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sample compare and contrast essay on Spanish Flu and COVID-19

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Spanish Flu and COVID-19

            COVID-19 and the Spanish flu pandemic are the deadliest pandemics in the 20thcentury. However, the pandemic, despite having some similarities they are quite different from each other.Generally, the illnesses are contagious respiratory illnesses brought about by different viruses. The two devastating pandemics, the Spanish Flu and COVID-19, emerged globally in 2019 from America and 2019 from China, respectively (Agrawal et al.,2021). Among the similarities shared by the pandemics are social distancing and mask-wearing and the increase in cases during huge gatherings. However, the pandemics are different from each other as they are caused by different viruses and the period taken before symptoms start to show.

            During the Spanish flu pandemic, there was no other solution other than social mitigation. The development of vaccines did not happen until the 1940’s making the health officials understand that wearing masks, social distancing, and frequent hand-washing would be the best solution. Cities that embraced business closures and ensured people wore masks experienced lower deaths. Similarly, with COVID-19, the government ordered the public to observe social distancing and frequently wash their hands to curb the spread of the virus. Notably, the actions served as containment measures as the number of infections got lower.

            Both pandemics tend to have spiked in the number of cases due to large family gatherings and celebrations. According to (ABC News,2021), most of the influenza cases reported in Boston were traceable to visits to homes of people who have been ill with influenza as of December 12, 1918. On the occasion of the COVID-19 outbreak, many families still traveled for thanksgiving occasions in the US. Therefore, the holiday surge resulted in higher levels of hospitalization during the spring of 2020 as many people who had traveled tested positive.

            Even though the viruses are both contagious, the causative virus for each of them is different.While a coronavirus causes COVID-19,Spanish flu is caused by infection with influenza viruses. Additionally, the rate of COVID-19 spread is higher as compared to how flu spread. Contrary to the influenza virus, coronavirus tends to spread more illnesses. Moreover, a person who has contracted coronavirus becomes contagious for the longest period compared to flu.Evident from the difference in viruses and how they are spread, the two pandemics appear different, but they pose severe effects on human health.

            COVID-19 and Spanish flu are both deadly.However, the mortality rate related to COVID-19 appears higher than that of the Spanish flu. Due to the faster spread, the old population is at risk as they do not have stronger immunity than the younger population. According to World Health Organization (2020), the reports show that the number of reported cases of COVID-19 divided by the number of deaths lies at 3-4%.COVID-19 is, therefore, more deadly compared to the Spanish flu.

            COVID-19 and Spanish flu are different despite sharing some similarities. Being the deadliest pandemics globally, their outbreak forced the affected to resolve social mitigation strategies such as social distancing, wearing masks, and washing hands to curb the spread of the viruses. Additionally, both cases trace the increase in the cases of infections to huge gatherings. Besides the similarities, the pandemics are not different as COVID-19 is caused by coronavirus while flu is caused by influenza. Moreover, COVID-19 is linked to a higher mortality rate as compared to flu. Judging from the differences, COVID-19 seems to be more dangerous due to its contagious nature and serious infections.


ABC News. (2021, January 21). Photos: How the 1918 and COVID pandemics comparehttps://abcnews.go.com/International/comparing-contrasting-coronavirus-1918-flu-pandemics-images/story?id=71971264

Agrawal, A., Gindondiya, A., Deo, K., Kashikar, S., Fulzele, P., & Khatib, N. (2021). A comparative analysis of the Spanish flu 1918 and COVID-19 pandemics. The Open Public Health Journal. https://openpublichealthjournal.com/VOLUME/14/PAGE/128/FULLTEXT/

World Health Organization. (2020, March 17). Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Similarities and differences with influenza. WHO | World Health Organization. https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/coronavirus-disease-covid-19-similarities-and-differences-with-influenza