Pandemic on Netflix: How long have previous pandemics lasted?

Pandemic on Netflix has become one of the most-watched documentaries in recent weeks following the declaration of the global coronavirus pandemic. The factual series is an eye-opener which follows doctors and science experts as they try to curb deadly viruses before they spread even further. With the coronavirus outbreak continuing to change everyone’s lives, fans are keen to find out how long previous pandemics have lasted.

Families were shocked to hear how the world may not see normality again for at least six months as the coronavirus continues to impact all aspects of everyday life.

With the prospect of a cure or vaccine still way off in the future, everyone is keen to know just how long this pandemic is set to last.

The Government and health experts have warned this will be a long-term ride and front line staff are working around the clock to find medicines to cure it.

Although the series Pandemic, which came out before the coronavirus had a global impact, does not focus on COVID-19 it does touch on previous pandemics.


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One of the first pandemics it mentions is the Spanish Flu, which was one of the first recorded pandemics which had a global impact.

The influenza pandemic was first recorded in 1918 and it was caused by the H1N1 virus, contracted by soldiers returning from the First World War.

During the pandemic, more than 50 million people died across the world and a quarter of the population in Britain was affected.

As there was no cure for such a pandemic at the time, the first licensed flu vaccine appeared in America in the 1940s.

The Spanish Flu pandemic ended by the summer of 1919, meaning it lasted for about a year.

Since then, there have been a number of other influenza pandemics including one from 1957 to 1958 which killed two million people worldwide.

Another pandemic from 1968 to 1969 killed about one million people across the world – a pattern starts to emerge as the pandemics all tend to last a year.

The next pandemic to hit was Swine Flu which occurred between 2009 and 2010, with the first case identified in Mexico in April 2009.

In August 2010, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed the pandemic was officially over, with most cases in Britain being relatively mild.

Swine Flu is a type of seasonal flu caused by the H1N1 virus which is now included in the annual flu vaccine.

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With the coronavirus pandemic having started on New Year’s Eve in 2019, it could be the world faces a year of fighting the virus.

However, there is no knowing for certain how long the coronavirus will unsettle the lives of people across the world.

Dr Jenny Harries, Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England, said the number of infections could fall within three weeks when the virus peaks in the UK.

However strict social distancing measures could last for a “significant period” according to Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove.


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On the BBC’s Andrew Marr show Mr Gove said: “So I can’t make an accurate prediction but everyone, I think, does have to prepare for a significant period when these measures are still in place.

“I wish I could predict when this will end, but it’s vitally important that at the moment and for weeks ahead the people maintain the strict social distancing guidelines that have been laid out.”

The Pandemic docuseries offers an introduction to life on the front lines with doctors in America and Asia battling the flu.

The series also follows researchers who are battling to develop a universal vaccine which would curb all kinds of virus pandemics.

The series is made up of six episodes and it shows how various outbreaks have impacted economies, travel and a sense of community across the world.

Pandemic is available to watch on Netflix now

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