As the world continues to grapple with the coronavirus or COVID-19 since the end of 2019, scientists and researchers have been trying to understand the novel virus and discover a way to stop its spread.

Now, a new study published in the medical journal JAMA Network Open stated that the COVID-19 pandemic has the potential of becoming as deadly as the 1918 H1N1 influenza and the death toll could be worse if the world leaders fail to tackle the pandemic. "If insufficiently treated, SARS-CoV-2 infection may have comparable or greater mortality than the 1918 H1N1 influenza virus infection," the lead author Dr. Jeremy Faust wrote in the paper.

COVID-19 Can be as Deadly as 1918 Pandemic

Wuhan Coronavirus
Twitter / Imran Iftikhar

As per the study, the relative incidents in death during the early stages of the coronavirus outbreak was actually greater than during the peak of the 1918 pandemic. "What we want people to know is that this has 1918 potential," Faust mentioned in an interview as quoted by CNBC.

He also mentioned that the pandemic in New York is around 70 percent as bad as the one in 1918 when the doctors did not have ventilators or any other advances that help in saving lives today. "This is not something to just shrug off like the flu," he stated.

The researchers mentioned in their study that the incident rate ratio for all-cause mortality at the time of the peak of the 1918 H1NI influenza pandemic and the early 2020 novel coronavirus outbreak was 0.70, which indicates that the absolute rise in deaths over baseline observed while the peak of 1918 pandemic was higher but can be compared to what was witnessed in the first two months of the COVID-19 outbreak in New York.

Although the mortality rates from 2017 to that of 2019 were less than half than what was observed between 1914 to 1917. This is because of the improvements made in hygiene and advancements in medicine, safety and public health.

The deadly virus outbreak has created a major stir around the world infecting more than 20.9 million people globally and claiming the lives of over 755,000 people worldwide as scientists around the world continue working to find an effective vaccine to tackle the deadly disease.

1918 flu
1918 Spanish flu Wikimedia commons