Fighting Coronavirus: What Lessons Can We Learn From The Past?

WWJ News
March 06, 2020 - 11:50 am

(WWJ) It's considered the worst pandemic in human history: the 1918 flu which killed as many as 100 million people worldwide. 

Professor and author John Barry, who wrote a book about that infamous outbreak, says when that flu happened over 100 years ago, political leaders lied to the public about it. 

"And because of that, people lost all trust in authority, they didn't know where to turn. There was real fear," Barry said. "...And the result was alienation, and society actually began to fray to the extent that a serious scientist that headed the division of communicable disease for the Army, and had been dean of the University of Michigan Medical School before the war (World War I) , said if this continues for a few more weeks, civilization could easily disappear from the face of the Earth."

"People in some places actually starved to death, because everyone else was afraid to bring them food."

Speaking to WWJ's Rob St. Mary about the history and science of pandemics, Barry said there's a lot we can learn from the past as we prepare for the battle against the new Coronavirus, COVID-19

"The biggest lesson from 1918 is to tell the truth," Barry said. 

"Unfortunately we have leadership right now that started out saying this is a hoax. This is not a hoax, and it is not a drill. This is serious. It is not the end of the world; but it is something that you need to take very seriously."

**Want to learn more? Click to podcast play button above to listen to the full interview.