History Repeats Itself

We know this to be true, so we are exploring a very real, and present example of how honoring the scientific method can save lives. COVID-19 has completely changed our way of life this year, but in looking at patterns and the 1918 Pandemic, we ask, was the number of deaths involved avoidable? Disclosure: When it comes to doing our jobs as nurses, LWES is completely unbias in political views. Our priority is saving as many lives as possible, no matter who is in office. 

The 1918 Pandemic and how it was handled is unfolding the exact same way here in 2020. They didn’t listen to science, and now we’re repeating the same mistake. Here are the facts:

The Virus

  • 1918 – The H1N1 virus had an undetermined avian origin. 
  • 2020  – The current COVID-19 virus strain is in the same family. 

Presidential Outlook

  • 1918 – Woodrow Wilson was president at this time. He did not make science the priority on how to prevent the spread of the virus, instead, he focused on the war and our military. He never wavered from this position even as the second wave arrived and was more deadly.
  • 2009-2017 During President Obama’s term, he was warned that the 1918 virus was back. He let the science lead and he created a task force that included a manual on how to get ahead of the virus.
  • 2018 – present President Trump’s administration claimed there was no manual and dissolved the task force prior to Covid-19 arriving in the U.S. They later developed a manual and taskforce to fight Covid-19 specifically.

4 Minute Men

  • 1918 – President Wilson’s 4 Minute Men were designated with the task to suppress the media and promote only favorable stories. 
  • 2020 – The undying support for our current president and manipulation of the science rivals that of the 4 Minute Men. 

What Amplified Things?

  • 1918 – As they ignored signs and symptoms, they continued to pack military and nurses into barracks (aka crowd gathering). This was a superspreader, as a result, causing many military personnel to caught the virus. The first outbreak was detected in the U.S. in March, with more than 100 cases reported at Camp Funston in Fort Riley, Kansas. Hundreds and thousands of U.S. soldiers traveled across the Atlantic to deploy for war. The mass troop movement contributed to the global spread of flu.
  • 2020 – We are urging folks to avoid concerts, malls, and other public places to help slow the spread. Crowd gatherings increase the spread of the virus, which increases deaths. 

Where Was The Science 

  • 1918 – The innovation of science in regards to the virus was happening in Europe. During that time the U.S. didn’t have a lot of laboratories established. As a result, our scientists would go overseas to study and research and much of the science of the 1918 pandemic stemmed from Europe.
  • 1919 the 1st article of the New England Journal of Medicine (one of the most apolitical journals ever) came out stating the one way to mitigate the virus is by placing gauze over your nose and mouth. Sound familiar.


  • The total number of deaths from the 1918 pandemic was estimated to be at least 50 million worldwide with about 675,000 occurring in the United States.
  • 2020 – As of December 3rd, 2020 12:17 PM there are an estimated 272,525 deaths within the United States, and 1.5 million worldwide.