Deadly pandemics usually feature denial from leaders, often prioritizing money, historians say

Great Plague of Marseille, 1720
(Image credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The COVID-19 "plague," as President Trump likes to call it, is caused by a new coronavirus. But viral pandemics and deadly plagues aren't new. And neither is initially pretending the disease won't affect your region, or prematurely declaring victory.

"A century ago, the Spanish flu epidemic's second wave was far deadlier than its first, in part because authorities allowed mass gatherings from Philadelphia to San Francisco," The Associated Press reports in an article about the "growing dread" health experts feel about "an all-but-certain second wave of deaths and infections that could force governments to clamp back down." In the U.S., the first wave hasn't yet crested.

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