Hudson Valley historian looks back on first 6 months of coronavirus pandemic
Back in March, News 12's Scott McGee asked a Hudson Valley historian what the country needed to do to avoid a repeat of the tragic Spanish Flu. Six months and more than 200,000 American coronavirus death later, McGee asked what went wrong - and who is to blame.
Six months ago, Kenneth Davis was hoping the country would avoid the mistakes the United States made a century ago. The Spanish Flu took the lives of nearly 700,000 Americans.
Last week, the U.S. marked the grim milestone of 200,000 deaths related to the coronavirus.
"A lot of these deaths I believe were preventable," said Davis. "Lies and propaganda, censorship are deadly. Ignoring science is lethal. Misplaced priorities are absolutely deadly. These are things we have failed to do as a nation."
Davis found the news that President Donald Trump purposefully downplayed the seriousness of COVID-19 particularly troubling.
"If he had said six months ago, 'The CDC says we should all wear a mask, be a good American and wear a mask,' we would have saved a lot of lives. Unfortunately he didn't do that," said Davis.
We now know masks do help protect ourselves and others from the virus. We also know some predictions did not turn out the way scientists and officials had hoped. The virus did not subside in the summer months, as it did in 1918. But can the Spanish Flu still teach us a lesson today?
"In 1918, it was September when it really came back and was explosive," said Davis. "In the fall, we tend to do those things viruses love, which is crowd together. Viruses thrive and love crowds."
Davis says he hopes for better guidance on the national level to help get rid of coronavirus.
The Spanish Flu of 1918 essentially fizzled out in the summer of 1919 due to herd immunity, but only after some 50 million people across the globe had died.