Front Burner

Lessons from the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic

The devastating 1918 influenza pandemic, which killed at least 50 million people around the world, has some striking resemblances to the COVID-19 pandemic today.
Three men, believed to be in Alberta, are shown wearing masks to protect themselves during the Spanish influenza pandemic. (Winnipeg Tribune Archives/University of Manitoba)

The influenza outbreak of 1918 was the deadliest pandemic in recent history, killing an estimated 50 million to 100 million people around the world. And it bears some striking similarities to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Today, Laura Spinney, science journalist and author of Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How It Changed the World, talks about what we can learn from this century-old tragedy.

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