Preprint Review Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

The Timeline of a Pandemic: Have We Learned Anything in 102 Years?

Version 1 : Received: 9 May 2020 / Approved: 10 May 2020 / Online: 10 May 2020 (17:52:56 CEST)

How to cite: Green, G.; Afzal, I.; Radha, S. The Timeline of a Pandemic: Have We Learned Anything in 102 Years?. Preprints 2020, 2020050179 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202005.0179.v1). Green, G.; Afzal, I.; Radha, S. The Timeline of a Pandemic: Have We Learned Anything in 102 Years?. Preprints 2020, 2020050179 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202005.0179.v1).

Abstract

George Satayana stated that “those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it”. As our UK “good outcome” death toll of 20,000 from coronavirus (SARS CoV -2/ COVID -19) in 2020 has sadly been surpassed; never has a phrase been more pertinent. The last major pandemic on a similar scale to COVID-19 is “Spanish Flu” from 1918. We aim to delineate the timeline of events in response to the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic and compare this to the timeline of COVID 19 response, given that the NHS and WHO have since both been long established. In the last 102 years many changes have occurred. Health services across the world have significantly improved, with the advent of mechanical ventilation and antimicrobial treatments. Vaccination programmes against common pathogens have prevented many large-scale disease threats, however novel illnesses have also emerged. Worldwide communication through the Internet and many agencies including the World Health Organisation has improved, and the awareness and surveillance of disease is more prominent. Despite advances in healthcare and communication, the national and international timeline for public health intervention in the current COVID pandemic in comparison to the Spanish flu pandemic of more than 100 years ago is virtually identical. The World Health Organisation operates to promote global health and prevent spread of disease, with this in mind; should the WHO have intervened earlier?​ We need to learn quickly from this pandemic and improve planning for the future.

Subject Areas

COVID-19; World Health Organisation; Pandemic

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