Coronavirus (left) and recreated 1918 influenza virions (right) (Images: CSIRO/Wikimedia)

This story was originally published by ProPublica.

As a longtime health care reporter, I see the unfolding coronavirus pandemic as representing everything I’ve read about — from the early days of epidemiology to the staggering toll of the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic — but had not covered in my lifetime.

And still, I have been caught off guard by the pushback from top elected officials and even some friends and acquaintances who keep comparing it to the flu.