The Covid-19 curve is flattening. It’s the Spring of 2020.
It was the Spring of 1918. The infections and death rates from the influenza virus of 1918 (The Spanish Flu) was flattening, then falling.
But do you know what happened next?
Though exact data is sketchy from back then, there was a SECOND WAVE of mutated virus which struck like a sledge hammer upon the world in the Fall of 1918. It killed far more people than the first wave. Lots, lots more.
Because of the lack of comprehensive medical records from 1918-20, there is not enough evidence to conclude with certainty an accurate number of deaths in any of the waves of the pandemic. However it is widely reported the second wave was devastating. The graph of three predominant waves of Spanish Flu shown above is from the CDC website (I just added the SECOND WAVE title).
Will SECOND WAVE of Covid-19 Be Like The Spanish Flu of 1918?
I have no idea.
“Well Ken, if you don’t have any idea, why are you posting this?”
Let me rephrase. I do have an idea but I don’t know for sure.
My thought is this… It is not uncommon for virus to mutate. Viruses are constantly copying themselves, so it’s rather frequent that some of those copies will have mistakes, or mutations. The ordinary influenza virus does this (which is apparently why it’s near impossible to get the annual vaccine right).
The Covid-19 virus already has many mutations. Some research reveals that it’s presently one strain with different versions (“L-type” and “S-type”) primarily comprising about a hundred mutations.
Who’s to say or know what it might morph into later on — and whether or not it might be more lethal come Fall (or not)… ? I suppose we’ll find out in a number of months.
What about the Second Wave of the 1918 Spanish Flu?
In the US, the second wave of flu emerged at Camp Devens, a United States Army training camp just outside of Boston, and at a naval facility in Boston. Between September and November, a second wave of flu peaked in the United States. This second wave was highly fatal, and responsible for most of the deaths attributed to the pandemic.
World War 1 troop movements were a big contributing factor during that time. Just imagine the spread while in tight quarters such as this ship with troops from WW1 pictured below:
So is it fair to draw parallels of the second wave of Spanish Flu with what might happen to Covid-19 during the Fall of 2020?
Well things were different back then. Quite different. Especially when comparing today’s medical research, knowledge, technology, and know-how. This virus is not the influenza of 1918. But it is it’s own beast.
The graph of the waves of Spanish Flu as pictured up top reveals a very big factor (multiple) for the second wave. Five times worse?
Covid-19 Second Wave?
Is it very smart to assume that this Covid-19 will not re-emerge this Fall any worse than it has been? Or to presume that we’ve got it under control right now as the curve is flattening?
Thankfully this virus did not pan out according to original (terrifying) models suggesting millions dead this year. We are up to nearly 90,000 deaths here in the US at this moment which is about twice the amount we may typically get from the “flu” virus each year. (There’s 312,000 deaths worldwide so far).
The Spanish Flu is said to have killed about 50 million people worldwide (~ 675,000 in the US) according to the CDC. Most deaths were during the second wave. We had 1.8 billion people on the planet back then. Today we have 7.8 billion.
Should We Prepare For A Second Wave?
I am. Yes.
Why? Because “if” we get one, even if it’s not multiples of the first wave, I do know that governors and governments WILL clamp down again, and very likely much more than we’ve already witnessed. This in itself could (indirectly) kill us or many of us. And I’m going to do my best to mitigate that.
Many places are beginning to “open up” as we speak. There will be some increase in disease which may result in renewed clamp-down, be it over-reaction or not… However come this Fall, when virus typically re-emerges (like the flu), the fear factor may be really crippling.
We are already experiencing shortages, massive job losses, defaults, poverty, and other terrible results of closing down a society. There is always a lag affect. And by the time Fall rolls around, and “if” a second wave of Covid-19 re-emerges, you think it’s bad now? Just wait… and your problems might not just be virus.
So I am using this time to reinforce my self sustainability to the extent that I can. Acquiring the things I need to do that. And additionally I’m giving more thought to security in general.
This Fall we have a few bad things that will be happening at the same time. One is Covid-19 and a probable second wave (and all that it entails). The other is the November election during a pandemic which is going to create much angst among the people. We’re walking a fine line. There’s fresh dry tinder all over the ground and there’s about to be a book of matches lit on fire…