The 2020 coronavirus and 1918 Spanish influenza pandemics have many differences and share many similarities, but they also converge on one key point: their impact on the economy and employment and, in particular, how wealthier people had better odds of surviving their respective pandemics.
Both pandemics involve novel, highly contagious, respiratory viruses, spread across the world in a matter of months and, as of August 2020, COVID-19 — like the 1918 influenza — lacks a vaccine. During the 1918 pandemic, people wore masks and employed social distancing as much as possible instead, just like today.
A new working paper released Monday looked at the effects of the 1918 influenza and COVID-19 pandemics on mortality and the economy, plus the role of non-pharmaceutical interventions such as mask wearing and social distancing, and the impact on workers and socioeconomic status.
Even though both of these pandemics occurred 100 years apart, they had