COVID-19 and the 1918-20 ‘Spanish’ Flu, a ‘Progressive’ Century Apart

This article is taken from a talk I gave on August 16, 2020 at the 38th Annual Meeting of Doctors for Disaster Preparedness in Las Vegas. I compare the two pandemics and touch upon the ‘Progressive’ Century that separates them. With Covid-19 and its sequelae we live in challenging times that call for disaster preparedness. The text includes some of the slides I used for this talk.

The Covid-19 pandemic has been compared with 1918-1920 ‘Spanish’ flu a century ago. I will address this and compare their respective Mortality, Lockdowns (or lack thereof), Treatment, and subsequent Depressions. And finally, with Covid our Brave New World.

Professionally, I have maintained a long-term interest in viruses, vaccines, HIV-AIDS, and vitamin D and have written articles and given talks on these subjects, including one on HIV-AIDS at the 33rd Doctors for Disaster Preparedness meeting in Ontario, CA. Most are on and are grouped by subject on my website


The Great Influenza: T... John M. Barry Best Price: $2.99 Buy New $6.25 (as of 04:55 UTC - Details) More than 30 million Americans had the ‘Spanish’ Flu in a  population of 105 million, and with 675,000 deaths, a 2.3% fatality rate.

“Fast forward” to today. The Director-General of the UN’s World Health Organization, Tedros Ghebreyesus, is an Ethiopian politician and the first non-physician to head this body. He declared early on that Covid-19 has a 3.4% mortality rate.  With a rate this high Covid could kill many millions of people worldwide.

This spawned a global panic. The Director-General, however, left out people who became infected with this virus but do not get sick and were not tested. Up to 80% of people who test positive for Covid have no symptoms or only have mild ones imitating a cold. Counting them would make the mortality rate for Covid-19 substantially lower.

1918-20 ‘Spanish’ flu:

The 1918-20 influenza pandemic killed between 15 and 100 million people worldwide, 0.8% to 5.6% in a population of 1.8 billion. Now, with the population 7.8 billion, a pandemic of comparable lethality could kill between 60 to 430 million people.

The “Spanish” flu started in Kansas. It spread in 3 main waves. The first one, from March to June 1918, was relatively mild. Soldiers called it “the 3-day flu.” It was seldom fatal, with a mortality rate near 0.5% (5 deaths in a thousand cases), close to that of seasonal flu. The second wave, from August to December was more lethal. One observer noted, “While the first wave of flu in 1918 was relatively nonlethal, the second made up for it in spades.” Two million American soldiers were shipped to Europe to fight in World War I. More died from the flu than in battle.

The Spanish flu targeted healthy young adults, people between age 20 and 40.

The nations fighting in World War I censored any mention of this influenza pandemic, which laid waste to both sides. Spain stayed neutral and did not censor its newspapers. They reported it and thus came the name “Spanish flu.”

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SARS-CoV-2 (Systemic Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2), the virus that causes Covid-19 is one of some seven coronaviruses that infect humans. Several of them cause the common cold. SARS-CoV[-1] and MERS-CoV (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus) are two that kill people. The 2002 SARS epidemic caused 774 deaths and the 2015 MERS one, 866 deaths. They did not come in waves, and the current coronavirus will likely not have a more severe second wave either.

The best source on accurate and unbiased facts about Covid-19 is the independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit research group Swiss Policy Research. It publishes frequently updated extensive Covid facts in 25 languages.

Elderly people are the high-risk group with Covid-19, especially those with pre-existing conditions like obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. The average age of Covid deaths is 82 in the U.S., 86 in Sweden. People under age 50 have a close to zero risk of dying from Covid. Ones between infancy and age 19 have a 10 times greater chance of perishing in a car accident than dying from an infection caused by this coronavirus.

Most healthy older adults without pre-existing medical conditions do well and have immune systems strong enough to handle the virus.

