Spanish Flu shock: How royal led to naming of pandemic
Coronavirus has been tightening its grip across the globe in the last few months. Although the deadly infection started in Wuhan, China, there has been a great deal of public backlash against calling the illness ‘the Chinese Virus’ over fears of increasing xenophobia. Yet, the criticism US President Donald Trump has faced since dubbing coronavirus ‘the Chinese Virus’ has led some members of the public to point out that the Spanish Flu was named after a country too.
However, according to Royal Central, Spanish Flu actually originated from France at the end of World War 1 – but it was named after Spain due to the famous royal who caught it.
Writing for Royal Central last week, commentator Oskar Aanmoen explained: “The hospital camp in Étaples in France was identified by researchers as being at the centre of the Spanish Flu outbreak.”
With soldiers travelling through the camp on a daily basis, the Spanish Flu spread easily through the ranks.
Yet, the UK, the US, Germany and France all decided to minimise news of the infection through wartime censors to reduce public fear and hysteria.
As the article explained, “this allowed the disease to spread almost freely in Europe and the US in the early stage
In contrast, Spain did not take part in World War 1 and sinews of the illness became more widespread within the country.
The Spanish monarch King Alfonso XIII was one of the first victims of the pandemic.
The Spanish Flu subsequently became front page news in 1918 – thus leading to the assumption that this was an illness which originated from Spain.
It was then named the Spanish Flu by most of Europe – while the Spanish themselves referred to it as the French Flu, believing it had originated from there.
The King infected Spain’s Prime Minister Antonio Maura, and so he was put into isolation to avoid spreading the outbreak.
As Royal Central explained, “after being seriously ill for a long period, the King recovered completely”.
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500 million people around the world were infected with the Spanish Flu, while the estimated number of deaths ranges from 17 million to 100 million.
Like coronavirus, the Spanish Flu was a respiratory illness – however, the current pandemic is not believed to be as deadly.
Still, to prevent the spread of the outbreak the Royal Family is said to be taking measures to protect themselves.
The Queen has relocated to Windsor Castle and cancelled public engagements where large crowds were expected to gather, to enforce social distancing.
Prince Philip was reportedly helicoptered to Windsor to be with his wife for the first time since February earlier today.
The Queen also cancelled a state visit from the Emperor and Empress of Japan which was expected this Spring.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are believed to be taking measures to protect themselves in their home in Canada.
The couple and their young son Archie are said to be self-isolating on Vancouver Island, and keeping interactions with other people to a minimum.
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