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Coronavirus and Spanish Flu

Spanish Flu Hospital in GB
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Kerby Andersonnever miss viewpoints

Scott Gottlieb (former FDA Administrator) concluded that this coronavirus would have been more deadly than the Spanish Flu if it appeared in 1918. That’s a reasonable conclusion based on what we know about this virus and what was not medically available back then.

We currently have a debate about the severity and extent of COVID-19. Some skeptics believe the dangers have been exaggerated. Some of the models predicted more infections and more deaths than have occurred. Health care professionals lament that many Americans don’t seem to take the warnings seriously. These debates will go on for months.

One thing we probably can all accept is that this virus would have taxed the medical capacities of 1918. The world was at war, and medical facilities were nothing like what we have today. For example, a patient with COVID-19 today who needs intensive care still has a good chance of survival. We are seeing patients being rolled out of hospitals after facing significant respiratory issues.

Gottlieb observes that “anyone who gets admitted to a prolonged ICU stay with COVID-19 who ends up getting intubated or ends up getting prolonged care—that’s probably someone who would have died from the Spanish flu. He, therefore, concluded that “COVID-19 not only looks like the Spanish flu in terms of its distribution across the age range but looks far more fearsome.”

At the very least, his observation should make you feel grateful that you not only live in the 21st century but that you live in the US. It has been popular among many politicians to criticize America’s health care system and to attack Big Pharma. Yet, these observations from the former FDA commissioner are a reminder of the benefits we enjoy in this country at this time.

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