(ORDO NEWS) — Forgot about covid? Historians of the 1918 epidemic have drawn difficult conclusions about the possible end of the modern pandemic.
Some scientists believe that the end of any epidemic largely depends simply on the decision of the people themselves. One such scholar is Marion Dorsey, an associate professor of history at the University of New Hampshire.
It explores past pandemics in the foreseeable history of mankind. The professor notes that there is a certain point in the development of each epidemic, when the disease is still actively circulating, but no longer causes serious peaks and severe consequences, and society does not pay much attention to the epidemic. This is sometimes referred to as the transition from a pandemic to an endemic cycle.
However, it is difficult to name at least approximate reasons for this significant transition. “Whenever people enter the store without masks, they show their opinion about what is happening.
Such an actively postulated position seems to hint that the pandemic is on the decline, if not over. And it doesn’t matter if this is really so” says Professor Dorsey.
As it was in history
A pandemic ends “when people stop paying attention to it,” says historian John M. Berry. The rest is the combination of the pathogenicity of the virus and the availability of therapeutic agents.
“We have almost reached this point” with COVID, Berry adds, even though vaccines and treatments are still out of reach for many people around the world. Nevertheless, the public is growing tired of the restrictions of life in a pandemic.
The 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, which killed at least 50 million people worldwide, is often described as having three waves. The first came in the spring of 1918, followed by the infamous deadly second wave in the fall, and then the third, winter wave in early 1919.
Scientists note that by the summer of that year, the detection of cases of the disease eventually stopped. But Berry says that in 1920 a new variant appeared that actually caused the fourth wave. This wave killed more people in some cities than the second, although by that time it was already possible to speak of some kind of herd immunity.
While many cities and public institutions implemented restrictions during the second and third waves, virtually no one did so during the fourth. By 1921, the death toll from influenza had returned to pre-pandemic levels.
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