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How Does COVID-19 Compare to the Spanish Flu?

While COVID-19 meets the technical definition of a pandemic (i.e., “an epidemic occurring worldwide, or over a very wide area, crossing international boundaries and usually affecting a large number of people”), the death toll is nowhere near that of earlier serious pandemics that would legitimately justify the extraordinary measures being deployed by the U.S. government and others around the globe.

For comparison, the “Black Death,” which swept through Europe between 1347 and 1351 and kept resurfacing at intervals for the next 300 years, decimated up to one-third of the population with each recurrence.



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