Listen Up Covid-19, We Got Past the Spanish Flu
Covid-19 and the Spanish Flu.
Every morning when I sneak a look at my cell phone, (I really should stop doing that), I secretly hope that there’s some promising news about the coronavirus. They found a vaccine! The numbers are dropping!
Alas, I haven’t used the word “exponential” since high school math, but it’s a word that goes hand in hand with “pandemic.” That’s the way of pandemics. The numbers tend to go up a good while before they down. Nothing good will come of looking at the news every two minutes to see which new celebrity is now infected or whether the toilet roll is making a comeback anytime soon.
“There have been other flu pandemics since then that killed people by the millions or high thousands. They all abated eventually using the same strategies that are in place now–social distancing and using masks. This too shall pass.”
Constant Covid-19 fact checking is likely to play into our compulsive tendencies, create stress and fuel anxiety. What is needed in such times is perspective taking. On that note, let’s look at the Spanish Flu. “Spanish what?” you say. Exactly. When was the last time we spoke of that? The Spanish Flu lasted two years and killed about 50 million people. It infected about a 1/4 of the world’s population at the time. That was about 100 years ago.
Hope in a Covid-19 World
We’ve come so far since then. We know how to create vaccines. We have antivirals. We have better communication systems and medicine. We were able to send a huge naval ship, the USNS Comfort, equipped with a 1000 beds and a dozen operating rooms, to New York in practically no time at all. It’s basically a field hospital on water that is mobile and flexible.
Not the First Flu Pandemic
It is terrible what is happening, but there is hope. There’s been vast progress since 1920. There have been other flu pandemics since then that killed people by the millions or high thousands. They all abated eventually using the same strategies that are in place now–social distancing and using masks. This too shall pass.
We Humans are Resilient
Let us use this time wisely for reflection and commitment to what makes us unique as humans – our compassion and connection to others. When we look back on this time we can remark on our resilience.