In grade school, I was always told that the reason we took history class was so that we could learn the patterns, and acknowledge our mistakes so that we don’t repeat them. I know for a fact that we studied Spanish influenza, but apparently, the federal government did not study it, as we are making all the same mistakes that the federal government did in 1918.
Spanish influenza spread very similarly to COVID19, and the way the United States handled them is disturbingly similar. In both cases the president, Woodrow Wilson, and Donald Trump did not validate the severity of the disease when it started, even after seeing the tolls, it took on other countries. The medical professionals advised wearing masks, but in 1918 and 2020, people still refuse to wear their masks, which prolongs the pandemics and allows more casualties. In the video, Trevor Noah says that wearing masks is what eventually got the pandemic to end yet knowing that people still wouldn’t wear masks. Will we will able to learn from our mistakes, or continue this pattern? If we can let mistakes with pandemics be repeated, what’s to stop the same thing from happening with wars or other dangerous things?
Another scary thing I learned is the effects that misinformation during a pandemic can have. Beyond believing the misinformation that the presidents spoke, that snake oil and injecting yourself with disinfectants will kill the disease, nationalities were targeted. After the great war, when Spanish influenza broke out, people blamed the Germans. When COVID breaking out, people are looking towards the Chinese, as China is where the outbreak started. Although something may have originated in a place, it is dangerous to blame a country or a people, because this is how implicit prejudice gets ingrained into society. In today’s society is it possible to acknowledge the history, and where the disease originated, without creating divisions in society?