Comparing The COVID-19 Pandemic - To The Spanish Flu Pandemic Of 1918.
Why Does COVID-19 Sound Familiar?
Is history in the process of repeating itself? I believe it is. We've seen this movie before but none of us (including me or anyone I know) was alive to see the original. We are however living the nightmare of the sequel.
I used a number of online sources to come up with the article I wrote below and pieced together below including YouTube Videos and Wikipedia.
Comparing The Spanish Flu Pandemic Of 1918 & COVID-19 Now.
The 1918 influenza pandemic (nicknamed the Spanish Flu) was the most severe pandemic in recent history. It was caused by an H1N1 virus with genes of avian origin (bird flu). Although there is no universal consensus regarding where the virus originated, it spread worldwide from 1918-1919.
As my wife has pointed out isn't it odd that many of these flu outbreaks originate in China?
The 1918 flu was first observed in Europe, the United States, and parts of Asia before swiftly spreading around the world. Many believe that soldiers in Europe fanning out across the world during World War I spread the virus far and wide. Round one in the spring of 1918 was severely mild compared to the second wave beginning in the summer of 1918 and lasting into February of 1919.
Scientists still do not know for sure where the Spanish Flu originated, though theories point to France, China, Britain, or the United States, where the first known case was reported at Camp Funston in Fort Riley, Kansas, on March 11, 1918.
It is estimated that about 500 million people or one-third of the world’s population became infected with this virus. The number of deaths was estimated to be at least 50 to 100 million worldwide with about 675,000 occurring in the United States.
Mortality was high in people younger than 5 years old, 20-40 years old, and 65 years and older. The high mortality in healthy people, including those in the 20-40 year age group, was a unique feature of this pandemic.
One unusual aspect of the 1918 flu was that it struck down many previously healthy, young people—a group normally resistant to this type of infectious illness—including a number of World War I servicemen.
In fact, more U.S. soldiers died from the 1918 flu than were killed in battle during the war. Forty percent of the U.S. Navy was hit with the flu, while 36 percent of the Army became ill, and troops moving around the world in crowded ships and trains helped to spread the killer virus.
Although the death toll attributed to the Spanish flu is often estimated at 20 million to 50 million victims worldwide, other estimates run as high as 100 million victims—around 3 percent of the world’s population. The exact numbers are impossible to know due to a lack of medical record-keeping in many places.
With no vaccine to protect against influenza infection and no antibiotics to treat secondary bacterial infections that can be associated with influenza infections, control efforts worldwide were limited to non-pharmaceutical interventions such as isolation, quarantine, good personal hygiene, use of disinfectants, and limitations of public gatherings, which were applied unevenly. Some cities, states, and regions shut down while others didn't.
Complicating matters was the fact that World War I had left parts of America with a shortage of physicians and other health workers. And of the available medical personnel in the U.S., many came down with the flu themselves. Many hospitals then as now were overrun with patients. While others in rural areas were hit less severely.
Additionally, hospitals in some areas were so overloaded with flu patients that schools, private homes, and other buildings had to be converted into makeshift hospitals, some of which were staffed by medical students.
Officials in some communities imposed quarantines, ordered citizens to wear masks, and shut down public places, including schools, churches, and theaters. People were advised to avoid shaking hands and to stay indoors, libraries put a halt on lending books, and regulations were passed banning spitting.
With no cure for the flu, many doctors prescribed medication that they felt would alleviate symptoms… including aspirin, which had been trademarked by Bayer in 1899—a patent that expired in 1917, meaning new companies were able to produce the drug during the Spanish Flu epidemic.
Before the spike in deaths attributed to the Spanish Flu in 1918, the U.S. Surgeon General, Navy, and the Journal of the American Medical Association had all recommended the use of aspirin. Medical professionals advised patients to take up to 30 grams per day, a dose now known to be toxic. (For comparison’s sake, the medical consensus today is that doses above four grams are unsafe.) Symptoms of aspirin poisoning include hyperventilation and pulmonary edema, or the buildup of fluid in the lungs, and it’s now believed that many of the October deaths were actually caused or hastened by aspirin poisoning.
The flu took a heavy human toll, wiping out entire families and leaving countless widows and orphans in its wake. Funeral parlors were overwhelmed and bodies piled up. Many people had to dig graves for their own family members.
The flu was also detrimental to the economy. In the United States, businesses were forced to shut down because so many employees were sick. Basic services such as mail delivery and garbage collection were hindered due to flu-stricken workers.
In some places, there weren’t enough farm workers to harvest crops. Even state and local health departments closed for business, hampering efforts to chronicle the spread of the 1918 flu and provide the public with answers about it. Communication then was not like it is now. Then it took days or weeks for the news to spread across the world. They suffered from a lack of good efficient communication.
A devastating second wave of the Spanish Flu hit American shores in the summer of 1918, as returning soldiers infected with the disease spread it to the general population—especially in densely-crowded cities. Without a vaccine or approved treatment plan, it fell to local mayors and healthy officials to improvise plans to safeguard the safety of their citizens. With pressure to appear patriotic at wartime and with a censored media downplaying the disease’s spread, many made tragic decisions.
Philadelphia’s response was too little, too late. Dr. Wilmer Krusen, director of Public Health and Charities for the city, insisted mounting fatalities were not the “Spanish flu,” but rather just the normal flu. So on September 28, the city went forward with a Liberty Loan parade attended by tens of thousands of Philadelphians, spreading the disease like wildfire. In just 10 days, over 1,000 Philadelphians were dead, with another 200,000 sick. Only then did the city close saloons and theaters. By March 1919, over 15,000 citizens of Philadelphia had lost their lives.