The jury is still out on whether SARS-CoV-2 is bioengineered and if the Biosafety Level 4 laboratory in Wuhan, China did indeed release it, presumably by accident. In any event, it is not lethal enough qualify as a bioweapon.

Migrating water birds spread the Spanish flu virus to humans.

The Diamond Princess and Overall Covid Lethality:

Over the holidays my wife and I took a two-week cruise to Hawaii on the Star Princess, sister ship to the Diamond Princess, from Los Angeles and returning there on January 4. The Diamond Princess finished a roundtrip 15-day tour of Southeast Asia on February 2, from Japan. It had 2,666 passengers (median age 69) and 1,045 crew (with a median age of 36), totaling 3,711 people onboard. Some passengers tested positive for Covid on the cruise, and Japanese authorities quarantined the ship when it docked back at Yokohama—its passengers for up to three weeks and crew, four weeks.

Health workers tested almost everyone on board for Covid in this “ship laboratory” and found that 712 (19%) were infected—567 passengers (21%) and 145 crew members (13.8%). There were 14 deaths (0.4%), only in passengers over age 70.

Swiss Policy Research cites an increasing number of studies showing that the overall lethality of Covid-19 is between 0.1% and 0.4%, considerably lower than initially thought. Likewise, the CDC now estimates that the Covid-19 death rate is 0.2 to 0.4% (2 to 4 deaths in 1,000 people), like the seasonal flu.

And then there is New York City, with a Covid mortality rate averaging 7.6% in its boroughs, substantially higher than Covid fatality rates other cities, like the five largest ones in Texas that average 1.6%.

Along with counting people who actually die from the virus, officials will also count people with the virus as a Covid death but who die from something else. Last month Washington state revised its Covid death numbers downward when it was revealed that anyone who died for any reason who also had coronavirus was listed as a “Covid-19 death,” even if the cause of death had nothing to do with Covid-19. Some hospitals have put Covid-19 on death certificates as the cause of death without a Covid test ever being done. It is a true fact that authorities have overcounted Covid-19 deaths. COVID-19: The Pandemic... MacKenzie, Debora Buy New $27.00 (as of 03:02 UTC - Details)

Up to 80% of people with Covid remain asymptomatic or have symptoms that mimic a common cold and escape getting tested. Keeping them out of the equation makes the case fatality rate falsely high.

Governors Forcing Covid Patients into Nursing Homes:

One percent of Americans live in nursing homes, but they account for more than 40% of all Covid

deaths. In Canada, 80% of Covid deaths have come from nursing homes.

Under an Executive Order that Governor Cuomo signed on March 25, he had 6,300 Covid infected patients shipped to Nursing Homes in NY state. Families were prohibited from visiting their loved ones and checking up on them. On April 23 when nursing homes objected to his plan of prohibiting them from screening for COVID-19, he said that they “don’t have a right to object” and, “That is the rule and that is the regulation and they have to comply with that.” (He rescinded these orders on May 10.) This helps explain why New York City has such a high Covid mortality rate compared with other cities.

Four other governors shown above (all Democrats) also placed Covid-infected patients in nursing homes.  Social media has called this a “boomer remover.”

One observer, Jim Quinn, puts it this way: “This nasty virus, supposedly let loose from a Wuhan biolab, is less deadly than the annual flu among those under 65 years old and more deadly when purposely introduced into nursing homes by politicians.”


Computer models in the UK and one funded by Bill Gates at the University of Washington greatly overpredicted the number of deaths Covid-19 would cause, both forecasting that more than two million Americans would die. This prompted government officials across the country (and worldwide) to shut down the economy and order people to stay at home, without considering its ethical and economic implications. The Pandemic Century: ... Honigsbaum, Mark Best Price: $14.72 Buy New $14.72 (as of 04:53 UTC - Details)

And then there is social distancing. There is no medical or scientific evidence, however, that justifies this.

