10:20 AM

The 1918 Pandemic


What can we learn from the Spanish flu of 1918? Studying a historic pandemic can help us see what worked last time the world faced something similar. 

The 1918 pandemic began in the spring of 1918 and lasted through the summer of 1919, roughly 18 months total. In that time, there were three major waves of the pandemic. The first wave happened in the spring of 1918 when the virus was introduced. The second and most severe wave occurred in the fall of 1918. The third and final wave lasted through the winter and spring months of 1919.

Scientists anticipate similar waves throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The first cases of COVID-19 were reported in December 2019, with the first wave of the pandemic hitting in the winter and spring months of 2020.

The Spanish flu affected children and young adults more than any other age demographic. In contrast, COVID-19 typically affects children and young adults less than other demographics. Instead, it has hit the elderly and those with weakened immune systems particularly hard.