4 Pandemic Lessons Learned from the Spanish Flu

The influenza pandemic from 1918 to 1919, commonly known as the '

Spanish flu, ' has a case fatality rate of 2.5% or more, and the number of deaths is said to be 40 to 100 million worldwide. The Guardian, a major British newspaper, discusses four lessons learned from why the Spanish flu, which caused great damage, was so prevalent.

Four lessons the Spanish flu can teach us about coronavirus | World news | The Guardian

◆ 1: Don't give a name to the pandemic

The 1918 flu, known as the 'Spanish flu,' was first reported by European soldiers fighting in World War I in 1918. The new strain of influenza was more intense than the traditional seasonal influenza, and the poor environment of the trenches was thought to be the cause of the epidemic. However, countries such as the United Kingdom, France, and Germany have hidden the pandemic of the new influenza in order to hide the weakness that ''Spanish flu' is prevalent in trenches.' Only after the illness landed in Spain, which was a neutral nation in World War I, was an accurate report issued and the pandemic was named.

Linking illness with a country or ethnic group and misidentifying it leads to discrimination and stigma. Julia Gog, a mathematician at the University of Cambridge who studies influenza dynamics, points out that the name Spanish flu has created an attack on Spain over the long term. 'We are careful to call it the'flu of 1918'. The disease does not originate in Spain.'The place where the epidemic is said to have first appeared is usually not the first place.'' There is a joke, though Wuhan may be right, 'commented Professor Gog.

◆ 2: Tell the truth and warn people

When the flu epidemic occurred in 1918, national authorities sought to create a sense of security that the Spanish flu was not a big deal, in order to avoid demoralizing soldiers and confusing the country. In June 1918, before the outbreak in Britain, the Daily Mail said, 'The new strain of influenza is less serious than a cold and does not cause many deaths. Think positively about your life.' The Times also published an article about it, and it seems that The Times was initially a

light-hearted way of making jokes.

Mark Honigsbaum said is a medical historian of University College London, 'all of infectious diseases, that the threat to its existence can not be ignored is negative, draw you the arch something similar' and said that, the new coronavirus also with the point that has been neglected by some leaders are concerned about (SARS-CoV-2). Comments that downplay the seriousness of infectious diseases change people's response to threat advice, Honigsbaum said.

◆ 3: Uncontrolled movement creates tragedy

One of the reasons for the 1918 influenza epidemic is that the existence of war has twisted people's behavior. Normally, sick people rest in bed, but during World War I they were sent to the front lines. This caused the disease to spread in a short period of time, and many countries found it extremely difficult to balance war and public health.

In New Zealand, where crackdowns on incoming and outgoing vessels were delayed, 1% of the population died in late 1918 in about two months. This also triggered a pandemic in Samoa, which eventually killed 30% of men, 22% of women and 10% of children.

◆ 4: Danger of the second wave

The first wave of influenza in 1918 was not that serious, but by August the second wave had spread from France to Europe, the United Kingdom and around the world. By this time, the virus had turned into a more lethal one, attacking areas where people had not yet been exposed.

Influenza virus is fundamentally different from coronavirus, and its genome changes frequently, that is, the strain changes rapidly. For this reason, the flu vaccine needs to be depressed every year. On the other hand, the new coronavirus is genetically stable and is not thought to change suddenly and increase the case fatality rate of the new coronavirus infection (COVID-19). However, the question of whether the new coronavirus will end as it is, whether there is a second wave, or whether it will become endemic has not yet been answered.

Since the transmission of the virus is greatly affected by temperature and humidity, it was initially thought that the new coronavirus would end in spring and reappear in the following winter. The idea that the illness will subside towards the summer is not rational, says Gog.

The presence or absence of the second wave is also related to whether a person who has been infected with the virus can maintain immunity for a long period of time thereafter. In Japan, it has been reported that people who recovered after infection had a positive reaction again, and it is possible that immunity may decline within a few weeks to a few months after recovery. There could be a second wave of this, but this possibility is expected to come to the forefront of experts as the number of cases increases.

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