Don’t Worry, People Were Pretty Dumb During the Spanish Flu, Too
If you've been discouraged by some of the dumb things your friends are saying about the coronavirus pandemic, you may be comforted in knowing that people were even dumber 100 years ago (or didn't know any better).
In 1918 the Spanish Flu killed over 50 million people around the world. The pandemic was actually caused by a severe strain of influenza that was believed to have been passed to humans by a bird. While COVID-19 is a completely different kind of virus, there are many similarities in how the disease has spread and how it can easily return if social distancing is relaxed too early.
Over a century ago, even without the help of Facebook, people were still spreading misinformation and bad advice about the virus. Strange "miracle cures" like wearing certain herbs around your neck were believed to stop the spread of the disease. Many people were also resistant to wearing masks, which helped spread the disease even more. And sadly, the public's desire to reopen too early lead to an even deadlier second wave of the virus.
Here's a look at some of the dumb mistakes we made 100 years ago. Hopefully, those self-proclaimed experts on your Facebook feed will see this and understand how important it is to leave the science and medicine to, well... scientists and doctors.