Currently, the new coronavirus, Covid-19, spreads worldwide, but 100 years ago, in 1918, the Spanish flu broke out and became pandemic. It plunged the whole world into a state of horror. The Spanish flu (1918-1920) infected as many as 600 million people, one-third of the world population at that time, and the death toll was between 20 million and 40 million. Simultaneously, many countries were involved in the First World War, meaning that they had to fight against their war enemies and the Spanish flu at the same time. In Japan, about 23 million people out of the total population of 55 million were infected, and the death toll was estimated to be about 380,000, according to the government’s statistical data.
To cope with the Spanish flu, various kinds of measures were carried out—medical treatment of the infected patients in hospitals, close observation on the patients in quarantine, restrictions on large-scale gatherings, the closure and disinfection of public facilities, and research and development of vaccine.
After 100 years, human beings are now facing a similar situation again. What can be learned from our past experience?