Britain’s traumatic Christmas during the 1918 flu pandemic

Britain's traumatic Christmas during the 1918 flu pandemic

Newspaper obituaries, which had been covered with the names of war dead, are now filled with information about those who died in the pandemic. “Most people are calm about this epidemic, but it seems to be five times more deadly than war. It is estimated that about 6 million people have died from flu and pneumonia in the past 12 weeks,” The newspaper said. Times then wrote.

Britain’s traumatic Christmas during the 1918 flu pandemic

This number is much lower than the reality. A few weeks later, The Times adjusted it to say 12 million people had died from the Spanish flu globally, but that was still too far from the exact figure. A reporter in Manchester for the Guardian said the pandemic “has exposed the inability of preventive medicine in the face of infectious diseases”.

British medical director Newsholme has been heavily criticized for not coordinating the response to the epidemic. The government was also called to set up an agency to improve the national epidemic prevention system. Mask-wearing then also became part of a public discussion about the medical and cultural changes needed to prepare for future outbreaks.

As the second wave subsides, there are some who are optimistic that the worst is over. It is hoped that the new flu vaccine will be widely distributed to the general public. However, vaccines have been shown to be only moderately effective against secondary infections such as pneumonia, without protecting people from influenza.

The flu came back right after the new year. This third wave of the epidemic is thought to have spread silently since the Christmas holiday. Although the severity has decreased, it is a stark reminder that epidemics are still waiting to strike humans at any given time.

In the end, Britons and people around the world had to learn to live with the flu. As with COVID-19, this means facing traumatic losses, admitting failures, and developing new prevention measures.

The 1918 influenza virus then circulated for decades to greater extent but still caused outbreaks and epidemics. Death and flu infections have become an accepted part of modern life.

Britain and the whole world in 2020 are in much better medical conditions than they were in 1918 to deal with a dangerous pandemic. But lessons from the flu pandemic that occurred more than 100 years ago show that even with the most advanced medicine and science, countries still have to learn to live with epidemics and find appropriate responses. . The challenge now is to learn to live with the epidemic, which is also something very few people were able to do in 1918.

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