Pandemics interrupt the economic and social livelihood of people on a global scale. To contain the spread of the disease, populations must alter normal daily activities and take preventive measures. Humanity has experienced such contagious illnesses with devastating effects on the human race in more than one instance. The great influenza pandemic, commonly known as the Spanish flu, began in 1918, spreading worldwide and killing millions. As the current COVID-19 outbreak continues with its devastating effects, comparisons of the pandemic nature, prevention measures, and sociological impact on the Spanish flu will offer credible lessons.
COVID 19 and the Influenza have flu-like clinical presentations in the affected patients. Although the coronavirus’s full effects are still the subject of studies, it spreads more quickly and causes more severe illnesses in some patients compared to the Spanish flu. The common symptoms of the COVID-19 are fever, cough, fatigue, high fever, pneumonia, coma, breathlessness, and sore throat (Singhal 281). The influenza flu shares most of the COVID-19 symptoms but has unique presentations such as encephalitis and blood traces in the urine (Martini et al. E64). The symptoms of both illnesses can lead to death in some patients. Influenza and COVID-19 are contagious diseases that affected most parts of the world.
Both diseases are respiratory illnesses that spread through contact, fomites, and droplets. The viruses spread when an infected individual coughs and releases droplets into the air. Anyone who inhales the infection acquires the virus and might exhibit symptoms. If the infected droplets fall on a surface and the second person touches it, they will get infected after touching the nose or mouth with the hands. The objects that can be contaminated with any of the two viruses include tables, chairs, clothes, or mobile objects (Martini et al. E64-E65) (He et al. 719-720). Furthermore, an infected hand can transmit the disease by contacting others through a handshake. To contain the conditions, public health administrations initiated several measures for the public to observe.
The same health measure the public observed during the flu epidemic of 1918 was initiated during the Coronavirus outbreak. Like COVID 19 episode, proper respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene was the main intervention initiatives during the Spanish flu epidemic. Most countries have declared face surgical masks to be mandatory in the current COVID 19 outbreak (Zu et al. E16). The covers prevent the spread of droplets into the air or onto surfaces if an infected individual coughs. The public was sensitized to wash hands or use hand sanitizers frequently and eliminate social activities that encourage gatherings (Alfani et al. 1-5). People were encouraged to embrace staying at home and avoiding social interactions. Vaccinations were critical to stopping the devastating effects of the Spanish flu. Although in the initial level of production, the coronavirus vaccine will put a halt to the impacts of the COVID 19.
COVID 19 and the Influenza flu had similar symptoms, effects, and prevention measures as the flu of 1918. Both illnesses were contagious respiratory illnesses with almost identical symptoms that resulted in the death of some patients. There is a significant difference in time and technology during the flu and the Coronavirus outbreak periods; however, the measures were similar except for a few variations. Hand washing, wearing masks, and stopping social gatherings were critical to stopping the illnesses’ spread. Although vaccination against the coronavirus is still in its infancy stages, it contained the Spanish flu’s devastating effects.
Alfani, Guido, et al. “Epidemics and Trust: The Case of the Spanish Flu.” (2020): 1-40.
He, Feng, Yu Deng, and Weina Li. “Coronavirus disease 2019: What we know?.” Journal of medical virology, vol. 92, no. 7, 2020, pp. 719-725.
Martini, Mariano, et al. “The Spanish Influenza Pandemic: a lesson from history 100 years after 1918.” Journal of preventive medicine and hygiene, vol. 60, no. 1, 2019, pp. E64.
Singhal, Tanu. “A review of coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19).” The indian journal of pediatrics, vol. 87, no. 4, 2020, pp. 281-286.
Zu, Zi Yue, et al. “Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19): a perspective from China.” Radiology, vol. 296, no. 2, 2020, pp. E15-E25.