Covid-19 now killed as many Americans as the 1918-19 Spanish flu epidemic — approximately 675,000. Like the global catastrophe of a century ago, the corona virus will not completely disappear from our midst.
Instead, scientists believe the virus that causes COVID-19 will become a mild seasonal bug because the human immune system is strengthened by vaccination and repeated infections. That will take time.
“We hope it looks like a cold, but there is no guarantee,” said Emory University biologist Rustam Andia, suggesting a hopeful situation that could happen in a few years.
For now, the epidemic is firmly entrenched in the United States and other parts of the world.
The delta fuel increase of new epidemics may have peaked, but U.S. deaths are still averaging more than 1,900 a day, the highest level since the beginning of March, with the country’s total number close to 674,000 as of Monday morning, the data collected by Johns Hopkins University is believed to be higher than the actual number.
According to an influential model, winter may bring a new upsurge, although it will be less deadly than last year. The Washington University model shows that an additional 100,000 or more Americans will die of COVID-19 by January 1, bringing the total U.S. population to 776,000.
The 1918-19 influenza pandemic killed 675,000 Americans per capita. It brought down 50 million victims worldwide by the time a quarter of the world’s population was as it is now. Worldwide deaths from COVID-19 are now over 4.6 million.
Spanish flu death toll numbers are approximate guesses, incomplete records of the era and a lack of scientific understanding of what causes the disease. The 675,000 count Comes from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
If the virus gradually weakens as it changes and more and more human immune systems learn to attack it, Covit-19 can be destroyed. Vaccination and survival infection are important ways to improve the immune system. Breastfed babies also get some immunity from their mother.
In that optimistic situation, school students will get a mild illness that trains their immune system. As they grow, children carry the immune response memory, so as they age and become infected, the corona virus is no more dangerous than the cold virus.
The same goes for today’s vaccine teens: their immune system is strengthened by shots and mild infections.
“We will all suffer,” Andrea predicted. “It’s important that infections are serious.”
A similar thing happened with the H1N1 flu virus, the culprit of the 1918-19 epidemic. It met many people with immunity, and it was weakened by mutation. H1N1 is still prevalent today, but human immunity derived from infection and vaccination has been successful.
Getting the annual flu vaccine now protects against H1N1 and many other flu. Of course, the flu kills 12,000 to 61,000 Americans each year, but on average, it is a seasonal problem and something manageable.
Prior to COVID-19, 1918-19 was considered the worst pandemic in human history. It is not clear whether the current atrocity ultimately proves to be deadly.
In many ways, the 1918-19 flu was mistaken for the Spanish flu because it first received widespread news coverage in Spain — the worst.
Spread by the onslaught of World War I, it killed large numbers of young, healthy adults. There is no vaccine to reduce it and no antibiotics to treat secondary bacterial infections. And, of course, the world’s population was much smaller than it is today.
Yet jet travel and mass migration threaten to increase the number of current epidemics. Most of the world is not vaccinated. And the corona virus is full of surprises.
Dr. Howard Markle, a medical historian at the University of Michigan, said the scale of the disruption that plagued the planet continues to amaze itself.
“I was disappointed by the isolated doses,” the Chinese government initially said, adding that “since then I have graduated. The lagging speed of the US vaccine is the latest proof of his surprise.”
“The big pockets of American society – and, worse, their leaders – have thrown this away,” Merkel said of the opportunity to vaccinate everyone who deserves it now.
Less than 64% of the U.S. population has received a single dose of the vaccine, with state rates ranging from a maximum of 77% in Vermont and Massachusetts to 46% to 49% in Idaho, Wyoming, West Virginia and Mississippi. .
Worldwide, approx 43% of the population According to our World in Data, at least one dose has been received and some African countries have started giving their first shots.
“We know all infections will end,” said Dr. Jeremy Brown, director of emergency research at the National Institutes of Health, who wrote a book on influenza. “They can do terrible things when they get angry.”
If more people had been vaccinated faster, Covit-19 would have been less dangerous in the United States, “and we still have a chance to reverse it,” Brown said. “We often lose sight of how lucky we are to take these things for granted.”
Current vaccines are by far the most effective in preventing acute illness and death from the virus variants that have appeared so far.
It is important for scientists to make sure that the virus does not change forever enough to avoid vaccines or cause serious illness in unvaccinated children, Andy said. Such changes would require an adjustment in defense strategies and would mark a long way to the post-epidemic world.
If the virus changes significantly, a new vaccine could be made in 110 days using the technology behind the Pfizer and Modern shots, Pfizer executives said Wednesday. The company is researching whether annual shots are needed with the current vaccine to keep the immune system high.
One Plus: Corona virus changes more slowly than flu viruses, making it a more consistent target for vaccination, said Ann Marie Kimball, a retired professor of epidemiology in Washington.
So, will the current epidemic make the 1918-19 flu epidemic the worst in human history?
“You want to say no. We have more infection control, more capacity to support the sick. We have modern medicine,” Kimball said. “But we have more people and more movement. … Fear eventually turns a new strain around a specific vaccine target. “
For people who have not been vaccinated who think the infection is better than the immunizations, Kimball said, “The problem is, you have to escape the infection to get immunity.” She said it was easy to go to the drugstore and shoot.
Tom Murphy, an AP health writer in Indianapolis, contributed to the report.
The Associated Press Department of Health and Science receives support from the Department of Scientific Education at Howard Hughes Medical Institute. AP is solely responsible for all content.
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