This virus is not as bad as the Spanish Virus of 1918 that took the entire world by surprise, causing a heavy toll of lives across the world. Covid-19, having been recently declared a pandemic, medical researchers point out that we need to learn a lot from the the deadliest flu that ever stuck the world in 1918 -the Spanish Flu. It is a futile attempt to make a comparison between covid-19 and the Spanish flu because there is a big gulf between their mode of transmission. However, the bewildered and confused research fraternity have rediscovered the Spanish Flu of 1918 in the present covid-19. As mentioned in my previous post on Spanish Flue, the name was a misnomer; Spain had nothing to do with that airborne avian virus that killed 50 to 100 million people world over. India was under the Raj and we lost about 15 million plus people. No specific anti-viral therapies were available during the 1918 flu and it is true today.
Today US President Don Trump has kept calling covid-19 a China virus and blames it on the carelessness of Chinese virus researchers in a Wuhan lab despite protests from the Communist China. Lack of transparency on the part of China, when first reports of deadly virus leak came to light in December, 2019, the arrest of a doctor who who blew the whistle on the leak of the deadly virus, tight-lipped Chinese media, evasive explanation from the Chinese government and most importantly China's refusal to allow US journalists to gather information on the virus leak etc. ,- all these angered the western countries that are presently very much affected by the virus. The world is in a crisis with one in 3 is in self-imposed isolation. In India, the toll is gradually going up and the governments - both Central and State are taking precautions carefully to handle the possible 3rd stage transmission. Already the toll in the USA had gone past 1000 as on March 26. Had the Chinese made the warning before hand in the earliest stages, the countries world over would have taken proper precaution before it was turning into a pandemic.
The viruses that cause the Spanish flu and Covid-19 belong to two different families. Sars-CoV-2 (which causes Covid-19), belong to the coronavirus family. The Spanish Flu spreads through a population at a rapid clip, but corona has a tendency to infect in clusters. According to Laura Spinney in a recent article in The Guardian that corona virus outbreaks can be controlled as we did with SARS (2002 in China) and and MERES provided we take proper precaution before hand. She is of the view that 1918 scenario was different from the present one; it was war time and the main theater was Europe. Yet another underlying fact is 100 years ago, religious heads were powerful and had a tremendous political clout with the powers that be. So people could not go against them. In the Spanish city of Zamora a large no of people died in 1918 - perhaps, highest in Europe., part of the reason was the local bishop never obeyed the health authorities and arranged for evening prayers in honor of St. Rocco on nine consecutive days, providing a suitable site for the Spanish flu to show its demonic impact on the religious gathering. No doubt, “religion, nevertheless, had played a part” in the pandemic.
In the recent covid-19 case, more or less similar scenario prevailed in South Korea where cluster of virus seemed to have spread via churches, particularly through prayer masses. In the case of Iran, that was hard hit by coronavirus, pilgrims defiantly licked the Fatimah Masumeh shrine in Qom.
|Spanish virus, 1918. en.wikipedia.org/|
|Spanish virus, 1918. edition.cnn.com|
We have no idea when the world will face another flu on a scale like this and it is the responsibility of the health care dept of a country to prepare its people to face an emergency situation with confidence by way of knowing what not to do, what needs to be .