Blog post by Marica Micallef
It is true we are living in extraordinary times. But such times were not unprecedented. In 1918, the world went through another influenza pandemic, known as the Spanish flu. It was said to have been caused by an H1N1 virus with genes of avian origin. Isn’t it “funny” that all these viruses are said to originate from animals? While the Spanish flu virus was thought to be of avian or bird origin, we have the coronavirus which is thought to have originated from a bat! Is history repeating itself or is it history made to repeat itself?
It is estimated that the Spanish flu virus infected about 500 million people and the number of deaths was at 50 million worldwide. Unlike the coronavirus so far, the Spanish flu affected mostly people younger than five years of age, the 20-40 years old and those 65 years and older.
The measures which they took at the time were isolation, quarantine, good personal hygiene, use of disinfectants and limitations of public gatherings. They were also forced to wear masks! Isn’t this the same scenario of Covid-19? The differences between these two contexts are that now we have the usage of the PCR Tests and the administration of vaccines. At the time, no vaccines were administered, and yet, the Spanish flu still managed to end.
Information also states that the Spanish flu caused people to die of pneumonia, which they state was caused by the Spanish flu virus. The CDC website states that at the time, nations did not have medicine to “treat secondary bacterial infections that can be associated with influenza infections”. Bacterial infections? Aren’t we talking about a virus, which causes viral infections? May I remind the readers that my father was diagnosed with bacterial pneumonia when hospitalised and tested positive for Covid. Does Covid mirror the Spanish flu?
Up till now, the reasons that made the Spanish flu devastating are still not completely understood. With some scientists and politicians boasting about scientific progress, is it possible that these causes were never found? Can we say the same about Covid-19? Will the same conclusions be drawn about Covid-19, in the future?
In the United States, the Spanish flu was first identified in military personnel in spring 1918.
The CDC states: “To better understand this deadly virus, an expert group of researchers and virus hunters set out to search for the lost 1918 virus, sequence its genome, RECREATE THE VIRUS IN A HIGHLY SAFE AND REGULATED LAB SETTING AT CDC, and ultimately study its secrets to BETTER PREPARE FOR FUTURE PANDEMICS”. I guess this was not done. If not, the world would have been prepared for Covid-19.
So, is the Spanish flu virus still a mystery up till today, more than 100 years later, while covid has already been identified in a year and vaccines were created against it?