KARACHI: Contrary to popular belief, the Spanish flu, that infected roughly 500 million people (one third of the world’s population) and took nearly 100 million lives, did not originate in Spain.
The virus that spread during World War I affected every country in the world, but Spain was the first country to report deaths from it which led people to believe that the virus originated there. According to BBC, Spain’s newspapers weren’t restricted because of wartime censorship as it was a neutral country. In other countries, news of the virus was downplayed as to not damage moral.
Times have changed since the last pandemic but there are lessons to be learnt from it as we battle Covid-19 and nearly 7 million people worldwide have been infected. For starters, everyone back then wore a mask.
Women wore cloth masks to protect themselves against influenza
Influenza victims crowd into an emergency hospital
Graves of U.S. soldiers who died of influenza in England
A Daily Mirror cartoon makes fun of the instructions given to people back then
Recovering soldiers watch a motion picture show wearing flu masks in France