The coronavirus disease is bringing many comparisons to the Spanish Flu. Of course history can be instructive, but you always have to remember each event in its own context. I find that many people make blind comparisons to this pandemic not mentioning that this one happened near the end of WWI, which played out in a specific way as to amplify all the problems that the pandemic would cause, and is used to justify measures that may not be necessary now. Here are a few examples:
The second wave was more deadly than the first: Why was this the case? Generally when a disease makes it through the population, it tends to be milder because of natural selection. The more severe cases are genearlly pulled away from society, either to receive medical treatment or these people die. The milder cases are not so much, and thus has an advantage in spreading. During the war, this was reversed. Seriously ill patients were taken from the trenches and moved in crowded trains and field hospitals, thus allowing the more lethal strain to spread. This also relates to timing. The second wave was said to have started around the Fall. Can someone better versed in history than me confirm if this is when soldiers started to come home?
Cities that eased lockdown restrictions early were hit hard later on: Was this related to the lockdown, or was it just coincidence? Per Wikipedia:
In January 1919 a third wave of the Spanish Flu hit Australia, then spread quickly through Europe and the United States, where it lingered through the Spring and until June of 1919. It primarily affected Spain, Serbia, Mexico and Great Britain, resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths. It was less severe than the second wave but still much more deadly than the initial first wave. In the United States, isolated outbreaks occurred in some cities including Los Angeles, New York City, Memphis, Nashville, San Francisco and St. Louis. Overall American mortality rates were in the tens of thousands during the first six months of 1919.
Winter time is generally when flu season picks up because people are stuck inside in close quarters (where health experts ironically tell us we need to hide from the coronavirus). Was it really the easing of the lockdowns, or was it merely that the lifting of lockdowns coincided with the general time of the year when flu season generally happens?
It can be informative, but should we really be drawing definitive conclusions about how coronavirs is going to play out when the specific conditions that made the Spanish Flu bad are not influencing the pandemic today?