The Covid-19 pandemic is indeed a devastating global disaster that claimed millions of lives. Each day, we read up about news of people who have died due to Covid-19 and the rising number of cases nationwide. With tons of livelihoods lost and a possible economic downfall in the nation, everyone is hoping that the Covid-19 situation in the country would improve.
However, this isn’t the first time a pandemic occurred globally. The Spanish flu, also known as the 1918 influenza pandemic, was an unusually deadly influenza pandemic caused by the H1N1 influenza A virus. This virus resulted in an estimated death toll to be somewhere between 20 million and 50 million. Over the past 1 year of the pandemic, researchers and scientists have been drawing up comparisons between the Spanish flu and Covid-19.
In a similar fashion, Malaysia’s Health Minister, Datuk Dr Adham Baba, during a press conference on 12th July, tried to compare Covid-19 to the Spanish flu. However, his comparisons were futile as everyone was confused about the facts presented and humoured over a blunder he made on stage. Throughout his press conference at Universiti Putra Malaysia, Dr Adham Baba mentioned the Spanish flu, multiple times. However, he has, unfortunately, misidentified the Spanish flu as the Spanish fly.
1. #SpanishFly became a trending topic on Twitter, after Health Minister Dr Adham Baba misidentified the Spanish Flu during a speech.
He also drew flak for presenting incorrect facts on the global Covid-19 death toll, as well as on the timeline and death toll of the Spanish Flu. pic.twitter.com/0aYwjv8jSl
— BFM News (@NewsBFM) July 12, 2021
According to the clip, that has made its rounds on social media, Dr Adham Baba claimed that globally, 2.8 million have died from Covid-19. “The Spanish Fly in 1919 or 1916, had more or less than 1 million deaths, not more than that, in the span of two years.” After using the term, “Spanish Fly” quite a few times, he clarified it as the “Spanish Virus”.
What is the Spanish Fly, actually?
Well, you might be surprised, but it’s actually a real thing! The Spanish Fly is actually an aphrodisiac which is used to heighten arousal and excitement during sexual intercourse. This is made from, a kind of crushed insect called Spanish Flies (which is a misnomer, because they’re actually beetles) and popular in Europe. This was popularly used by our ancestors and it actually worked because the chemical produced is actually a natural toxin that leads to inflammation of the body, or more specifically, the groin area — leading to an erection in males or a swollen labium in females.
Apart from this regretful mistake during Dr Adham Baba’s press conference, there were a few pieces of information that were wrong too. There were tons of misinformation regarding the Spanish flu. Therefore, here are a few facts cleared up with scientific backing from the World Health Organization.
- At the time of writing, over 4 million people worldwide have died of Covid-19.
- The Spanish Flu happened from 1918 to 1920. The death toll is agreed to be around 20-50 million deaths, making it one of the deadliest pandemic in recorded history.
- The Spanish Flu is not a plague. Plagues are spread by bacterial means, whereas Covid-19 and the Spanish Flu are influenzas spread by viral means.
- The Spanish Flu, while named as such, did not originate in Spain. In fact, it was first observed in the United States, and then later in Europe. However, it was named as such because Spain, a neutral country in World War I, could freely report on it in their press, leading people to believe it came from Spain.
This was definitely not the first time that Dr Adham Baba made headlines with his misinformation. In fact, last year, he suggested drinking warm water as a treatment for Covid-19. Nevertheless, it is very important to read up on evidence-based articles when it comes to the pandemic and health matters. Being an informed person, could probably save your own life too!
Source: MSN via The Rakyat Post