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The Spanish flu first appeared on a Kansas farm and spread with the US military (Spanish flu, the big killer, on France 2).

Gestures barriers, masks, distancing were not born with the Covid, but with the Spanish flu, which killed 50 million between 1914 and 1919. Paul Le Grouyer’s documentary traces precisely how this epidemic changed the world.

See Spanish Flu, the great killer, an archival documentary that traces the way in which she struck down the globe between 1918 and 1919, naturally leads one to draw a parallel with the pandemic that strikes us today. Its director, Paul Le Grouyer, looks back for us on the most devastating epidemic in history.

“The Spanish flu spread in exactly the same way as the Covid-19. We know its original focus – a military camp in Kansas – as well as how it was distributed. In 1914, we were not in a frozen world at all, people moved and exchanged a lot. Sea travel, merchant traffic and daily activity in urban areas were very dense: we chose archive images that show it well … One of the big differences between the Spanish flu and the Covid is the number deaths: at least 50 million … “

“The promiscuity of American soldiers crammed into the ships that brought them to Europe was a catalyst for the epidemic. However, the US military cannot be said to have been lax. She used the right sanitary measures. But this virus was so contagious that it nevertheless managed to gain ground … However, the leitmotif of all the armies of the time was not to publicize this new virus. I recovered classified documents, in particular by the French army, which clearly state that there is danger, but that it should not be rumored … At the rate of commercial exchanges, the dockers – replaced today by machines – then served as a vector between sick travelers and populations around the world, and particularly in Africa. There, without drugs or vaccines, the disease was stopped by a herd immunity paid at a high price. “

To see The Spanish Flu, the great killer, documentary by Paul Le Grouyer, Wednesday September 29 at 10:50 p.m., on France 2.

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