With a public health crisis facing the world, people are making comparisons to past pandemics.
Many are mentioning the Spanish Flu outbreak that began in 1917.
But with those who lived 103 years ago being either gone or having been toddlers when the pandemic happened, firsthand accounts of how our ancestors coped aren't available.
This leads some to compare current circumstances to a health crisis from the 1980s.
Former politician and Brexit enthusiast Ann Widdecombe is one of those people. The anti-LGBT Conservative from the United Kingdom decided to share her insights in a recent column.
Writing for The Daily Express, Widdecombe stated efforts to slow the spread of the virus behind the current pandemic are excessive. Widdecombe also claims it won't be as bad as the experts say.
How did someone who studied politics and philosophy decades ago debunk leading health experts?
Widdecombe used her extensive knowledge of the AIDS crisis.
"I'm all for sensible precautions but I cannot help feeling that we are going mad [over this]."
"We have had the scare of SARs, bird flu, Ebola and of course AIDS. None proved as devastating as feared."
The former politician added priority should be placed on business' profits over lives.
"We need a sense of proportion in the face of the financial markets going into meltdown, aeroplanes being grounded and shops shutting their doors."
"It is nasty but, given the recovery rate, it is not the Black Death."
The global death toll from AIDS is estimated to be 32 million at a minimum.
However researchers know some who died in both the early stages and in certain parts of the world are not included in that total. An estimated 75 million people have contracted HIV worldwide since 1981.
38 million people died from AIDS this is a disgraceful statement. The politics of Ann Widdecombe and the far right… https://t.co/h6rfHlG5VZ— Jamie Dickinson (@Jamie Dickinson) 1584124502.0
When HIV/AIDS cases first began to appear, the illness was marginalized, denied and actively ignored by national governments and public health officials.
Widdecombe's dismissal of the devastating impact of the AIDS crisis in the 80s comes as no surprise to anyone familiar with her voting record, attitude or past comments.
There are no words to describe how wrong & deeply offensive Ann Widdecombe is. https://t.co/zBbWXbYa1F— Daniel Sommer (@Daniel Sommer) 1584122877.0
F.A.O. Ann Widdecombe, Nigel Farage & other right-wing blatherers - nobody gives a sh*t about your opinion, you big… https://t.co/EZefJe9RVZ— Angela #AntiTory & #ProEU (@Angela #AntiTory & #ProEU) 1584126965.0
'Easy for Widdecombe to claim that the HIV/AIDS epidemic didn’t prove “as devastating as feared”. As a straight wom… https://t.co/2Sds6zozPt— Sunderland Unites (@Sunderland Unites) 1584128892.0
Ann Widdecombe is and always will be a ghoul. https://t.co/t7mKZSqCGA— Wefail (@Wefail) 1584126078.0
My brother JIM died of AIDS related illness - shut up you horrid monster Ann Widdecombe claims coronavirus will b… https://t.co/nezG92NGFW— Janey Godley (@Janey Godley) 1584139520.0
Anne Widdecombe didn’t watch many beautiful friends become ill and die. She didn’t spend her twenties wondering who… https://t.co/XgJL2Edz2N— Colm O'Gorman (@Colm O'Gorman) 1584141111.0
This really is awful. Widdecombe was bad enough in her original incarnation as a souless politician. She was redeem… https://t.co/oygcWYfLYk— Mabon ap Gwynfor 🏴 (@Mabon ap Gwynfor 🏴) 1584127627.0
In 2019, Widdecombe suggested "science may yet produce" a cure for homosexuality.
The year prior she went after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex for advocating the decriminalization of homosexuality across the British Commonwealth. Widdecombe also called a lack of transphobia "lunacy" and advocated for businesses to be allowed to refuse to serve people based on their sexuality or gender identity.