A girl washes her hands at the Alix de Bretagne school in Saint-Aubin-du-Cormier, France, on May 7. The response to the Spanish flu outbreak in the early 20th century highlighted the importance of handwashing, and the lessons from that outbreak could provide a road map for living and dealing with Covid-19. Photo: AFP A girl washes her hands at the Alix de Bretagne school in Saint-Aubin-du-Cormier, France, on May 7. The response to the Spanish flu outbreak in the early 20th century highlighted the importance of handwashing, and the lessons from that outbreak could provide a road map for living and dealing with Covid-19. Photo: AFP
A girl washes her hands at the Alix de Bretagne school in Saint-Aubin-du-Cormier, France, on May 7. The response to the Spanish flu outbreak in the early 20th century highlighted the importance of handwashing, and the lessons from that outbreak could provide a road map for living and dealing with Covid-19. Photo: AFP
Samir Nazareth
Opinion

Opinion

Samir Nazareth

Coronavirus challenge offers an opportunity to learn from history and ease into post-pandemic new normal

  • Responses to crises like the Spanish flu, Y2K and HIV provide a road map for adapting to life in a world beset by Covid-19
  • Disruption to the global economy opens the door for important reforms such as reskilling, improving working conditions, and focusing on health care and social security

A girl washes her hands at the Alix de Bretagne school in Saint-Aubin-du-Cormier, France, on May 7. The response to the Spanish flu outbreak in the early 20th century highlighted the importance of handwashing, and the lessons from that outbreak could provide a road map for living and dealing with Covid-19. Photo: AFP A girl washes her hands at the Alix de Bretagne school in Saint-Aubin-du-Cormier, France, on May 7. The response to the Spanish flu outbreak in the early 20th century highlighted the importance of handwashing, and the lessons from that outbreak could provide a road map for living and dealing with Covid-19. Photo: AFP
A girl washes her hands at the Alix de Bretagne school in Saint-Aubin-du-Cormier, France, on May 7. The response to the Spanish flu outbreak in the early 20th century highlighted the importance of handwashing, and the lessons from that outbreak could provide a road map for living and dealing with Covid-19. Photo: AFP
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Samir Nazareth

Samir Nazareth

Samir Nazareth has worked in the development sector and writes on socio-political and environmental issues. He is the author of the travelogue, 1400 Bananas, 76 Towns & 1 Million People.