Spanish Flu 1918 – Coronavirus 2020
Image Courtesy: Wikipedia

Spanish Flu 1918 – Coronavirus 2020

America has long been in a leadership role in the world and a marvel of economic expansion. Our strengths have been defined by an unwillingness to be satisfied with what is now and the assurance that we control the future and our global leadership. As a people, we are not accustomed to events and realities that require endless replays and that profoundly influence our lives, affecting our financial and personal futures for most or all of our time on this planet. Such is not in our DNA.

Americans, for more than a century, have been taught that we are responsible for our own futures --- that our lives and livelihoods are determined by our own actions and that infinite possibilities always exist for any and all eventualities.

But, the dice have just rolled and our futures have changed forever. And, we didn’t throw them.

Indeed, America is not anything like what it was only weeks ago; neither is the world. And, the future is bleak.

We have to look back, literally, more than one hundred years for any sense of what is before us. The last pandemic began in 1918 and ended two years later in December 1920.

That pandemic came in the last years of World War I when 500 million people worldwide were infected from what was called the Spanish Flu – 27% of the world’s population at the time. As many as 50 to 100 million died. The Spanish flu came in at least two waves in the US (with more in Europe and Africa) and the second wave involved a mutation that made it much more deadly to healthy young adults than the first.

If we are forced to wait eighteen months to two years for a vaccine, as they were last time, the ravages of this Century’s pandemic will be far worse, and totally devastate the United States, the world and the world order. It will also, most probably, end America’s leadership in the world and the personal prosperity of its population.

Our world is now in the hands, literally and figuratively, of the virologists and specifically of those scientists seeking new and fast paced COVID-19 treatments. We are dependent on those major pharmaceutical companies, such as Gilead and Regeneron, exploring options that readily be applied at hospitals and treatment centers to lessen the mortality rates of this virus.

At the same time as realities are forcing our more vulnerable populations to wait for a vaccine to be developed, we need to bet on and fully support alternative pathways. Governor Cuomo is correct that we must bet on antibody treatments and related avenues are our only and best hope both against this virus and for the world we know.

Ari Socolow
Ari Socolow: Ari Socolow is the Chief Economist and Editor-in-Chief at BestCashCow. He is particularly interested in issues relating to bank transparency and the climate crisis. Since co-founding BestCashCow in 2005, Ari has been frequently cited in the media as an expert on local and national savings accounts, CD products, mortgage and loan products and credit card rewards products.

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