The coronavirus is nothing next to the supremely deadly flu virus of 1918, at least not yet. But when you delve into the history of that epidemic, the main comparison with today becomes clear. It’s in our “it can’t happen here” attitude.
In 1918, modern medicine had made the world seem clean and safe. Scientists had discovered and defeated the bacterial pathogens behind many of history’s biggest killers. We hadn’t figured out what influenza was, exactly, but it was a known quantity, a seasonal annoyance, really deadly only to the elderly. Doctors weren’t required to report it. There hadn’t been a global flu outbreak in 25 years, not since the Russian flu of 1891. There was a war on, but the U.S. was congratulating itself on how disease-free its military camps were. Read more…
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What the 1918 flu's hidden history can teach the coronavirus era