Lessons from Past Pandemics: Comparing the Black Death, Spanish Flu, and Covid-19

2023-12-05 21:51:00

The next University for All conference in Puy-en-Velay will be held this Thursday, December 7 at 2:45 p.m. at Ciné Dyke: “Black Death, diphtheria, Spanish flu,… versus Covid 19. Some lessons from the past. The example Lyonnais”, by Jean Freney, professor emeritus Claude Bernard Lyon I University.

When the Covid-19 pandemic gained momentum in 2020, there was a great temptation to compare it to the great scourges of the past, in particular the Spanish flu of 1918-1919 or even the Black Death of the Middle Ages.

There are, however, notable differences between these events: the Black Death alone would have killed half of the planet’s population (200 million dead/400 million inhabitants), the Spanish flu (50-100 million deaths/1.8 billion) and Covid (7 million deaths/7.9 billion). The affected populations are not the same. The spread was limited to Europe and Asia for the plague while the spread was worldwide for the Spanish flu and Covid. The main causes of mortality themselves are different. Finally, the therapies used were most often ineffective during the epidemics of the Black Death and Spanish Flu.

Conversely, it is remarkable to find among our ancestors from the pre-microbiological era the same collective protection measures (containment, controls and restrictions on movement, groupings, burials, decontamination of homes, surfaces, etc.) or individual (masks, clothing, application of products with anti-infectious properties, etc.) that we apply today in relation to the Covid pandemic.

The Dyke cinema room is open from 2:15 p.m. To attend the conference without being a subscriber, a contribution of 8 euros will be requested at the entrance.

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