Adverse consequences on human health and behavior from lockdowns and social isolation include domestic violence, child abuse, suicide, other potentially fatal medical conditions going untreated, deaths from drug overdoses, civil unrest, and a substantial rise in shootings and crimes. These consequences of lockdowns have yet to be fully reckoned with and measured. They will clearly surpass Covid deaths.

In an interview with Dr. Joseph Mercola, Barbara Loe Fisher declares:

“The authoritarian lockdown approach by governments to the coronavirus pandemic has been framed as a choice between safety and liberty … Public health officials have persuaded lawmakers to divide the American people into two classes: those who are considered “essential” and allowed to continue working and those who are considered “nonessential” and barred from earning a living.

Small businesses and services judged to be ‘nonessential’ have been forced to close their doors … while, paradoxically, everyone is free to roam through grocery stores, drug stores and big box stores like Walmart, Target, and Home Depot, owned by big corporations … What we have allowed to be done in the name of public health has no parallel in American history or human history.”

Face Masks:

Face masks do not work for respiratory viruses. SARS-CoV-2 is 0.125 micrometers (microns) in diameter. The openings in N95 masks are 0.3 micrometers in diameter.

Randomized controlled studies show no significant reduction in virus transmission and do not support edicts to wear masks. Plus, face masks are dehumanizing. They represent submission to authority and are a sign of obedience. Masks can impair breathing, cause hypoxia, a lowered oxygen content in the blood, and hypercapnia, increased carbon dioxide levels that can cause headaches and fainting spells.

Hours spent wearing an N95 mask can decrease blood oxygenation by 20% and cause loss of consciousness. A man in New Jersey driving his car while wearing this mask passed out from a lack of oxygen and crashed into a pole. Vaccine Epidemic: How ... Best Price: $7.50 Buy New $12.99 (as of 06:30 UTC - Details)

Even the New England Journal of Medicine admits, “We know that wearing a mask outside health care facilities offers little, if any, protection from infection… In many cases, the desire for widespread masking is a reflexive reaction to anxiety over the pandemic.”

I say this having worn a face mask daily for 40 years in my work as a heart surgeon. A new one each day.



There were no vaccines for the Spanish flu, but vaccine companies a century later are working nonstop to develop one for Covid-19.

Human trials to confidently establish a vaccine’s efficacy and safety, however, take time, from 18 months up to 5 years. And 93% of vaccine trials fail.

Vaccines for flu viruses have a checkered history. Public health officials had to recall the one made for the 1976 Swine flu when it was found to cause Guillain-Barré Syndrome—immune system damage with slowly progressive paralysis.

Vaccine officials promoted the vaccine Pandemix for the 2009 Swine flu and fast-tracked it without the requisite clinical trials. This vaccine caused narcolepsy—difficulty sleeping at night associated with night terrors, hallucination, and mental health problems, mainly in children.

Pharmaceutical Agents:

The Trump-attacking media chastised President Trump for promoting the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine for Covid-19. An increasing number of studies, however, show that hydroxychloroquine does work. The drug must be started early and given at the right dose (400mg a day), not when the disease is far advanced and using doses 5x normal (2,000 mg), as studies that show no benefit do.

Remdesivir, given intravenously, provides only a marginal benefit and is not worth its $3,000 cost. Sixty 200 mg tablets of hydroxychloroquine cost $20.

Natural Remedies:

One technique for dealing with the Spanish flu a century ago, little known today, is fresh air. Medics then found that severely ill flu patients nursed outdoors recovered better that those treated indoors.

It turns out that outdoor air contains antimicrobial hydroxyl radicals generated from the interaction of sunlight with ozone in the air that are a natural disinfectant.

Sunlight itself is germicidal. Its UV rays kill viruses in the air, and its UVB rays synthesize vitamin D in the skin. Heat, >80.6º F, also kills coronaviruses.

