I heard on TV yesterday that while stats from China are not reliable, the Chinese, to their credit, were very quick to isolate and sequence the virus and to share the data. This should make it easier to test existing antiviral drugs and drug candidates and also to make a vaccine. Vaccine arrival is estimated at one year. Let's hope we get that year! The development of ebola medication and vaccines is suggested as a possible model for eventual mitigation of corona virus.
When comparing modern times to 1918, the big differences are better overall hygiene and understanding and especially, the availability of antibiotics. Antibiotics have no effects on the virus but they are very useful in treating the "superinfections" with bacteria which a weakened immune system and damaged tissues facilitate, especially in the lungs.
The current mortality rate in China for reported coronavirus infections is consistently 2%. That is high if millions of people get infected! Hopefully, as the epidemic becomes better understood, that unpleasant stat will drop.
I would note in passing that the use of masks (such as N95 and even antichemical cartridge types won't stop a virus. What it does stop or slow is outbound saliva and secretion droplets from infected people. So it tends to protect from a person wearing the mask. I don't think it does much to protect the individual who is wearing it though of course, every bit helps.
if confronted with the choice of wearing a mask or not, better to wear it.