The relative increase in the number of deaths in the early Covid-19 pandemic is actually significantly larger than the peak of the 1918 pandemic, according to research published Thursday in the journal JAMA. Network Open.
Faust said by comparing the first two months of the pandemic in New York with the worst two months of the pandemic in New York 100 years ago, the Covid-19 period had more than 70 percent of deaths per capita. .
“Who knows what this would have been like if we didn’t have a modern ICU and we couldn’t treat a secondary infection with antibiotics or put people in a breathing machine or breathe oxygen,” Faust said. “If you compare these viruses side by side, without all the medical bells and whistles that we have today, I’d say Covid-19 is worse.”
“We’ll never know for sure, because fortunately we have the potential to save more lives now, but even with all of our technological and medical advancement, the death rate. Death is still 70% worse than its worst time in 1918, I think people don’t realize how serious this is, ”said Faust.
Faust said some people may underestimate how bad the pandemic is, because they are envisioning a pandemic or historic plague, like something in the movie where a truck pulls in. curb and pick up the body.
“By the way, the frozen trucks outside the hospital are like that,” said Faust.
The 1918 flu is estimated to infect a third of the world’s population and cause about 50 million deaths. Like this pandemic, it affects some communities more than others.
This study only takes into account New York City data. It cannot be used to describe the extent of this pandemic in other cities or across the country. Experts say New York was soon hit hard by the pandemic, and since then, other cities have learned from what worked early.
Barry, who was not involved in the new study, said from other indicators he was clear that the 1918 pandemic was clearly “significantly more toxic” than the Covid-19 pandemic, at least for the country. .
“I guess when New York was attacked, we didn’t really know how to handle the cases. Since then, we’ve learned a lot more,” said Barry. “I think the number of deaths in New York due to Covid-19 could be higher … and that will be cut after that first exposure, but I’m still surprised that there is no bigger difference. about these numbers. “
In terms of deaths, New York had better rates than many other cities in 1918, says Barry. The city was exposed to the virus in the spring and saw 33,000 deaths during the pandemic, a small number compared to several other cities.
Barry also said that with the Covid-19 pandemic, doctors have more options to take care of their patients. There is no cure, but even the supportive care that doctors provide to patients today is much better than what patients had in 1918.
“In 1918, supportive care didn’t exist,” says Barry.
Faust said what he wants most from this study is an accurate understanding of the magnitude of the pandemic.
“We don’t need to wait until the end to look back and see that these events are on a similar scale,” said Faust. “What I’m driving home here is, if we don’t do something, if we don’t really take this seriously, so many years from now, we can look at the kids. the same number as we have seen since 1918. ”