Vitamin D:

Fifteen years ago I researched and wrote two articles on vitamin D, “Vitamin D in a New Light,” and “Avoid Flu Shots, Take Vitamin D Instead.” They have stood the test of time, as this March 2020 review confirms (Grant WB, Lahore H, McDonnell SL, etal. Evidence that Vitamin D Supplementation Could Reduce Risk of Influenza and COVID Infections and Death. Nutrients 2020;12(6):1629-1653. [157 references])

Among the 13 vitamins that our bodies need, vitamin D is a hormone, a 3-carbon-ring steroid hormone. In addition to its well-known role in calcium metabolism, vitamin D controls the expression of more than 200 genes and the proteins they produce:

  • ones that express mediators which regulate the immune system
  • that release neurotransmitters, like serotonin, which influence one’s mental state
  • proteins that halt cancer by inducing programmed cell death (apoptosis)
  • and Vitamin D activates genes in immune-system macrophages that make antimicrobial peptides, antibiotics the body produces to attack and destroy invading bacteria and viruses.

This study correlated Covid severity with a patient’s vitamin D blood level. They found that 86% of Covid patients with a mild illness had a normal vitamin D blood level, 30 ng/ml or above. Whereas a substantial number of Covid cases that became severe or critical had vitamin D deficiency.

When I worked at the Seattle VA hospital, I measured vitamin D blood levels in all my heart surgery patients. I was shocked to find that only 22% of the vets had a normal vitamin D level. The level was insufficient (20-29) in 12%; deficient in 56%, with levels between 8-19; and 10% were severely deficient, with a vitamin D blood level of less than 8 ng/ml.

Nursing home residents have the lowest vitamin D levels. They are kept out of the sun and are not given vitamin D supplements. Milk is fortified with vitamin D, but at 100 IU per serving one would have to drink 200 8-oz. glasses of milk to obtain as much vitamin D as skin will make fully exposed to the noonday sun.

Black Americans die from Covid at 3 times the rate of white people, most likely because they tend to be more vitamin D deficient. Their dark skin blocks sunlight from rapidly synthesizing vitamin D from the 7-dehydrocholesterol in it.

Another vitamin, vitamin C given intravenously in high doses is proving to be an effective way to salvage critically ill Covid patients. COVID-19: Lockdowns on... Betrus, Michael Buy New $16.99 (as of 03:38 UTC - Details)

With the Spanish flu, young healthy adults would wake up in the morning feeling well, start drowning in their own inflammation as the day wore on and be dead by midnight—from a macrophage-induced severe inflammatory reaction to the virus called a “cytokine storm.” Caught in a cytokine storm, one’s own immune system could kill a flu victim, something researchers have found that vitamin D can prevent.

Treatment Protocol:

A good treatment protocol for Covid-19 is vitamin D, 10,000 units per day; zinc, 75-100 mg per day; hydroxychloroquine, 400 mg per day; quercetin, 500 mg to 1,000 mg per day; and, if necessary, azithromycin, an antibiotic, up to 500 mg per day to prevent bacterial infections.

The central component is zinc, which inhibits RNA polymerase activity of coronaviruses, blocking virus replication. Hydroxychloroquine and quercetin, a widely available plant flavonoid, enhance the cellular absorption zinc, helping it to do this.

For the Spanish flu, some physicians advised patients to take Aspirin, up to 30 grams a day. A dose that high is toxic. It causes pulmonary edema, a buildup of fluid in the lungs. Aspirin was a relatively new drug in 1918. Physicians today consider 60 to 300 milligrams, 0.06 to 0.3 grams, to be the best and safest dose for aspirin.


1913 was a bad year. Woodrow Wilson, a Progressive, became president. And in 1913 two methods were enacted enabling progressive, big government to obtain the money needed to do all the things it wants to do: The 16th Amendment giving Congress the right to tax people’s incomes, and the Federal Reserve Act, providing a new, unlimited way to print money. And now by simply tapping keys on a computer. Today, more than 99% of currency exists only in digital form.

