Archive for April 18th, 2020

The Spanish Flu pandemic killed several famous people including Frederick Trump, grandfather of US President!

April 18, 2020

Prof Robert Barro, Jose F. Ursua and Joanna Weng in this superb research paper points how Spanish Flu pandemic changed global history. Infact, it could be a possible cause of WW-II as well. It killed Grandfather of US President Trump as well!

The epidemic killed a number of famous people, including the sociologist Max Weber, the artist Gustav Klimt, the child saints Francisco and Jacinta Marto, and Frederick Trump, the grandfather of the current U.S. President. Many more famous people were survivors, including Mahatma Ghandi, Friedrich Hayek, General Pershing, Walt Disney, Mary Pickford, and the leaders of France and the United Kingdom at the end of World War I, Georges Clemenceau and David Lloyd George. The disease severely impacted U.S. President Woodrow Wilson, whose impairment likely had a major negative effect on the negotiations of the Versailles Treaty in 1919. Thus, if the harsh terms imposed on Germany by this treaty led eventually to World War II, then the Great Influenza Epidemic may have indirectly caused World War II.

Given this family history, it is appalling that Pres Trump has paid so little attention to the pandemic.


Data for 43 countries imply flu-related deaths in 1918-1920 of 39 million, 2.0 percent of world population, implying 150 million deaths when applied to current population. Regressions with annual information on flu deaths 1918-1920 and war deaths during WWI imply flu-generated economic declines for GDP and consumption in the typical country of 6 and 8 percent, respectively. There is also some evidence that higher flu death rates decreased realized real returns on stocks and, especially, on short-term government bills.


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