- The coronavirus pandemic has now killed more Americans than the 1918-19 influenza pandemic did.
- The 1918-19 flu infected about 25% of Americans and killed an estimated 0.65%, with 675,000 deaths.
- COVID-19 has infected more than 12% of Americans and killed about 0.2%, with 676,000 deaths.
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Now that the US death toll from COVID-19 has surpassed 676,000, the coronavirus pandemic has killed more Americans than the 1918-19 influenza pandemic did.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate the pandemic over 100 years ago killed 675,000 people, many of whom were younger than 65 years old.
Back then, there wasn’t a flu shot to protect people from getting infected. Today, the FDA has authorized three COVID-19 vaccines, and 64% of Americans have received at least one dose.
So although the total number of Americans who died in each crisis is about the same, because of the population difference, influenza infected about one-quarter of Americans from 1918-19, and killed 0.65%.
More Americans died from the flu those years than died in World War I.
Today, COVID-19 has infected more than 12% of Americans and killed about 0.2%.
Both pandemics saw the impact of globalization help the spread of the virus, though in different capacities.
During the influenza pandemic, World War I contributed to the spread of the virus, killing healthy young people in mass quantities without the aid of modern medicine. Now, airplane travel and mass migration both help contribute to the spread of COVID-19.