As the 1918 Flu Emerged, Cover-Up and Denial Helped It Spread

The “Spanish flu” was used to describe the influenza pandemic of 1918 and 1919 and its name suggests that the epidemic began in Spain. But the term is actually an improper term and indicates a key fact: the countries involved in the First World War did not accurately report their flu epidemics.

Spain remained neutral throughout the First World War and its press freely reported its cases of influenza, including when the king of Spain Alfonso XIII contracted it in the spring of 1918. This led to think wrongly that the flu originated or was at worst in Spain.

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