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What we can learn from 1918 s deadly second wave

What we can learn from 1918 s deadly second wave
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The St. Louis Red Cross Motor Corps was on duty with mask-wearing women holding stretchers at the backs of ambulances during the influenza epidemic in Missouri in October 1918. (U.S. Library of Congress)

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In the deadly fall wave of the 1918 flu pandemic, millions of people were doomed because they didn t know what we know now about how viruses and respiratory illnesses spread.

We might face a similar fate if some people continue to ignore what a century of scientific progress and hindsight have taught us about ending pandemics.

The 1918 pandemic transpired in three waves, from the spring of 1918 to the winter of 1919 — ultimately killing 50 million to 100 million people globally. The first wave in the spring of 1918 was relatively mild. A majority of 1918 flu deaths occurred in the fall of 1918 — the second, and worst, wave of the 1918 flu.

COVID-19 hasn t "claimed as many lives yet as did influenza. Basically, around 675,000 people died in the US by the end of the 1918 pandemic," said Dr. Jeremy Brown, an emergency care physician and author of "." "That would, today, be around 3 million people in the US. The good news is that we haven t seen those numbers — of course, the numbers are really quite appalling.
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