Corona virus : A Repeat Of History

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It all started in 1918 and lasted till December 1920 and now in 2020 it is happening again. In 1918 it started in Spain and now in 2020 it started in China. It was the Spanish flu, that infected over 500 million people around the world. The death toll was estimated to have been between 17 million to 50 million or even 100 million. It was the deadliest epidemics in human history, will the 2020 Coronavirus break the 1918 records? The world is wiser and world leaders must wake up and do the needy on time to save the world.

It was inconclusive then on where the flu originated from, but speculations had it that it was Kansas in the United States, a British army base in France, and probably Northern China. It is worthy to note that a respiratory illness that struck Northern China in November 1917 was identified a year later by Chinese health officials as identical to the Spanish flu of 1918. How did it spread? If an infected person sneezes or coughs, about half a million virus particles spreads out to those nearby. According to Patterson and Pyle in their study 'The 1918 Influenza Pandemic' they estimate the number of deaths by Spanish influenza in China to be between 4.0 and 9.5 million people, but this total was based purely on the assumption that the death rate there was 1.0–2.25 per cent in 1918, because China was a poor country similar to Indonesia and India where the mortality rate was of that order.

The first reported case in Africa was in August 1918, in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Ghana was badly hit with report claiming that over 100, 000 people died of the flu, Ethiopia also contacted it, in fact it was said that Haile Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia was one of the first Ethiopians who contracted the flu but he survived it.

In Nigeria there was little or no effect of the flu, in 1918 was when the Teacher Training College at Igbariam was closed down not for the flu but due to the First World War and by 1919, Lord Fredrick Lugard retired from the colonial service.

This is not the time to channel funds meant to prevent Coronavirus into private pockets, let us be careful so that it will not affect Africa heavily, because if it happens, I am worried for Nigeria and the way we park ourselves in crowded areas. We should avoid overcrowded camps, Residential homes should be kept free of piggery and poultry for now, Nigerian should take action even as we pray, prayers work with actions.

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