‘Be careful’: Spain’s last 1918 flu survivor offers warning on coronavirus

Jos Ameal Pea, 105, is watching on anxiously as a new pandemic sweeps globe

Jos Ameal Pea was four years old when the 1918 flu tore through his small fishing town in northern Spain, its deadly path narrated by the daily ringing of church bells.

More than a century later, Ameal Pea believed to be Spains only living survivor of a pandemic said to be the deadliest in human history has a warning as the world faces off against Covid-19. Be careful, he said. I dont want to see the same thing repeated. It claimed so many lives.

The 1918 flu, known as the Spanish flu after the countrys press were among the first to report on it, killed between 50 and 100 million people around the world.

In Ameal Peas town of Luarca it claimed 500 lives a quarter of the towns population of 2,000. He watched from his window as a steady stream of funeral processions made their way to the cemetery.

In autumn 1918 he became the only one of his seven siblings to catch the flu. I still cant figure out how Im here, Ameal Pea, now 105, told the newspaper El Mundo. When I woke up I could barely walk. I had to crawl on my hands and knees. As he wrestled with a relentless fever, a doctor prescribed vapours of boiled eucalyptus and seaweed.

In recent weeks Ameal Pea has watched anxiously as another pandemic has developed. Spain has been among the hardest-hit countries, with 1,720 deaths and counting.

He knows exactly what is happening with the coronavirus, his daughter Anunciata told El Mundo. Since he lived through all that, hes having a hard time now. Hes afraid that something similar will happen again, even though were living in very different times.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/22/be-careful-spains-last-1918-flu-survivor-offers-warning-on-coronavirus

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