The coronavirus challenge is affecting the daily lives of people all around the world. But as many Britons seal themselves away in their homes – in a bid to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 – others have chosen to disregard the rules. Health Secretary Matt Hancock described those ignoring social distancing measures as “very selfish” today. He fears that more lives will be lost if people do not take heed of the advice not to go within two metres of each other. Similarities have been made between coronavirus and Spanish Flu, which struck towards the end of World War 1. If history is to repeat itself, unearthed accounts claim that the modern virus may actually wipe itself out.
According to a 2018 Smithsonian magazine article that analysed the Spanish Flu outbreak – it could be argued that natural selection may lead to the demise of coronavirus.
Back in 1918, mass immunisation against the flu was not practiced in the same way it is today and so previous exposure was believed to have been vital to helping people to overcome the virus.
Those who had lived for longer and experienced different strains of the flu – prior to Spanish Flu – were better equipped to fight off the virus than their younger counterparts.
Additionally, while more lethal forms of the virus were able to “kill their host rapidly” – this also meant that host was less able to spread that deadly strain.
The self-destruction of stronger strains could lead to “less lethal strains” of the “rapidly mutating virus” evolving and spreading among populations – which humans were more equipped to fight off.
The Smithsonian wrote: “This is predicted by models of natural selection.”
While the previous pandemic was particularly dreadful, it is argued that we are in a considerably better position than we would have been during the early-1900s.
Today, scientists are more capable of handling large numbers of sick and dying patients, and antibiotics have dramatically advanced.
This coupled with the “common-sense practices” of self-isolation, social distancing and hand-washing – will all help in humanity’s fight against coronavirus.