Novel Pathogen – Spanish Flu of 1918

Just how many will die due to Covid-19?

Just how deadly is the novel Coronavirus?

Is it on the order of the Spanish Flu?

It is worth noting: In 1918 the world was plagued by another novel pathogen—the Spanish Flu.

One can argue whether the Spanish Flu was the first emergence of the flu, it really doesn’t matter. Even if the flu, as we know it today, had been in existence prior to 1918—it wasn’t the Spanish Flu.

The novel Spanish Flu was believed to have led to 675,000 deaths in America, and between 20 and 50 million worldwide, some have put the ultimate global death toll as high as 100 million.

As novel pathogens go, the Spanish Flu has seen no rivals in man’s recent history—and will certainly not be challenged by the novel Coronavirus.

So why, when discussing Covid-19, is there so little mention of the Spanish Flu?

It should be noted: the seasonal flu is not novel. It has been around for a century.

As a well established virus, overtime, global populations have acquired a level of resistance against the seasonal flu which has mitigated its deadly impact—that cannot be said for a novel pathogen.

It is the novel nature of Covid-19 that makes it a threat.

However, as far as threats go—Covid-19 has not proven to present a similar danger to global populations like the Spanish Flu.

The Spanish Flu was not highly targeted—it killed indiscriminately.

Covid-19 has been shown to be the opposite—with death tolls concentrated in unhealthy populations especially unhealthy elderly.

It is worth noting: the seasonal flu is also an indiscriminate killer.

The difference between the death tolls related to Covid-19 and the seasonal flu can be attributed to the novel nature of Covid-19.

The first time in a virgin population, and it shouldn’t surprise epidemiologists, the novel Coronavirus has run wild.

But what is being overlooked by the media, medical experts and politicians, unlike the seasonal flu or Spanish Flu; Covid-19 is a highly selective killer.

Even as a novel pathogen, the Coronavirus’ impact on the general public is not on par with the seasonal flu.

More important, Covid-19, unlike the seasonal flu, is not comprised of dozens and dozens of strains with endless numbers of mutations.

More important, the seasonal flu has shown an ability to mutate rapidly, limiting the efficacy of vaccines.

The novel Coronavirus has been limited to a few identified strains with limited mutations.

The value of this: once resistance has been established for Covid-19—the population will largely be inoculated from the novel Coronavirus going forward.

With or without a vaccine—after global populations have experienced Covid-19, the novel Coronavirus will no longer be novel.

The global population will have built-up, if not immunity—at least a level of resistance.

The first pass, however, will be painful.

Without any preexisting resistance to Covid-19, the only hope for those most at risk is not to catch the novel pathogen.

Still, it cannot be overstated the novel nature of Covid-19 represents a snap shot in time.

Its relative danger to global populations is in its novel nature.

A century ago the planet encountered another novel pathogen.

Covid-19 simply isn’t the Spanish Flu.

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