Let Us Not Forget We are Living Through History In the Making and The Generations That Come After Will Never Forget Us

Corona VirusWe are living through history in the making and the generations that come after will never forget us.  We are not only passively living through the time of COVID-19, each of us is affecting the trajectory of this coronavirus.

During this self-induced media overload, I learned that our seasonal flu, for which we get a vaccine annually, is the descendent of the 1918 virus that caused the Spanish Flu pandemic. The Spanish Flu took on new meaning.  I went to the website for the CDC (Center of Disease Control for those of you who don’t accept or cannot bear to accept that there is a coronavirus pandemic raging) to find out more.

I appreciate the work the CDC does even more when I saw their comprehensive site on the Spanish Flu epidemic.  I guess the CDC is going to have to change their first sentence under this heading:

“The 1918 influenza pandemic was the most severe pandemic in recent history.”  Are we still within “recent history?” It would seem so if 112 years ago is considered “recent history.”

A few weeks ago, Dr. Anthony Fauci said, “[i]f you look at the magnitude of the 1918 pandemic where anywhere from 50 to 75 to 100 million people globally died,”. . . .“that was the mother of all pandemics and truly historic. I hope we don’t even approach that with [COVID-19] but it does have the makings of, the possibility of approaching that in seriousness.” According to Dr. Fauci, the devastation from the coronavirus pandemic could rival that of the Spanish Flu.

Those living today during this COVID-19 pandemic may quickly witness the coronavirus overtaking the 1918 virus as the most severe pandemic in recent history, an H1N1 virus.

About one third of the world’s population got this 1918 virus, about 50 MILLION people died, about 675,000 in the United States.

I admit I had no idea what an H1N1 virus was when I read that this H1N1 virus was the origin of the Spanish Flu. The H1N1 virus is also the Swine Flu we lived with 2009, which started from pigs, hence we get its name.

Chronologically, the 1918 virus spawned an H2N2 virus pandemic in 1957-8, There were about 1.1 million deaths globally, with about 116,000 in the U.S. in 1957-1958 pandemic.  From that original Spanish Flu evolved an H3N2 virus pandemic in 1968, resulting in roughly 100,000 deaths in the U.S. and 1 million worldwide.  In 2009, the year of the swine flu, a vaccine was finally developed, which in 2010 resulted in annual vaccinations. Every generation since 1918 has dealt with the virus in some form.

THE VIRUS THAT WAS THE SOURCE OF THE SPANISH FLU EPIDEMIC IS STILL HERE AFTER 112 YEARS.

The CDC website sets forth that the seasonal flu vaccine we take each year is not 100% effective.  In 2019-2020 flu season, the vaccine was overall 45% effective, an average of the effectiveness of 50% for the influenza B/Victoria viruses and 37% effective against an H1N1 virus.

THE VIRUS THAT IS THE SOURCE OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC IS LIKELY TO BE STILL HERE FOREVER MORE.

Now, 6 months into COVID-19, we know we are going to have a vaccine for this coronavirus, COVID-19, being developed more quickly than any previous vaccine in history, with scientists around the world focused on its development.  I understand, to get FDA approval, it must be 50% effective.  After looking at last year’s flu season vaccine effectiveness, that does not sound so bad anymore.  We might now have to add the coronavirus vaccination to our influenza combo vaccination, or take it more often than once a year, with boosters.

We are hearing about a woman, who has appeared on several news programs, who survived bouts of both the Spanish Flu and COVID-19. “More than 100 years after living through the 1918 influenza pandemic, the 101-year-old woman just beat coronavirus.”

We are hearing that 1918 virus spawned FOUR pandemics and still causes distress and deaths annually, even with a vaccine.  We are told that the coronavirus COVID-19 is likely to be around 100 years from now.  It occurred to me that future generations 100 years from now will be talking about us who are living through this pandemic, as we are talking about those who lived during the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic.

They will talk about how we did not protect ourselves with masks because in 2020 not wearing a mask or wearing a mask was a political statement.  “Can Masks Save Us From More Lockdowns? Here’s What The Science Says,” by Nurith Aizenman, NPR July 23, 2020.

They will talk about the fast-tracked development of COVID-19 vaccines, that evolved over time as well, and the attempts to control this coronavirus and its descendants through this coming century.  “When Can We Expect A Coronavirus Vaccine?” Joe Palca, NPR, May 12, 2020.

They will either say we, their ancestors, lived through COVID-19 or they will say we died from COVID-19.  They will know the long-term consequences of survival from this coronavirus, the conditions that affected our lives and cut our lives short, such as lung disease, heart disease or stroke.  We are familiar with those diseases that already cut our lives short and those of us grandparents, and those of us already with existing conditions, have a greater chance of not surviving.

In 1918, the worldwide population was 1.8 billion people.

In 2020, March of this year, the worldwide population was 7.8 billion people.

IT IS LIKELY THAT THE NUMBERS WORLDWIDE AFFECTED AND KILLED BY COVID-19 WILL BE GREATER THAN IN 1918 AS THE POPULATION WORLDWIDE AND IN THE UNITED STATES IS GREATER.

COVID-19 is rampant and multiplying more and more quickly. According to CNN, “[t]here have been at least 4,005,414 cases of coronavirus in the United States since the start of the pandemic, and at least 143,820 people have died across the country, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.  Johns Hopkins University recorded the first case of coronavirus in the United States on January 21.”

CNN reports:

“It took the country 99 days to reach 1 million cases on April 28.”

“It then took 43 more days to reach 2 million cases on June 10.”

“It took another 28 days to surpass 3 million cases on July 8.”

“It has taken the United States only 15 additional days to surpass 4 million cases.”

“The US is the global leader in Covid-19 cases, followed by Brazil, India, Russia and South Africa”

Will the cases double again in just 7 days, and 4 days after that, and 2 days after that?  Dr. Fauci is concerned we will see COVID-19 double every 2 days.

It took over 200,000 years of human history for the world’s population to reach 1 billion, and only 200 years more to reach 7 billion.  Like the worldwide population explosion in about 100 years, we are told that coronaviruses are going to be coming in greater number and greater frequency, exploding in number from now on.

If one third of our 2020 population is affected by COVID-19, that is over 2.5 billion people, five times the number of people affected in 1918.

We need to contain this pandemic sooner rather than later before we overtake the 1918 Spanish Flu numbers and more than 250 MILLION PEOPLE POTENTIALLY DIE WORLDWIDE, and nearly 4 MILLION AMERICANS POTENTIALLY DIE from COVID-19.  Yes, these are five times the numbers corresponding to five times the population today.

These numbers are staggering, and I, for one, would not wish this pandemic on my worst enemy.

If we have to live through this horrible pandemic, we have ample reason to come together to mitigate, if we cannot conquer, COVID-19. Otherwise our children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren will suffer what we are suffering now even more frequently and with more devastation than now.

We are living through history in the making and the generations that come after will never forget us.  We are not only passively living through the time of COVID-19, each of us is affecting the trajectory of this coronavirus.

We Americans need to unite in this COVID-19 WORLD WAR and do what Americans do, rise to the occasion and do what is necessary not only to survive as a nation, but thrive.

As PopPop and I are high risk, I do not wish that the generations that come after us talk about our deaths from COVID-19 in that number.

 

With great anxiety and dismay,

 

Mema

 

 

 

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