The 1918 flu pandemic was in many obvious ways different from Covid-19. But it does nonetheless offer an eerie lesson.

The biological character of the microbe that haunts us — its infectiousness, its virulence — is not determined by nature but by us, its hosts. We decide how destructive the microbe will be. That is the 1918 flu’s warning, and it is one we are battling to heed...

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