With the Spanish flu, until the Armistice ended World War I, on November 11, 1918, President Wilson kept the nation fixed on fighting and winning the war, ignoring the worsening influenza epidemic. During peace negotiations in Paris, on April 6, 1919, Wilson caught the Spanish flu. He became seriously ill, returned home, and four months later had a severe stroke.

The Spanish flu helped bring on the 1920-21 Depression. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 47%; industrial production fell 32%; and corporate profits, 92%. The newly established Fed stood aside and the government, with Wilson disabled, did not provide any “fiscal stimulus” to help cure this Depression. With the national debt reduced by one-third and tax rates lowered, the economy recovered quickly on its own.

The Covid pandemic has pricked the debt-fueled Everything Bubble and has likely brought on a Greater Depression, or as some say, like Gerald Celente, the Greatest Depression. Maintained with multi-trillion-dollar bailouts, it could persist for years like the Great Depression did.

The depression that we may endure will have started with Covid triggering mass layoffs, disrupting capital and trade flows. Like knocking down a series of dominoes (see Depression Dominoes), ultimately even the seemingly safest sectors of the economy—tech, healthcare, higher education, and finance—get crushed.

Today’s bankruptcies and unemployment rival that of the Great Depression. As Doug Casey puts it: “We’ve entered a downturn that is going to be longer, deeper, and different than the unpleasantness of 1929-1946.” And financial analyst Michael Pento: “This is a global depression just like we had in the 1930s combined with a 2008-style credit crisis.”

Brave New World

Covid-19 is sending us into a Brave New World, one where left-wing terrorists push a neoMarxist revolution and technocrats, an authoritarian technocracy.

Political and media narrative managers would have Americans live obediently under Covid lockdowns, wearing masks, and social distancing—George Floyd, Antifa, and Black Lives Matters protests and riots excepted.

The George Floyd Death

George Floyd died from a fatal dose of fentanyl. For some people a 3 ng/ml blood level of fentanyl is fatal. Floyd had 11 ng/ml of fentanyl in his blood along with 5.6 ng/ml of its metabolite norfentanyl, plus methamphetamine (19 ng/ml) and 3 other drugs. (Fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more powerful than heroin.)

An overdose of fentanyl can produce “excited delirium,” along with “wooden chest syndrome”—muscle rigidity of the larynx, chest wall, and diaphragm. George Floyd complained repeatedly of difficulty breathing and said he needed to lie down on the ground.

In recently released bodycam (body camera) footage, one officer, Thomas Lane, says, “[I] just worry about the excited delirium or whatever,” to which Sergeant Derek Chauvin says, “Well, that’s why we got the ambulance coming.”

Officer Chauvin restrained George Floyd using an approved knee-applied side neck hold, while another officer held his feet to keep him from failing about and using up what little oxygen he could breathe until the paramedics arrived.

The fentanyl-induced “wooden chest syndrome” caused George Floyd’s shortness of breath, not the policeman’s knee, applied later. The autopsy showed no trauma to the body.

The political/media’s narrative on George Floyd’s death is false. If they get a fair trial, Sergeant Derek Chauvin, charged with murdering Floyd, and the three officers under his command indicted for “aiding and abetting” him, will be found innocent.

Antifa and Black Lives Matter:

Antifa protestors and rioters are wreaking havoc in Portland and Seattle and tearing down statues across the country. Antifa is short for “anti-fascists.” They like communism.

Black Lives Matters declares on its website that its mission is to “eradicate white supremacy.”

People who say to its followers that “all lives matters” court trouble.

A recent Harvard graduate, Claira Janover, posted a TikTok video where she threatened to stab anyone who said to her that “All Lives Matter.” Dr. Leslie Neal-Boylan, Dean of the Nursing School at the  University of Massachusetts was fired after she sent an email to her staff saying, “Everyone’s Life Matters.”

And when confronted by a Black Lives Matters mob in Indianapolis, Jessica Whitaker, a 24-year-old nursing assistant, shown above with her 3-year-old son Greyson, insisted that “All Lives Matter.” As she walked away a person in the mob shot her in the head and killed her.

