Scientists and the people are now looking back into the influenza pandemic that occurred last century to figure out the possible outcomes of the COVID-19. We are specifically more worried about the second wave of the COVID-19, which might happen in the future, as it had occurred for Spanish Flu that was responsible most number of deaths globally. There are many similarities between influenza and the coronavirus, but they diverge at some specific point.
One similarity is that both viruses are spread through respiratory droplets by coughing and sneezing. Their clinical manifestation includes fever, coughing, night sweats, diarrhea. Neither of them can be treated by the antibiotics. Though both are RNA viruses, their genetic composition varies. However, the main difference is that in the fatality of age distribution in such a way that COVID-19 hits worse for the old compared to the young. While in Spanish Flu, it invariably infects the young and the working-age people. To be more exact, it caused more than 50% of deaths to people aged between 25 and 34-years-old in the US.
Although the world came across many pandemics over the last 100 years, the Spanish Flu outbreak was one of the devastating tales of history. It was caused by an avian species of the H1N1 virus. Initially, the virus was reported in the U.S. among military personnel in the spring of 1918. The name emerged as it was thought earlier at the time to have started in Spain. It affected almost 500 million people, which is one-third of the population. More than 50 million people died of the disease, with 675,000 in the US, CDC reports
This virus was disseminated throughout the world by the troops moving through Europe during the First World War. The second wave of Spanish Flu caused more death than the first. Mortality was significantly higher in young people for less than five years. Also, it causes the death of healthy people in the middle age that is found to be unusual in the case of COVID-19. At those times, there were no vaccines or medicines to cure the disease, and they too followed non-pharmaceutical interventions such as social distancing, etc.
The causative agent being SARS-CoV-2 has been causing more death globally. It has infected nearly 11.8 million in the world and almost 3 million people in the US. However, the virus in some countries is likely reducing and it brings some kind of hope to the people. The current estimated rate of infection is between 2.5 to 3.5 people for everyone who has had the virus.
The mortality is hardest in older adults when compared to young. It provokes blood clot formation, which turned out to be deadly in adults. It is also currently unknown that the virus will be influenced by seasons like influenza. As in the case of the second wave of Spanish flu, a future mutated strain of SARS-CoV-2 might cause the worst outcome of the disease in the world, researchers fear.
We have wondered how the influenza pandemic caused the death of a healthy individual. The researchers attribute this to the cytokine storm as it triggers the immune system to cause more damage to the host cell resulting in the inflammation of various parts of the body.
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Source: Market Watch