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Home Health Trump: 1918 Spanish Flu ‘probably ended’ WWII, which began in 1939

Trump: 1918 Spanish Flu ‘probably ended’ WWII, which began in 1939

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Trump: 1918 Spanish Flu ‘probably ended’ WWII, which began in 1939
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President Donald TrumpPresident Donald Trump

President Donald Trump

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst


  • During an eventful press briefing on Monday, President Donald Trump incorrectly claimed that in 1917, the Spanish Flu “probably ended the second World War.”
  • World War II began more than two decades after the pandemic in 1939.
  • The president likely misspoke and meant to reference World War I, the final months of which overlapped with the deadly spread of the flu pandemic, which also began in the summer of 1918, not 1917.
  • The deployment of troops during World War I likely contributed to the spread of the 1918 flu due to crowded conditions and intercontinental movement, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Trump also said during the press conference that the Spanish Flu, which he referenced as the “great pandemic,” killed anywhere between 50 to 100 million people.
  • The 1918 pandemic, which was caused by an H1N1 virus, infected as many as 500 million people worldwide, and it killed at least 50 million people, according to the CDC.
  • Comparisons have been drawn between the deadly 1918 pandemic and the current COVID-19 pandemic due to its similarity in a rapid and deadly spread.
  • Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates said there are lessons from the handling of the Spanish flu that could be applied to the national and global coronavirus response.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

—Francis DiPersio | HPP (@FrankAtHPP) August 10, 2020

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Donald Trump
Spanish Flu
World War II
World War I

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