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Sunday, October 24, 2021

Telling Numbers: ‘Spanish flu’ toll crossed, Covid-19 is now deadliest pandemic in US

Covid-19 has now claimed more lives in the US than the 1918 pandemic of what is commonly referred to as the 'Spanish flu'. That makes it the deadliest pandemic ever in the US.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
September 22, 2021 8:29:07 am
Policemen in Seattle in masks during the pandemic of 1918. (Wikipedia/Public domain)

Covid-19 has now claimed more lives in the US than the 1918 pandemic of what is commonly referred to as the ‘Spanish flu‘. That makes it the deadliest pandemic ever in the US.

The death toll in that country due to Covid-19 is 6,76,076, according to Our World in Data’s update till 10 pm on Tuesday. And the 1918 pandemic had killed more than 6,75,000 in the US, as per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Source: US CDC

The 1918 pandemic was first reported from Madrid, but the flu did not really originate in Spain, according to an editorial in the Postgraduate Medical Journal. It is remembered as the deadliest of the 20th century, with its spread aided by global troop movement during WWI. Estimates for global and country-wise death tolls vary.

For India, a 2016 study in the journal Demography estimated the toll at between 12 million and 13 million (1.2-1.3 crore). Globally, the 1918 pandemic killed at least 50 million (5 crore), as per estimates cited by the CDC.

Source: Our World in Data; data as of Sept 20

But a 2018 study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology suggested that about 17.4 million people died globally as a result of the influenza. Even this conservative estimate is several times higher than the global death toll from Covid-19 (4.7 million) so far.

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