1918 Influenza Versus COVID-19

From the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic there have been countless comparisons to the 1918 influenza pandemic in terms of overall medical impact. Many of the comparisons addressed overall cases which, given the lack of a confirmatory lab test in 1918 and no meaningful case definitions for both pandemics, make such comparisons patently invalid. Overall mortality comparisons, although methodologically flawed as well, do offer a reasonably comparative outcome measure and offers a greater degree of validity. This measure is further enhanced when adjusted for population and average life years lost. The resulting value(s) can also be used to assess and better quantify the cumulative health impacts of our interventions and give a more objective base for our decision-making. A concluding observation is presented on the impact of a rapidly developed vaccine on a 1918 type event.

Reference: James J. Of Lives and Life Years: 1918 Influenza vs. Covid-19. Published online by Cambridge University Press, July 15, 2021. Accessible at: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/disaster-medicine-and-public-health-preparedness/article/of-lives-and-life-years-1918-influenza-vs-covid19/4C1052EA738377F85C514B33354659DE

Source: Society for Disaster Medicine and Public Health