Tuesday 26 May 2020

Day 71 of self-isolation - a look at history

A look at history

Spanish flu, 1918

100 years ago, there was a major pandemic caused by the H1N1 influenza A virus. It was
called "Spanish flu" because the newspapers at the time (1918) weren't allowed to
report on it. But the Spanish newspapers (Spain was neutral) could and did.
The first known case was reported at Camp Funston in Fort Riley, Kansas,
on March 11, 1918.

It originated, as far as we can tell, in Kansas. Numbers are imprecise, but
it's estimated that it infected about a third of the world's poplation, and
killed between 20 million and 50 million, including 675,000 Americans.

For comparison, WW1 military and civilian deaths 15 to 22 million, of which
117,465 were American.

The first wave was in spring 1918, was mild, and there weren't many deaths. But
in autumn 1918 things got really bad. Victims died within hours or days. Your
skin turned blue, your lungs filled with fluid and you suffocated. Young or old,
people with or withut conditions - H1N1 killed them all.

There was no treatment. There were no vaccines, no antivirals. No drugs,
nothing. But there was aspirin. And patients were advised to take up to 30 grams
pe day. Which we now know is toxic; 4 grams it to top limit.

Busnesses shut down, crops couldn't be harvested. And that wasn't because the
government ordered that - it was because so many people were ill - or dead.

At first, the US government and the media pretended that it was just like "normal
flu". So, September 28, Philadelphia had a big parade attended by tens of
thousands of people. Ten days later, 1000 Philadelphians were dead. By March,
that was 15,000.

There is no vaccine.

Asian flu, 1957

This was H2N2, and caused 1-4 million deaths worldwide and 70,000 to 116,000 in the USA.
A vaccine is available.

Hong Kong flu, 1968

This was H3N2. One million killed worldwide, 100,000 in the USA.
It still exists, as seasonal flu.
A vaccine is available.

SARS, 2002

Sars (SARS-CoV-1) spread is 2002-2004. Also called "Severe acute respiratory syndrome".
There were 8098 cases worldwise, and 774 deaths. A vaccine is available.

Swine Flu, 2009

Swine flu A(H1N1)pdm09 appeared in January 2009 That was a true pandemic, with 700 million to 1400
million cases, and hundreds of thousands of deaths (estimated 284,000,
range 151,700 - 575,400). Deaths in the USA were 12,469

A vaccine was available in November 2009

MERS, 2012

MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome), now called MERS-CoV, was first seen in Saudi
Arabia. There were 2519 cases, and 866 deaths. There is no vaccine.

Ebola, 2014

28652 infected world wide, 11325 died. 2 people became infected in the USA, 7 cases were evacuated to the USA.
2 deaths.

Covid-19, 2019

As of May 24, 2020, the pandemic is still sweeping around the world. So far, we've seen
5.5 million cases (but those are tested cases, the real number is several times as high.
Deaths so far as 350,000l There is no vaccine.

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