The Y 2020 C-19 coronavirus and Y 1918 Spanish flu pandemics share many similarities, but they diverge on 1 Key point.
“A major difference between Spanish flu and COVID-19 is the age distribution of fatalities,” according to Deutsche Bank. “For COVID-19, the elderly have been overwhelmingly the worst hit. For the Spanish flu of 1918, the young working-age population were severely affected too. In fact, the death rate from pneumonia and influenza that year among 25-34-year-olds in the United States was more than 50% higher than that for 65-74-year-olds. A remarkable difference to Covid-19.”
Francis Yared, the global head of rates research at Deutsche Bank, said the overall mortality rate measured by weekly new deaths and weekly new cases is around 33% of the level observed in 2-H of April.
“So we have an interesting situation at the moment, where rapidly rising cases in the US are slowing reopenings (negative) but the death rate is falling (positive). This may eventually give us more faith that we are now better at living with the virus,” the bank analysts said.
There was not such a big trade-off between economic activity and public health during the 1918 Spanish Flu, because you needed to suppress the virus to enable consumers to be more confident and for businesses to operate as normal.
During the Y 1918 flu, cities that implemented non-pharmaceutical interventions such as social distancing and school closures tended to have better economic outcomes over the medium term, Deutsche Bank said. “This offered historical support to the argument that there wasn’t such a big trade-off between economic activity and public health, because you needed to suppress the virus to enable consumers to be more confident and for businesses to operate as normal.”
Some 500-M people, or 33% of the world’s population, became infected with the 1918 Spanish Flu. An estimated 50-M people died worldwide, with about 675,000 deaths occurring in the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “It was caused by an H1N1 virus with genes of avian origin,” the agency said.
During the 1918 flu pandemic, “mortality was high in people younger than 5 years old, 20-40 years old, and 65 years and older. The high mortality in healthy people, including those in the 20-40 year age group, was a unique feature of this pandemic,” the CDC said. “With no vaccine to protect against influenza infection and no antibiotics to treat secondary bacterial infections that can be associated with influenza infections, control efforts worldwide were limited to non-pharmaceutical interventions.”
C-19, the disease caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2, had infected 12.5-M people globally and about 3.2-M in the U.S. as of Saturday, according to official figures collated by Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering.
The disease claimed at least 561,244 lives worldwide and 134,290 (if the numbers are to be trusted) in the US Confirmed C-19 coronavirus cases have recently risen in nearly 40 US states due to the massive testing, the vast majority of the people are asymptomatic.
There are also some similarities between influenza and COVID-19, including their nearly identical symptoms: fever, coughing, night sweats, body aches, tiredness, and nausea and diarrhea in the most severe cases.
Like all viruses, neither is treatable with antibiotics.
They can both be spread through respiratory droplets from coughing and sneezing, but they come from 2 different virus families, and ongoing research to develop a universal vaccine for influenza shows how tricky both influenza viruses and coronaviruses can be.
Have a healthy weekend, Keep the Faith!
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