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COVID-19 and the 1918-19 ‘Spanish Flu’: differences give us a measure of hope

Dr Michael Bresalier, lecturer in the History of Medicine at Swansea University, has published a historical perspective that highlights important differences between COVID-19 and the 1918-19 influenza pandemic.

Writing in History and Policy he shows that the backdrop of war to the pandemic, as well as the lack of global governance and the state of clinical knowledge, formed very different circumstances to those of today.

“As a historian of influenza, I see much value in looking to 1918 for lessons,” he said. “But I am also wary about what we want it to teach us and how it is used.

“In the rush to find parallels, important differences between the two pandemics get quickly obscured. We lose sight of how much has changed between then and now.

“It is worth taking stock of a few critical differences between the 1918 influenza and COVID-19 and what these can teach us.”

Read the full article.

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