- As of Monday, 673,768 people have died from COVID-19 in the US, roughly the same number that died from the Spanish flu during the 1918 pandemic.
- However, the death rate was much higher in 1918 as the total US population was around 105 million compared to 330 million in 2021.
- This means 642 Spanish flu deaths per 100,000 people, compared to 204 Covid deaths per 100,000 Americans.
- Additionally, half the black population was unaccounted for when calculating the 1918 mortality figures, suggesting that black deaths were undercounted.
- Scientists say it is ‘disturbing’ to see so many Americans die in an era where modern medicines, such as ventilators, are available compared to 1918.
The death toll from COVID-19 is on the verge of surpassing the number of Americans killed during the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918.
As of Monday morning, a total of 673,768 people in the US have died of Covid-related causes, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
That’s nearly 1,000 fewer than the estimated 675,000 deaths caused by the Spanish flu more than a century ago.
However, experts say that there are many differences between the two epidemics that are not accounted for.
This includes the fact that the death rate was high during the 1918 pandemic and that black Americans who died of the Spanish flu were severely underestimated.
A total of 673,768 people have died from COVID-19 in the US, which is close to the 675,000 Americans who died from the Spanish flu during the 1918 pandemic.
However, the death rate in 1918 was much higher because the overall US population was small, with 204 Covid deaths per 100,000 Americans compared to 642 Spanish flu deaths per 100,000 people. Pictured: A nurse takes the pulse of a patient in the influenza ward of Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, DC, November 1918
The 1918 flu pandemic, colloquially known as the Spanish flu, lasted between January 1918 and December 1920.
Although historians are not exactly sure where it originated geographically, it is known that the pandemic was caused by an H1N1 virus that spread from birds to humans.
It infected 500 million worldwide and caused 50 to 100 million deaths – between three and five percent of the world’s population.
In the US alone, about 28 percent of the general population became infected, with approximately 675,000 deaths.
However, there are clear differences between the 1918 pandemic and the current COVID-19 pandemic.
At the time the Spanish flu was spreading, the total population of the US was about 105 million compared to 330 million in 2021.
This means that during the 1918 pandemic there were 642 deaths per 100,000 people.
By comparison, deaths due to COVID-19 occur at a rate of about 204 deaths per 100,000 Americans.
If Covid deaths were occurring at the same rate as Spanish flu deaths, the death toll would exceed two million.
What’s more, the death toll from the Spanish flu pandemic is thought to be low because it was not representative of the US population.
In 1918–19 only 31 states were investigated, most of which are in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Upper Mid-West and West, Dr. e. Thomas Ewing, professor in the Department of History at Virginia Tech, writes in health matters.
This means that many deaths in the Southeast, Great Plains and Southwest were not being counted.
About half the black population was unaccounted for when the mortality figures were calculated in 1918, suggesting that deaths from the black Spanish flu had been underestimated. Image: Nurses care for victims of the Spanish flu pandemic outside in Lawrence, Massachusetts, 1918
Additionally, Ewing noted that the states that were counted did not include large numbers of black people.
African-Americans made up about 10 percent of the US population – 10.5 million – but only six percent of the population counted in the registration states, meaning about four million were excluded.
Despite the fact that black people have historically had higher influenza morbidity and mortality rates, this was not the case during the Spanish flu pandemic.
Researchers Helen Auckland and Sven-Erik Mamelund wrote in one, ‘the only year in the 20th century when black people in the United States had a lower influenza mortality rate than white people,’ 2019 Articles.
They say 1919 was the year after the return to a more “normal” pattern of black than white mortality.
This indicates that black deaths were less likely to be caused by the Spanish flu, meaning the death rate was likely higher – thus creating a large gap between the 1918 flu death rate and the COVID-19 mortality rate.
Scientists say it is ‘troubling’ to see so many Americans die in an era where modern medicines, such as ventilators, are less available than in 1918. Pictured: A coffin is carried on a chariot from the Andrew Cleckley Funeral Home in Brooklyn, New York, April 2020
Although deaths were highest at the start of the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, the number of fatalities did not reach record-highs until the 2020-21 winter surge of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ewing said, “The fact that deaths increased in late 2020, nine months after the pandemic reached the United States, with the highest daily death toll in early January 2021, is perhaps the highest compared to the historical record.” It’s discouraging.” Washington Post.
‘We ignored the lessons of 1918, and then we disregarded the warnings issued in the first months of this pandemic.
‘We will never know how many lives could have been saved if we had taken this menace more seriously.’
Dr. Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Translational Research Institute in La Jolla, California, told bloomberg That it is ‘disturbing’ to see that so many more Americans died in an era where ventilators or vaccines are available than in 1918.
“It is sad to have so many people dying from modern medicine,” he said.
‘The number we are on represents a number that is worse than it should be in America’