The coronavirus is by far America’s deadliest pandemic to date in recent times. Read to know all about the pandemic that surpassed the fatalities from the devastating influenza pandemic in 1918.
All about America’s deadliest pandemic
According to the data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, the US reported over 675,000 deaths as of Monday. Moreover, over 1,900 fatalities occur every day in America. The nation is now experiencing another overwhelming wave of infection, fueled by the delta variant of the virus. Up until now, the 1918 influenza flu was considered the deadliest. The previous pandemic came in three waves. In the spring of 1918, the fall of 1918, and, in 1919’s spring and winter.
The influenza virus led to the deaths of about 675,000 Americans as per the data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “I think we are now pretty well done with historical comparisons. However, it is time to stop looking back to 1918 as a guide for how to act in the present. And to start thinking forward from 2021,” said Dr. Howard Markel, a doctor and medical historian at the University of Michigan. “This is the pandemic I will be studying and teaching to the next generation of doctors and public-health students,” he added.
Comparing the two pandemics
Health experts believe that a direct comparison of data from both health crises will not provide all the details. After all, the technological, cultural, social, and medical advances are far better now. The experts stress that it is important to consider the population when talking about disease outbreaks and disasters. For example, the population of America is about three times more than what it was in 1918. The 1918 flu killed 1 in every 150 people, the COVID-19 killed 1 in every 500 people in the US.
According to the data from the World Health Organization, the flu epidemic killed around 20 to 50 million people across the world. However, the coronavirus has taken the lives of about 4.7 million people across the world. In addition to this, unlike the coronavirus, there was no vaccine for the 1918 virus.
Additionally, there was no national public health department or the CDC to guide and manage the spread. Moreover, the medical equipment did not include antibiotics, ventilators, IV fluids, and ICUs. Researchers did not know a lot about virology and imaging viruses under the microscope was impossible. “Obviously, we have much better advantages now, 100 years later,” said Dr. Paul Offit, an FDA advisor for the COVID-19 vaccines. “I can tell you that we see a lot of children hospitalized as well, who have high-risk conditions and the problem is not that they didn’t get their third dose. The problem is that they are unvaccinated,” he added.