Flu deaths rise when cities get pro sports teams: study

New research has implications for reopening arenas to fans during COVID-19 pandemic

Flu deaths rise when cities get pro sports teams: studyWhen one of the big four professional sports leagues in North America expands into a new market, it brings with it an increase in influenza-related deaths, according to a sport management researcher looking to inform the conversation around getting sports fans back in stands in the midst of a pandemic. “We wanted to find out…

Our pandemic response seems like a guessing game

From suspect modelling to poor stockpiling to a lack of perspective on historic events, we failed to be ready for COVID-19

Our pandemic response seems like a guessing gameBy Deborah Prabhu and Allan Bonner Where will the COVID-19 pandemic fit into history? What will be the lessons learned, if any? Our guess is we’re learning how little we did to prepare and how much we’re guessing in response as we go along. We had three pandemics in the 20th century. The Spanish Flu…

Past becomes present for history grad who studied Spanish flu

Why the COVID-19 pandemic feels familiar to Suzanna Wagner, who wrote her thesis on Canadian nurses in the First World War

Past becomes present for history grad who studied Spanish fluDefending her master’s thesis just two days before COVID-19 forced the University of Alberta to close was strange enough. Receiving a call from the Edmonton Journal for her take on the pandemic was downright surreal. “It’s really odd as a historian to suddenly have people in the current media asking, ‘Tell us what happened in the past,’” said…

Use science, not speculation, to save seniors and businesses

Locking down society, and business, makes no sense in the battle against COVID-19. It's time to take a more measured approach

Use science, not speculation, to save seniors and businessesChris Hadfield has posted a video on YouTube entitled An Astronaut’s Guide to Self Isolation, in which he offers some valuable advice. The Canadian pilot and astronaut spent 166 days in the International Space Station in isolation. He says it’s an extremely dangerous environment where astronauts thrive in finding ways to be productive. The number…

COVID-19’s elder virus brother, the Spanish flu

An estimated 500 million people contracted the Spanish flu, and the death toll was between 17 million and 50 million

COVID-19’s elder virus brother, the Spanish fluAs our world deals with the coronavirus pandemic, a couple of interesting personal stories came out of Europe on March 29. The Guardian reported that Hilda Churchill, a 108-year-old woman in Salford, England, became (quite likely) the oldest British person to die from COVID-19 symptoms. And Turkey’s Anadolu Agency and Fox News reported that a…

Flu pandemic of 1918 brutal, virulent killer

One hundred years ago, a flu pandemic swept across the world, killing tens of millions of people, particularly those in the prime of life

Flu pandemic of 1918 brutal, virulent killerFrom the wet and windswept northwest of Ireland to rural southwestern Ontario, the flu pandemic of 1918 to 1920 was remorseless. My mother and my wife’s father lost siblings to an illness where death might come within 24 hours of first symptoms. And sometimes it was particularly brutal. Historian John Barry has described it this…

The Coronavirus – 1918 all over again?

We are no better prepared than we were for the great influenza pandemic of 1918

The Coronavirus – 1918 all over again?Clusters of a dozen or so deaths may get nonstop “if-it-bleeds-it-leads” press coverage. But the lack of preparedness for the really, really big threats may be met with virtual radio silence – until panic breaks out. The worst, possibly existential, threat is the stealthy, invisible one that multiplies exponentially –  in the accurate sense of…

Here’s why you should get your flu shot every year

Influenza is one of Canada’s top 10 infectious diseases and has a catastrophic impact on society's most vulnerable

Here’s why you should get your flu shot every yearDid you get your flu shot this year? Many Canadians did not, even though safe and effective flu vaccines have been available for more than 60 years. And while the consequences of not having a flu vaccine are inconvenient for some – a few days of feeling unwell – they can be devastating for others.…

Antibiotics no cure for colds or flu

And using an antibiotic when not needed makes patients more vulnerable to antibiotic-resistant infections

Antibiotics no cure for colds or fluBy Guylène Thériault McGill University and Wendy Levinson University of Toronto Cold and flu season for many Canadians means getting ready to have their lives and routines thrown off by painful and annoying symptoms. This can mean days off work or school dealing with sore throats, nasal congestion and fever. For parents, it can be…

Why I continue to get the flu vaccine for myself and my children

The vaccine doesn’t fully protect from the flu – it's one of many strategies, like frequent hand washing, adequate rest and a balanced diet

Why I continue to get the flu vaccine for myself and my childrenIt’s time again for the familiar “Get the shot, not the flu” campaign. It comes every year around this time and we're frequently reminded that it isn’t too late to get the flu vaccine if you haven’t taken advantage of the free campaign. The flu vaccine is recommended by several Canadian public health agencies, such…