How The U.S. COVID-19 Death Toll Is Now Higher Than The 1918 Pandemic

A September 17 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that COVID-19 cases are on the rise in the United States. The prior seven-day average of COVID-19 cases was 137,783; the current seven-day average is 146,182. This is an increase of 6.1%. The CDC reports that this increase is likely due to “the highly contagious Delta (B.1.617.2) variant and low vaccination coverage in many communities.” As of this reporting, roughly 54% of Americans have been fully vaccinated.

Although there are similar patterns to the spread of disease and response since as far back as the Black Death of 1347, “the major risks posed by COVID-19 arise not from the pathogen, but from indirect effects of control measures on health and core societal activities,” according to an April 2021 study published in the Frontiers in Public Health. The prevalence of COVID-19 may also be a result of an erosion of public trust that originated with the 1918 Pandemic.

In a February 2021 study titled “Epidemics and trust: The case of the Spanish Flu,” researchers concluded that “experiencing the Spanish Flu and the associated condition of social disruption and generalized mistrust had permanent consequences on individual behavior in terms of lower social trust.” They continued, writing, “These mutated individual social traits were inherited by descendants, at least to some significant degree.” Epidemiologist Stephen Kissler told CNN, “A lot of the mistakes that we definitely fell into in 1918, we hoped we wouldn’t fall into in 2020. We did.”


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