St. Louis, Missouri, was different: Schools and movie theaters closed and public gatherings were banned. Consequently, the peak mortality rate in St. Louis was just one-eighth of Philadelphia’s death rate during the peak of the pandemic.
Citizens in San Francisco were fined $5—a significant sum at the time—if they were caught in public without masks and charged with disturbing the peace.
Interestingly enough today we face nearly the same challenges world-wide with trying to come up with a valid number of infections from COVID-19. Bad testing and faulty tests initially and lack of testing have compounded this ongoing problem. Not to mention that Communist China, North Korea, Iran, Russia, and others are lying about their numbers.
Today because of the Political bias of the Mainstream Media and the control over Social Media we suffer from a lack of the truth.
During the fall of 1918, a much deadlier second wave spread across America and the rest of the world. In November of 1918, it is reported that people in the U.S. would wake up feeling sick but would go ahead and go to work. Many of them died before arriving. Many people would die within two hours of becoming infected with the Spanish Flu virus. Victims had blood pouring out of their ears, noses, coughing up blood as they drowned in their own phlegm and blood. They literally would drop dead in the streets. Turning blue and purple.
When the Spanish flu first appeared in early March 1918, it had all the hallmarks of a seasonal flu, albeit a highly contagious and virulent strain. One of the first registered cases was Albert Gitchell, a U.S. Army cook at Camp Funston in Kansas, who was hospitalized with a 104-degree fever. The virus spread quickly through the Army installation, home to 54,000 troops. By the end of the month, 1,100 troops had been hospitalized and 38 had died after developing pneumonia.
Luckily, the first wave of the virus wasn’t particularly deadly, with symptoms like high fever and malaise usually lasting only three days, and mortality rates were similar to seasonal flu.
Reported cases of Spanish flu dropped off over the summer of 1918, and there was hope at the beginning of August that the virus had run its course. In retrospect, it was only the calm before the storm. Somewhere in Europe, a mutated strain of the Spanish flu virus had emerged that had the power to kill a perfectly healthy young man or woman within 24 hours of showing the first signs of infection.
From September through November of 1918, the death rate from the Spanish flu skyrocketed. In the United States alone, 195,000 Americans died from the Spanish flu in just the month of October.
And unlike a normal seasonal flu, which mostly claims victims among the very young and very old, the second wave of the Spanish flu exhibited what’s called a “W curve”—high numbers of deaths among the young and old, but also a huge spike in the middle composed of otherwise healthy 25- to 35-year-olds in the prime of their life.
Not only was it shocking that healthy young men and women were dying by the millions worldwide, but it was also how they were dying. Struck with blistering fevers, nasal hemorrhaging and pneumonia, the patients would drown in their own fluid-filled lungs.
British military doctors conducting autopsies on soldiers killed by this second wave of the Spanish flu described the heavy damage to the lungs as akin to the effects of chemical warfare.
Like COVID-19 now most victims of the Spanish Flu died when their lungs filled up with fluids, they drowned on their own body fluids.
The rapid spread of Spanish flu in the fall of 1918 was at least partially to blame on public health officials unwilling to impose quarantines during wartime. In Britain, for example, a government official named Arthur Newsholme knew full well that a strict civilian lockdown was the best way to fight the spread of the highly contagious disease. But he wouldn’t risk crippling the war effort by keeping munitions factory workers and other civilians home.
Initial symptoms of the illness included a sore head and tiredness, followed by a dry, hacking cough; a loss of appetite; stomach problems; and then, on the second day, excessive sweating. Next, the illness could affect the respiratory organs, and pneumonia could develop.
Americans were offered similar advice about how to avoid getting infected. They were advised not to shake hands with others, to stay indoors, to avoid touching library books, and to wear masks. Schools, theaters, businesses closed nationwide.
Sound familiar? Local, state, and Federal government officials reacted the same way then to the virus as they are today with COVID-19. They shut everything down and ordered people to stay home to stem the spread of the virus. This wrecked the economies of the U.S. and the world.
The virus continued to run its course until 1921. Medical researches say that the virus was still traceable as the Spanish Flu as late as 1957. It’s believed that today's annual flu outbreaks are direct descendants (in a much-weakened form) of the Spanish Flu. The virus mutated and adapted itself to its host...us. Although the Spanish Flu weekend with each new mutation over time we still to this day deal with it.
Reality In Today's Pandemic.
America and the world now grapple with the cruel decisions of how to stop the spread of COVID-19, and how to prevent a second, possibly deadlier wave this fall. We also face the agonizing heartbreak of trying to save our livelihoods/jobs, economy, and nation without killing ourselves during this Pandemic.
As of today (Sunday, April 26th,2020) there are 2,962,915 reported cases of COVID-19 worldwide as per the John Hopkins web site. Which is likely low due to the lack of accurate reporting from the Communist Nations mentioned above.
205,936 deaths world-wide...also likely low.
961,969 cases in the U.S. with 54,530 deaths.
The current population of the U.S. is 328,200,000.
Only 5,184,635 tests have been administered nation-wide. That's less than 10% of the entire nation that has been tested.
There are no easy solutions. There are no easy answers. This isn't going to get any easier or get any better anytime soon. My worst fear is that we haven't seen the worst of this.
Equally as dangerous as the virus itself is the Radical Political Left who have gone on a feeding frenzy in trampling on States Rights and our basic Constitutional Rights. Political unrest, economic disparity, and fear all could combine as a deadly combination with the virus to take many more lives.
Both have the possibility of killing many more of us if this does not calm down soon.
Pray for America. Pray for the World.