Is History Repeating Itself? 1918 Influenza VS COVID-19

The world is currently battling a worldwide pandemic of SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

At this point , vast swaths of the U.S. population are under a semi-quarantine dubbed “social distancing,” with most businesses closed apart from essential businesses, like hospitals and doctors’ offices, grocery stores, banks and utilities.

Many of us are performing from home, if able. The goal is to “flatten the curve,” which refers to varied graphs of the outbreak which show a really steep curve that might concentrate the amount of cases diagnosed and treated during a very short period of your time , which might overwhelm hospitals.

By flattening the curve, the outbreak’s spread would be slowed, and cases would be opened up over a extended period of your time in hopes of giving healthcare institutions the power to raised manage the cases.

Computer models projecting the COVID-19 range dramatically, with one out of Imperial College of London predicting about 2.2 million deaths within the U.S.

If no action was taken to slow the spread of the disease. A more hopeful but still catastrophic model projects somewhere between 100,000 to 240,000 deaths, a number of which begin of the Trump administration and a few which came from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) and other sources.

The IHME model, as an example , doesn’t take into consideration federal social-distancing recommendations, but instead looks at a state-by-state basis, because some states have taken very aggressive and early actions, like Ohio, Michigan, Illinois and California, while others, like Florida, are very late to try to to anything. The IHME model, however, assumes that by April 7 all states will have imposed a full sort of social-distancing rules.

Although the IHME projection suggests that in many nations the pandemic will have peaked in mid to late-April, Chris Murray, IHME’s director, told NPR, “Our rough guess is that come June, a minimum of 95% of the U.S. will still be susceptible.

Meaning , of course, it can come right back. And so, then we actually got to have a strong strategy in situ to not have a second wave.”

Spanish Flu of 1918 Compared to COVID-19

Although the planet has faced several major pandemics over the last 100 years, one among the worst was the 1918 influenza pandemic, the so-called Spanish flu. it had been caused by an H1N1 virus that originated in birds.

It had been first identified within the U.S. in military personnel within the spring of 1918.

It had been dubbed the Spanish flu because it had been thought at the time to possess originated in Spain.

Research published in 2005 suggest it actually originated in ny . it had been named Spanish flu because Spain was neutral in war I (1914-1918), meaning it could report on the severity of the pandemic, but countries fighting the war were suppressing reports on how the disease affected their populations.

At its worse, the Spanish flu infected 500 million people worldwide, which at the time was a few third of the Earth’s population. quite 50 million people died of the disease, with 675,000 within the U.S.

There’s some disagreement thereon figure, with recent researchers suggesting it had been about 17.4 million deaths, while others go as high as 100 million.

Generally speaking, the death rate for the Spanish flu is calculated at about 2%.

Although it’s something of a moving target as more deaths occur and broader diagnostic testing is performed, finding higher levels of infection, sometimes with no symptoms, the worldwide deathrate for COVID-19 as of April 1 is about 5%, although within the U.S.

It’s about 2.16%. Some experts believe the five hundred figure is significantly lower due to doubts about the accuracy of China’s reporting of the cases, where COVID-19 originated.

Some experts, like Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who are some things of the general public point-man for the U.S.

Response to COVID-19, project the death rate are going to be about 1%, which remains about 10 times the death rate of a typical seasonal influenza of 0.1%.

Another commonality between the Spanish flu’s H1N1 and therefore the COVID-19 coronavirus is that both are considered “novel,” which is to mention , they’re so new nobody in either era had any immunity to them.

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One marked difference between the 2 is that the most affected groups within the 1918 pandemic were otherwise healthy adults between the ages of 20 to 40. Mortality was also higher in people younger than five years aged and 65 and older.

Demographics of the Pandemics

The most affected groups for COVID-19 are adults over the age of 65 with underlying health conditions. For the foremost part, children seem to possess much milder symptoms.

There were no vaccines for the Spanish flu and there are currently no vaccines for COVID-19.

One reason the Spanish flu was so lethal was there have been no antibiotics to treat secondary bacterial infections, so control efforts round the globe were limited to non-pharmaceutical responses like isolation, quarantine, disinfectants and limiting public gatherings, although then as now, they were applied erratically. the primary flu vaccine to be licensed within the U.S. happened within the 1940s.

The 1918 pandemic led to the summer of 1919, mostly, Healthline reports, thanks to deaths and better immunity levels. Christine Kreuder Johnson, a University of California – Davis professor of epidemiology and ecosystem health and a researcher on USAID’s Emerging Pandemic Threats PREDICT project, said that another thing to require into consideration for the 1918 pandemic was the planet was within the middle of a war and soldiers were spreading the virus globally. People also lived in crowded conditions and had extremely poor hygiene.

To date, about 1.25 million people are confirmed to possess COVID-19 worldwide, with about quite 66,000 deaths.

Of course, the planet population in 1918 was about 1.8 billion. the upper estimate of fifty million deaths would suggest the Spanish flu killed 2.7% of the planet population, while the 17.4 million figure suggest about 1%.

The current world’s population is about 8 billion people with significantly lower death rates from COVID-19 overall.

Although the pandemic is way from over, the lower figure is probably going associated with greater awareness of how viruses and pandemics work, better healthcare, both in terms of access to hospitals, but antibiotics, antiviral drugs and other approaches to treating diseases.

In fact, although healthcare facilities are being stretched thin by COVID-19 in many countries, it had been quite bit worse in 1918, as hospitals were handling mass casualties and injuries from the war, and lots of physicians were with the troops, leaving medical students to require care of the influenza patients.

On the opposite hand, we’ve a much more connected world with aviation and denser populations, which make the spread of COVID-19 easier and faster.

Cautions on Comparison

With all the similarities, it should be emphasized that there are several significant differences between the 2 pandemics. First off, simply, is that COVID-19 isn’t influenza, it’s more sort of a chronic acute pneumonia.

They’re both caused by novel viruses, but differing types of viruses with different methods of action and infectiousness.

Secondly, and maybe most significantly , the power of researchers to marshal technology and science to quickly develop and/or test drugs for the disease, has never been as strong because it is now.

There are quite 100 ongoing clinical trials worldwide of experimental and already approved drugs which may be repurposed to fight COVID-19, with literally dozens of companies globally performing on developing vaccines against the SARS-CoV-2 virus that are already in clinical trials could be available to battle a second wave of the disease, although which will depend upon when or if there’s a second wave and when or if a vaccine is developed.

Many experts believe a second wave is feasible within the fall of 2020, and most optimistic projections do not have a vaccine available until early 2021, although which will depend an excellent deal on the kinds of technologies available, clinical test results, and therefore the world’s willingness to rush regulations within the face of an emergency.

In fact, one among the first pharmaceutical treatments for the Spanish flu was aspirin, which had been trademarked by Bayer in 1899, but whose patent expired in 1917, allowing companies to manufacturing it during the pandemic.

At the time, medical professionals were recommending up to 30 grams of aspirin daily, which we now know is toxic—doses above four grams are unsafe.

Aspirin poisoning symptoms include hyperventilation and pulmonary edema (fluid within the lungs), numerous medical historians believe many of the deaths from the Spanish flu were either caused or accelerated by aspirin poisoning.

Global communication and sharing of data also are significantly better than in 1918, which has seen researchers sharing data on the pandemic, the virus and various drugs, and governments doing an equivalent .


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