Internet users correct Adham’s use of ‘Spanish fly’ in reference to early 20th century pandemic

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Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba is in the limelight again on social media due to a video clip of him saying “Spanish fly” in reference to the deadly pandemic that swept the globe a century ago.

In the video clip making its rounds online, the Health Minister is delivering a speech, believed to be at a public university.

“In the world, 2.8 million people died because of Covid-19.


“The Spanish ‘fly’ that happened in 1916 took around a million lives,” he says in the 38-second video clip, before he attempts to correct himself and says “Wabak Spain (Spanish epidemic)”.

The topic “Spanish fly” is also trending in Malaysia’s Twitter space with over 3,300 tweets at about 4pm on Monday (July 12).

Some internet users pointed out that “Spanish fly” refers to an aphrodisiac.

According to the United States Centres of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Spanish influenza or Spanish flu, took place between 1918 and 1919, and claimed an estimated 500 million deaths worldwide.

Checks by The Star revealed the video was taken in April this year in conjunction with a Covid-19 book launch at Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM).

As of Monday, there have been about 4.03 million deaths caused by Covid-19 globally, with Malaysia having recorded over 6,000 deaths. – The Star