A more fitting name for this movement would be “Only Black Lives Matter.”

Fortunately, a substantial number of black Americans do not support this neoMarxist terrorist movement. As one poll shows, when asked to choose between “black lives matter” and “all lives matter,” a majority of black Americans pick, “all lives matter.”

This movement seeks to eliminate whiteness, like Hitler did with Jews, starting with cis-white males. It also seeks to extinguish white culture, including classical music and operas largely composed and performed by white people. This has begun by attacking the UK’s Royal Opera House for remaining “silent” about Black Lives Matter protests. (It reminds me of the fur protesters in the 1990s in Seattle harassing my wife and other women for wearing their winter fur coats to the opera house there.)


Americans today are becoming increasingly compelled to live under an authoritarian technocracy, which Whitney Webb describes in her article “Techno-Tyranny: How the US National Security State is Using Coronavirus to Fulfill an Orwellian Vision.”

In order to keep up with China in artificial intelligence, the Covid pandemic is enabling the Pentagon, intelligence community, and Silicon Valley to implement AI mass surveillance systems. They seek to remove obstacles that have prevented their implementation “under the guise of combating the coronavirus crisis.”

The John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 created the U.S. National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence. The Commission cites three “legacy systems” holding back adoption of AI-driven technologies: cash and credit/debit card payments, individual car ownership, and receiving medical attention from a human doctor.

In their place would come financial transactions done only with smart phones (and computers), ride-sharing driverless cars, and AI robotic medical care. Authoritarian technocrats also would have us stop shopping in stores, many of which are going bankrupt from the lockdown and buy everything online, enabling them to better track our purchases.


In Generations: The History of America’s Future, William Strauss and Neil Howe discuss how current generations mirror ones from the Anglo-American past and fall into four generational archetypes. These are the American generations alive today:

The Pew Research Center has found that only 17% of Black Lives Matter protesters were black; 46% were white, most of them Millennials under 35 years of age.

It would appear that a substantial number of Americans in the younger generations view their history and culture negatively. Public and private schools and colleges have taught them to view white people as a source of abuse and oppression.

Cycles and Turnings:

Rather than progress in a linear fashion, as commonly thought, Strauss and Howe posit that human history has a seasonal, cyclical nature. Each Cycle averages about 80 years, roughly equal to the human lifespan. Beginning with the Revolutionary Cycle (1704-1794), America is now in its fourth one, the Millennial Cycle (1946-2026?).

(The two Tables above are from my article “World War Redux, The Fourth Turning Fourth Time Around.”)

Each Cycle has 4 parts, termed Turnings—High, Awakening, Unraveling, and Crisis.

The ‘Spanish’ flu occurred in the 3rd Turning of the Great Power Cycle, Covid-19 in the 4th Turning Crisis of the current Millennial one.

Strauss and Howe name the Fourth Turning in each Cycle “Crisis” because in each case that is when the country’s institutional life gets torn down and rebuilt. The American Revolution arose in 4th Turning of America’s first Cycle; the Civil War in its second one; and the Great Depression and World War II in the third one. The 2008 Global Financial Crisis kicked off the 4th Turning Crisis in the current Millennial Cycle.

One hopes this 4th Turning does not trigger World War III.

On it, Strauss and Howe write:

“The risk of catastrophe will be very high. The nation could erupt into insurrection or civil violence, crack up geographically, or succumb to authoritarian rule. If there is a war, it is likely to be one of maximum risk and effort – in other words, a total war. Every Fourth Turning has registered an upward ratchet in the technology of destruction, and in mankind’s willingness to use it.”

If war can be avoided and humanity escape a nuclear holocaust, the outcome of this 4th Turning could be positive. They write:

“America could enter a new golden age, triumphantly applying shared values to improve the human condition. The rhythms of history do not reveal the outcome of the coming Crisis: All they suggest is the timing and dimension.”

We live in challenging times that call for disaster preparedness.