A book from 2017, about the Spanish Flu, which in the wake of the first world war turned into a global pandemic, killing between 50 and 100 million people on all continents.
Pale Rider , Laura Spinney
Spinney describes the situation in the world in 1918, and how the Spanish Flu came into the world, and was experienced by people in various parts of the world. The flu returned in several waves, some of which behaved unlike normal flu seasons and also had weirdly shaped killing patterns in the population.
She also describes reactions of the population to pandemic fighting measures – and we know them all from personal experience by now. There have been people protecting mask mandates, self-isolation and social distancing on purpose, “mah freedums” criers and so on, just like with Covid.
In parts 5 and 6, she looks at the flu from a modern perspective: We now know about viruses, and specific the influenza A virus and its variants. We understand its genetics and which parts of the virus are relevant for infection of humans, and they mutate. We catalogue them – the spanish flu was H1N1. Spinney then looks at SARS, MERS and bird flu, and other viruses, and how they ramp up for another pandemic, strangely prescient of the Covid pandemic of 2020. Also addresses, again spot on, anti-science propaganda and ossified politics unable to integrate new findings into existing rule frameworks.
An enlightening and at the same time very frustrating read, written and published 3 years before Covid.
“Pale Rider ”, Laura Spinney, EUR 9.49 on Kindle