H1N1 flu vs. COVID-19: Comparing pandemics and the response – By Blythe Bernhard (St Louis Post-Dispatch) / March 25 2020
The virus was first discovered in a foreign country. Schools shut down, the media was accused of overreacting, and hospitals were swamped with severely ill patients.
The year was 2009, and the pandemic was caused by a strain of influenza known as swine flu, then H1N1. But similarities to the current virus outbreak end there.
COVID-19, the illness caused by a severe acute respiratory syndrome — known as SARS — coronavirus 2, is much more contagious and many times more deadly. There are no approved treatments or vaccines, leading to lockdowns and quarantines ordered by public health officials.
The novel coronavirus appears to cause more severe illness and deaths in older people, although scientists are rushing to learn more.
With H1N1, children and young adults were more likely to get sick because older people had built up some immunity through exposure to similar strains of flu that had circulated decades before.
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