To help students understand pandemics we can look at two earlier ones, Spanish ‘Flu which affected the general population, and HIV-AIDS which only affected particular minority groups in society and was not an airborne disease, but passed through body fluids.
The two pandemics have these advantages
a). “Distancing”, a PSHE term in which pupils engage with a topic to understand it better, without it being the exact social issue that is awaking in them anxiety or other emotional response;
b). a wealth of materials readily available in lesson plans for you;
c). photographic material, graphs and other useful art that is easy to locate for pupils to attach to their project work. This could even serve as case study work for GCSE Geography depending on exam board topic options.
d). Both the Spanish ‘Flu pandemic and AIDS pandemic have enough material in them for a monograph project for KS3 pupils..
e). Spanish ‘Flu pandemic joined and contrasted with the AIDS pandemic would serve very well for KS4 work. They are at opposite ends of the 20th century and can be looked at together for contrast in relation to development of the World Health Organisation (Geography) and health funding (sociology & economics) changing knowledge and scientific advance, (biology: advances in epidemiology, immunology etc.) and in relation to exponential population growth and obviously Malthusian v. Boserupian theory which always goes down well with pupils: are we all going to die or will there be a technical fix? (Science, Maths, Geography).
Video links for COVID-19, Spanish ‘flu, AIDS & SARS pandemics:
The difference between the Spanish flu and Covid-19 is that the Spanish flu mostly affected young, fit men with healthy immune systems. Whereas Covid-19 is mostly affecting older people with compromised lungs.
What can be learned from the 1918 flu – TED talk 2007 and bird flu, 21 mins: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2lJvr5UL2pQ
How the Corona virus pandemic compares to the Spanish flu – The New Yorker interview with John Barrie author 2020, 8 mins:
Spanish flu – warning from history 2018 – you tube, Cambridge University resources, 11 mins: https://youtu.be/3x1aLAw_xkY
How Spanish flu affected US and Canada – you tube 2014, 46 mins:
Spanish flu, other influenza and bird flu outbreaks – US Dept health 2018 – 56 mins: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GnRxQjaexHM
Comparing Covid-19 and the flu – rate of reproduction (R-number), rate of transmission and effect of social distancing explained – – VOX you tube 2020, 6 mins: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FVIGhz3uwuQ
WHO responses to epidemics, e.g. Marburg virus in Angola, smallpox, AIDS – Age of viruses 2014, crossing from one species to another – you tube, 49 mins: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HbKnYxHBWh0
Horizon guide to pandemics, 2009 – 58 mins (interspersed with Spanish toothbrush and Lidl adverts): History of science & medicine trying to overcome battles against polio, cholera, malaria, AIDS, smallpox,
SARS – another version of a corona virus, bird flu – modelling a hypothetical (now real!) pandemic, Spanish flu
Bill Gates predicting influenza pandemic in 2015 referencing ebola and Spanish flu (the world didn’t prepare fast enough after SARS) – you tube TED talk, 8 mins: