Covid-19 repeats the Spanish flu nightmare

Covid-19 repeats the Spanish flu nightmare 2

After the Spanish flu epidemic, the world learned more about viruses, cured many diseases, created effective vaccines, had instant communication methods and prepared a meticulous public health network.

Just like in 1918, people are once again hearing promises and reassurances, contradicted by the reality of overcrowded hospitals and morgues while bank accounts are depleted.

Influenza patients were treated at a hospital in Washington in 1918. Photo: Library of Congress.

Modern science has helped the world quickly identify nCoV, map its genes and develop testing kits – knowledge no one had in 1918. That gives more people a chance to avoid infection, less

But how to avoid infection and what to do when you get sick haven’t changed much.

Some experts believe that the Spanish flu originated in East Asia, a region with many zoonotic diseases.

One thing is clear: Despite its name, this epidemic did not originate in Spain.

Like Covid-19, the 1918 pandemic came from a respiratory virus that jumped from animals to humans, said John M. Barry, author of a book about the Spanish flu.

The advice from that time still holds true today.

But there are also stark differences between the viruses of 1918 and 2020. While Covid-19 mainly affected the elderly, the Spanish flu was especially dangerous  for healthy people in their 20s – 40s, many American soldiers

This is paradoxical because people of this age usually have a good immune system.

About 675,000 Americans died from the Spanish flu.

But those hit hardest are the poor, crowded into crowded housing, public transportation and hot factories.

Covid-19 repeats the Spanish flu nightmare

Medical staff move patients in Rome on May 2.

In 1918, the US surgeon general emphasized that `people with mild symptoms can still pose a very serious danger to others.`

Blue also recommends that people only get medicine from reputable doctors.

`There was no Tony Fauci back then,` Barry said, referring to the federal immunologist who often provides scientific insight at White House press briefings.

Some people spread the news that Covid-19 broke out because of the development of 5G networks, just like there were rumors that radio waves caused the flu in 1918. Dozens of British telecommunications towers were sabotaged.

In September 1918, when the second Spanish flu outbreak occurred in the United States, Philadelphia’s director of public health ignored the advice of his advisors, allowing a large parade to take place in the city to raise funds.

As officials insisted there was nothing alarming, Americans watched as scores of neighbors died and bodies were buried in mass graves.

San Francisco at that time locked down for 6 weeks, forcing people to wear masks and punishing those who did not comply.

The lesson learned from the Spanish flu is to react early, be cautious when easing restrictions, and tell people the truth.

`We have already built plans, spent billions of dollars to prepare for epidemic scenarios, assigned tasks to federal agencies, but in the end, we still cannot change anything,` he said.

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