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U.S. death toll for COVID surpasses 1918 Flu Pandemic

Worldwide the 1918 Flu Pandemic was still far more deadly with more than 50 million deaths.

DULUTH, Minn. — More than 675,000 Americans lost their lives in the 1918 Flu Pandemic.

It was the deadliest pandemic in U.S. history, until now.

“It’s a pretty grim milestone we just reached,” Dr. Jeremy Youde says.

Youde studies global health politics at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

He says we can learn a lot from the 1918 Flu Pandemic, which in many cases was much worse than the pandemic we’re dealing with now.

“If you look at the 1918 pandemic, the estimate is that about one-third of the world’s population got sick,” Youde explains.

“You’re looking at about 10% of the people who got sick were eventually dying from the 1918 pandemic.”

Historians estimate nearly 50 million people died worldwide during the 1918 Flu Pandemic.

That number is more than ten times higher than the current death toll for COVID-19.

“You also have to consider that in America we had one-third as many people as we do now,” Youde says.

“It was a very different situation in many ways. We’re looking at vastly different forms of technology and different sorts of medical interventions.”

Youde says they didn’t have a vaccine back in 1918.

They didn’t have the CDC, or the national public health department.

The FDA was only a small group of people at that time.

And in some cases, patients were dying in less than 12 hours.

“I believe there is a bit of hope that the 1918 pandemic gives us a way forward,” Youde says.

“But also, there is this nervousness about what that way forward might look like, and how we might have to adapt our lives to respond to this virus.”

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