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Pandemics Through History: Similarities Between the Spanish Flu and COVID-19

written by CPOHealth - Feb 15, 2021
medically reviewed by Dr. Christine Bishara, MD - Sep 7, 2021

Though it feels as if 2020 was a year unlike any other, in reality, the world has faced a handful of major pandemics over the past century.

One of the worst pandemics to hit humanity in semi-recent history was the 1918 influenza pandemic, also known as the Spanish flu. Not everyone agrees on where and how the virus originated (except that it’s of avian origin), but it spread worldwide during the years of 1918 and 1919. Mitigation efforts are surprisingly similar for both, and yet the virus spread to the entire globe in both cases, infecting and killing millions.

How are the Spanish flu and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic similar? What can we learn from humanity’s experience with a worldwide viral pandemic almost exactly 100 years ago?

While it may seem like we now live in an entirely different world, thanks to our modern technology and major advances in medicine, the two pandemics actually have a lot in common and there is much we can observe about our current situation by looking back at the Spanish flu of 1918 and 1919.

In this infographic, we’ll take a look at the similarities and differences between the Spanish flu and COVID-19. One of the best ways to cope with the present is to look to—and learn from—history. While so much has changed in the last 100 years, there is a lot that has remained unchanged. Learn more below.


Similarities Between the Spanish Flu and COVID-19 - Infographic


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