By Claudio López Bruzual, MD.
Is there anything in common between the pandemic we are currently confronting and previous pandemics? There's definitely a certain parallel that's worth analyzing. In this paper we highlight data that will allow us to have a reference point to compare the Spanish influenza (or Spanish flu) epidemic with that of COVID-19.
The pandemic caused by the H1N1 influenza virus was called the Spanish flu. That virus has ravaged humanity, up to now, twice. The first time was in the early twentieth century; the second was the 2009 pandemic, which had much less scope and severity. However, the first wave of Spanish influenza generated the following casualties:
- It infected 500 million people worldwide.
- Decimated 50 to 100 million people or 3 to 5% of the world's population. Most deaths occurred in people under the age of 65, and more than half in people between 20 and 40 years old.
- Case Fatality Ratio (an index that links the number of infected and the number of dead), in general, is an indicator of risk of death in the course of epidemics; in this case, it was from 10 to 20%.
- Recent studies (using virus samples extracted from frozen human tissues) have concluded that the lethality of the virus was due to a cytokine storm.
- COVID-19 is produced by SARS-Cov 2.
- As of March11,2021, 118,318,924 infected people were reported worldwide.
- For the same date, 2,624,609 deaths are reported worldwide. For a global population of 7,874,965,825, that figure represents 0.33348%.
- Case Fatality Ratio: fluctuates according to the different countries, ages, presence of comorbidity and other factors, as well as the moment within the course of the pandemic in which we are located. Currently, globally, it is between 1 and 3%; on average, 2.21%.
- As a cause of death, the onset of cytokine release syndrome is suspected, usually accompanied by systemic coagulopathy with microthrombi formation in different vascular beds
As you may have noticed, Spanish influenza and COVID-19 share a familiar pattern. Therefore, if we give credit to the teachings of history, this pandemic will not be the last to put human lives in peril.
Follow-up to recovered patients
Spirometry is the easiest way to monitor lung recovery for patients who suffered COVID-19. Ultrasonic Spirometers, such as SpiroScout, not only offer reliable and accurate testing, but also minimize the risk of cross-contamination. If you are undecided between purchasing a traditional equipment and an ultrasonic one, download this comparative document, it will help you make the most convenient decision for you and your patients.