Are We Prepared for a Flu Pandemic?
In 1918, the Spanish flu pandemic killed 100 million people. One hundred years later, are we prepared?
One hundred years ago, the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 caused nearly 100 million deaths, killing 5 percent of the world’s population at the time. People wore face masks in cities across America. Bodies were stacked on top of each other in morgues and hospitals.
“If the epidemic continues its mathematical rate of acceleration, civilization could easily disappear from the face of the earth within a few weeks,” Victor Vaughan, the dean of the Michigan Medical School, said at the time.
That didn’t happen. The Spanish flu eventually slowed thanks to non-pharmaceutical interventions, such as quarantining those who were infected, encouraging more hygienic practices, the use of face masks to cover coughs and more.