2018 Marks 100 Years Since Spanish Flu Pandemic

Dec 3, 2018

Credit Library of Congress

It’s been 100 years since the Spanish Flu pandemic.

In 1918, the Spanish flu infected 500 million people, and killed at least 50 million, or about three percent of the world’s population at the time.  Patrick Perry is Executive Editor of the Saturday Evening Post, which wrote a retrospective of the pandemic. He says it spurred many changes in public health, such as socialized health care, and a better understanding of how diseases are spread.

“This whole idea of the epidemiology, understanding that you’re part of the community and the community is part of you. So there’s kind of a bit of a social responsibility there too. If you’re sick, don’t bring it to work. If your child’s sick, don’t bring it to school," he said.

Perry says the world is much better prepared for pandemics, particularly when it comes to drugs and tracking diseases. But that isn't without drawbacks.

“In some ways, the interconnectedness of the world right now is fantastic for economy, for travel, for everything, but it provides a perfect avenue for the disease to spread quickly,” he said.