“If you talked to me in 2019, I would have said I was surprised,” said Stephen Kistler, an epidemiologist at Harvard TH Chan Public Health School.
“But if you talked to me in April or May 2020, it wouldn’t be surprising that we reached this point.”
They included ensuring that safety measures were not taken too early. I don’t get the false sense of security among young and healthy people. Do not rely on unproven treatments.
However, Kistler said those lessons were not noticed by many.
“I hoped that many of the mistakes I made in 1918 wouldn’t happen in 2020,” Kistler said. “Hooray”
This shows some of the major differences and similarities between the 1918 pandemic flu and Covid-19.
The difference between the two pandemics
population: The US population is now tripled in 1918. Therefore, although Covid-19 may have a high death toll, the 1918 influenza pandemic seems to have increased American mortality.
The Covid-19 vaccine is currently available, but millions of eligible Americans have not been vaccinated.
Rapid spread of false information: Kistler said he believes that the current biggest disadvantage compared to the 1918 pandemic actually involves significant technological advances.
“The Internet can be a double-edged sword,” he said. “This gives us the opportunity to receive the CDC and the World Health Organization (updates) and share information more quickly, but it also means that we can quickly disseminate false information.”
Similarities between the two pandemics
Young people are not invincible: Just because a person is young and healthy does not mean that he or she is not strongly attacked by the pandemic virus.
John Barry, author of the 2004 book The Great Influenza: The Worst Pandemic Story Ever, states that about two-thirds of 1918 pandemic deaths were between the ages of 18 and 50.
It may be no surprise that the pandemic flu spread rapidly to young adults in 1918. It was the final year of World War I, with many young soldiers approaching in the barracks.
Personal responsibility is important: “They are as good as behavioral reactions,” Kistler said, no matter how good the science and public health advice is.
When the number of cases diminished in San Francisco during the 1918 flu epidemic, “the city’s father said,’Open the city. Hold a big parade downtown. Everyone take off their masks.'” Doctor. Larry Brilliant said.
“Two months later, the event caused a big flu to roar again.”
On the other side of the United States, Philadelphia followed a similar fate.
The city did not cancel the parade scheduled for September 28, 1918, even though 600 sailors from the Philadelphia Navy Shipyard were infected with the virus in September 1918.
“Soon, Philadelphia became the city with the highest number of deaths from influenza in the United States,” said a study in Pennsylvania.
The virus can spread long after the pandemic. The World Health Organization defines a pandemic as the “global spread” of new illnesses.
Kistler said he believes that SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for Covid-19, could last for years, even after the “pandemic” is over.
Kistler predicted that he would “get new variants,” including those that could cause reinfection. But in the end, “these variants probably don’t cause the same kind of serious illness that we’ve already been vaccinated against, or that we’ve already been exposed to. I think it’s closely related enough. “
He emphasized that the best way to get protection and help sputter this pandemic is to get vaccinated-leading to long Covids, hospitalizations, or death without waiting for exposure to the virus. There is a possibility.
“In essence, what the vaccine does is give you the first and second exposures for free,” Kistler said, without the danger of Covid-19.
“It’s very helpful, and it’s very helpful in reducing mortality.”
CNN’s Jacqueline Howard contributed to this report.
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