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The 1968 Influenza Pandemic and COVID-19 Outcomes
Charles Taylor
Christopher Boulos
Matthew Memoli
Acceso Abierto
Past pandemic experience at an individual or population level may affect health outcomes in future pandemics. In this study, we focus on how the influenza pandemic of 1968 (H3N2), which killed up to 100,000 people in the US, may have produced differential COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) outcomes. Our analysis finds that areas with high influenza-related mortality in 1968 experienced 1-2% lower COVID-19 death rates. We employ an identification strategy that isolates variation in COVID-19 rates across age cohorts born before and after 1968. Locales in the US with high 1968 influenza mortality have lower COVID-19 death rates among older cohorts relative to younger ones. The relationship holds using county-level and patient-level data, as well as data from hospitals and nursing homes. Results do not appear to be driven by systemic or policy-related factors that would affect a population, but instead suggest a potential individual-level response to prior influenza pandemic exposure. The findings merit substantial further investigation into potential biological, immunological, or other mechanisms that can account for these differential outcomes.
Epidemia COVID-19
Público en general
Versión publicada
publishedVersion - Versión publicada
Appears in Collections:Artículos científicos

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