COVID-19 Threatens to Upstage Spanish Flu as the Worst Pandemic in Human History


Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

A laboratory Scientist, Mary Odeh has warned that with the increasing numbers of people infected with COVID-19 growing globally, it threatens to upstage the Spanish flu of 1918 as the worst pandemic in human history.

Spanish flu killed more than 20 million people at the time.

The expert who spoke with THISDAY in a telephone interview recently, lamented that doomsday prophets who begin to equally distribute WhatsApp broadcast messages highlighting conspiracy theories and apocalyptic revelations were scuttling the fight against the deadly virus in the country.

She therefore called on the federal government to strictly enforce self-isolation on people who just returned from high risk areas.

She stressed that Nigerians need to recognise their role in the fight against the deadly virus, while warning that people should desist from sharing information from unverified sources.

Aside regular self-hygiene, the expert said there was need for people to sterilise their phones’ surface regularly.

“Within the last 500 years, the world had recorded over 15 pandemics – from the Spanish Flu of 1918 which killed an average of 20 million people and remains the worst pandemic in modern human history, to the Asian flu of 1958 and Swine Flu of 2009.

Odeh stated: “Unlike Swine flu, COVID-19 pandemic is hitting a more connected world. Energy is exerted by relevant authorities to keep the public well informed as well as controlling the generous flow of fake news.

“COVID-19 infection numbers are growing globally and without the right measures, it threatens to upstage the Spanish flu of 1918 as the worst pandemic in human history.

“If history has taught us anything at all, it is that in such dire times, personal responsibility determines the effectiveness of government policies.”