Pandemics of respiratory disease tend to come in waves, as the 1918 flu pandemic shows. After a relatively mild first wave, the illness receded before returning with renewed force in a new, mutated form – and it’s this second wave that accounted for most of the 50 million deaths.
Experts the Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus is unlikely to follow the same pattern, largely because it’s not as prone to mutation. But as Laura Spinney, author of Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How it Changed the World, writes in the New Statesman today, governments still need to be vigilant, and measures to prevent a resurgence of the virus could change society for years to come.
She examines the key areas for the next phase of the global response, and discusses how they will impact our lives.