You are deeply mistaken in believing that the coronavirus that has struck the world is the worst infection that could have happened to mankind in its recent history. In 1918, a flu strain known to the world as Spanish flu caused a global pandemic that quickly spread like a medieval bubonic plague, killing everything on its way. Although estimates of the exact number of deaths caused by the disease vary, it is believed that the Spaniard has hit almost a third of the world's population. Can the corona virus so discussed today take on a similarly widespread scale?
Does the corona virus look like Spanish flu?
An outbreak of an infectious disease that killed more than 50 million people worldwide began in 1918 in the last months of the First World War. Although the disease was nicknamed the Spanish flu at the time, the virus is highly unlikely to come from Spain. Scientists describe war as the main reason for the appearance and spread of the virus, the life responsible for the dirt and moisture that surrounded the soldiers throughout the period of hostilities. The virus spread quickly in cities and most often affected young people aged 20 to 30 who had no notable health problems before.
You will be interested in: Technical vaccine: how to deal with future pandemics?
In 2014, a new theory about the origin of the virus suggested that it first appeared in China. Spanish flu has been linked to Chinese workers who have come to Europe from remote areas of rural China to work, according to records. After spending six days in sealed railway containers on their way to the Old World countries, more than 3,000,000 people ended their medical quarantine trip. When workers arrived in northern France in early 1918, many were sick and hundreds soon died.
When the virus reached the country in whose honor it was later named, the infection infected almost half of the Spanish population almost instantly and even infected the local King Alfonso XIII. Together with leading politicians. The panic that swept through their country caused a lack of medical care and services, and the virus itself was associated with high winds in Spain that were said to spread microbial dust.
What were the symptoms of the "Spaniard"?
The symptoms of the Spanish flu, which raged in Europe at the beginning of the 20th century, were very similar to those of today's coronavirus infection. The first symptoms of the disease included headache, persistent fatigue, dry cough, and loss of appetite and stomach problems. If left untreated, the disease can affect the respiratory system and cause pneumonia.
By the way, if you still don't know what the difference between an epidemic and a pandemic is, this article can help you find out.
By the summer of 1918, the virus had spread rapidly to other countries in continental Europe and, in addition to Spain, also affected Austria, Germany, Hungary and France. In August 1918, the epidemic quickly developed into a pandemic that spread across the world.
When the flu reached the United States through the port of Boston in September 1918, local doctors were unwilling to face the dangerous virus and advised their patients to avoid crowded places and drink wine or beef broth as medicine. Sometimes the situation became ridiculous and even … aspirin was accused of causing an infection.
In truth, the situation with aspirin has not changed significantly since then. You can read the fact that scientists are certain that acetylsalicylic acid can be harmful to health here.
The Spaniard's treatment methods were characterized by the creation of the so-called forminthes – tablets that were made within the walls of one of the British companies that produce vitamins. Manufacturers claimed that peppermint candy was “the best way to prevent infectious processes,” and everyone, including children, should suck four to five of these pills a day until they feel better.
The lack of solid treatment methods meant that the number of deaths from the Spanish flu did not decrease until spring 1919. After meeting more than 500 million people around the world, the Spaniard was able to repeat what happened to the bubonic plague in medieval Europe during the epidemic. But has a lot changed since then?
By the way, even before the spread of the corona virus, we wrote about what would happen if a deadly virus pandemic flared up today.