Based on a live case count from the New York Times, there are an estimated over 6.6 million COVID-19 cases in the US alone. This number has Americans questioning how a virus so tragic could ever have impacted so many people. There is, however, a period of time documented in the history books where an outburst similar to the pandemic today occurred: the Spanish Flu.
In 1918, people between the ages of 20-40 were targeted by this virus. Similarly to today, scientists had not created a vaccine or an antibiotic to build up an immune system that could fight the virus, and especially considering the technological resources were limited, it was no surprise that complete panic broke out in the US.
Having similar properties to the 2020 Coronavirus, precautions existed for the Spanish Flu, shown in photos from 1918-1919. Soldiers and lieutenants can be seen wearing protective face masks, as well as sanitary gloves to stop the spreading of germs. Despite these measures, over half a billion of the population of the world fell to the hands of the Spanish Flu, and about 360,000 Americans died, according to the CDC.
The influenza was considered the deadliest pandemic in documented history; that is, until COVID-19, allegedly spawned from a fish market in Wuhan, China.
Although the worldwide numbers seem to differ tremendously compared to today’s, the major difference between the two viruses is that COVID-19 is not only mutating, but it is mutating fast. So fast, that scientists are having trouble keeping up with the trends of the virus in order to create a usable vaccine. Almost 100 years have passed since the Spanish Influenza, but today, Americans and other people of the world are reliving the detrimental impact of a pandemic mirroring the century before.