schools, churches, theaters, billiards and other gatherings. employers were overwhelmed - some funeral homes doubled their prices, and some even buried their dead.

In tucson, the medical board banned people from going out without a mask. In albuquerque, where schools and theaters were closed, a local newspaper wrote, "the ghost of fear has walked everywhere".
similar things are happening today. Seattle closed some schools. The south by southwest festival in texas has been canceled. Apple employs its employees from home. More than 2,700 people are under some form of quarantine in new york. and some costco tanks have trouble keeping bottled water in stock.

for the economy, the effects of the 1918 flu despite factory closures and social disruptions i. It was difficult to separate it from the profound effects of World War II. the world was not interconnected as it is today, and in the summer of 1919 the outbreak ended.

The corona virus has already had a significant impact on the stock market and other aspects of the economy, but long-term results are still uncertain.


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