The American Red Cross: A Comparative Analysis of the NGO's 1918 Influenza and 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic Response




Cordero, Abigale

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



This paper discusses the nongovernmental organization (NGO) known as the American Red Cross (ARC) and its efforts to contend with the 1918 Influenza pandemic and the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic in the United States. The attention of this paper centers around how the two responses by a single NGO compare when looking at two instances almost a century apart. This is accomplished by comparatively analyzing factors in the ARC’s response including volunteers, vaccination, informational resources, and scale. In this paper, I argue that the types of resources and means used in each pandemic are similar but are more different than alike in the specifics because resources have been adapted to better fit the times. Having an inclusive understanding of how an NGO like the American Red Cross responds in the face of a global crisis during two different time periods helps to better understand how to prepare for the next time around. Furthermore, holding an organization accountable for its actions by laying out its practices over time and being able to see progression and change allows the public to ensure their trust is not misplaced and we can truly rely on actors in the third sector to fulfill their duties. History has shown that the work of the American Red Cross stands the test of time and continues to be the point of familiarity in times of distress.



American Red Cross (ARC), nongovernmental Organization (NGO), 1918 Influenza Pandemic, 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, Honors College


Cordero, A. (2021). The American Red Cross: A comparative analysis of the NGO's 1918 influenza and 2020 COVID-19 pandemic response (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


Rights Holder

Rights License

Rights URI