What can the Spanish epidemic of 1918 teach us during the Coronavirus period?


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The corona virus becomes number one and continues its journey around the world. It creates serious excitement and fear for people. And although it is currently impossible to predict exactly which end the world pandemic will end with, the experience of the past few years can surely assume that COVID-19 might end. Oddly enough, but if we look at the spreading history of the world-famous "Spaniard", we can understand that the most massive flu pandemic in history has some things in common with modern coronavirus infections. At first glance, how can two completely different viruses that flare up at different times in the development of medicine have something in common? Let's try to find out everything in this article.

The Spanish flu killed about 50 to 100 million people

What is "Spanish" like a corona virus?

A modern COVID 19 outbreak can have many positive and negative scenarios. Using the experience of past years, you can understand that the occurrence of some negative events can only be prevented if the experience of past generations is taken into account. To do this, you can try to go back to 1918, when the whole world swallowed up the deadly flu virus that has gone down in history under the name "Spaniards". In order to assess the magnitude of the pandemic, it is sufficient to know that approximately 25 million people died in the first 25 weeks after the infection started.

The difficult post-war years, unsanitary conditions and poor nutrition contributed to the virus spreading in many countries and spreading worldwide. The flu virus, which was known to many of us as the H1N1 virus, turned out to be a real super virus of the time. It is worth noting that it is now quite dangerous and will be to blame for the swine flu outbreak in 2009.

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During the angry Spanish flu, not only older and immunocompromised people were killed, but also young and perfectly healthy ones. A person's almost instantaneous death was due to the fact that the infected person's lungs were filled with fluid, causing the person to drown literally without water. Fortunately for all of us, the modern corona virus does not have such bad consequences.

So far, only a few know that the Spanish flu did not first appear in Spain at all, but in America in 1917. Like COVID-19, the Spanish virus also mutated and, according to the Mashable.com portal, spread partially with the troops during the First World War. In just one year of its existence, the virus managed to kill more people than even the war.

The main mistake in the spread of Spanish flu was the continued silence of the facts due to hostilities

In the context of the war between the countries of Europe, the influenza virus spread fairly quickly, and since the military censorship at the time could not allow information about the country's epidemic to be lost, the authorities remained silent for a long time about the actual situation. The death of a large number of people could therefore be prevented if the government only informed the population of the outbreak of the disease immediately after it occurred. Taking into account the mistakes of the past, the minds of almost every industrialized country in the world have already actively campaigned against the dissemination of false information about the virus itself and the associated losses, which can only affect the summary of the final results on the number of cases.

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The timely response from the Chinese authorities in Wuhan was the first step in the fight against the corona virus. The introduction of self-isolation rules and a constant reminder of personal hygiene have also played an important role in containing a dangerous infection. In the meantime, in 1918, everything was reversed: people who did not know about the dangerous disease that was literally so close to them went to rallies, concerts and mass events of all kinds in honor of the end of the war, where they could "share" in Got virus.

All of this ultimately resulted in the medical facilities no longer being able to cope with the ever-increasing flow of patients. Whole villages and individual settlements died out entirely due to the banal lack of information among the population about the existence of the virus and the lack of necessary medication for treatment.

Photos from the time of the Spaniards

When we talk about the similarities between the two pandemics, the use of medical masks has been and still is one of the main requirements when people visit public places. It is worth noting that during the Spanish flu, people were forced not only to face the disease itself, but also its unpleasant social consequences. For example, it is known that people without a medical mask have been denied access to public transportation that they previously had access to.

Fortunately, modern mankind has long known not only medical masks and thorough hand washing, but also all types of antiseptics and, above all, knowledge of the existence of the corona virus. All of this may be enough to at least try to prevent the development of complications in a person while preventing the infection from spreading further. But that already raises hope.