Influenza Ward, Camp Funston, Kansas, 1918

 March 18, 2020

An On-Line Publication of the Anonymous Anything Society

panic_sm.jpgMISERY DOES NOT LOVE COMPANY: A Brief History of Pandemics

  Pandemics seem to arise out of Asia in every decade. The worst followed World War One (1914-1917) and it killed 500-hundred million people, a third of the population on Planet Earth. Of this number, media at that time estimated that 675,000 of the victims who died were Americans.

  Since the King of Spain suffered from it, but survived, it came to be called, even to this day, “Spanish Flu.”

  One story in the New York Times told of the effort by the New York City Health Commissioner to halt the contagion by ordering workers to travel to work in staggered shifts. It did little to slow the rate of infection.

influenza_deaths_med.jpg  In recent times, a flu pandemic in 1957 and 1958 killed more than two million people worldwide, 70,000 of whom were in the USA. Another pandemic since has felled 34,000 and 12,000 more in the USA perished during the “H1N1 Swine Flu” pandemic.

  If there is any comfort in these numbers, it is that the trend line of fatalities is pointing downward. The people involved in health care are learning how to best care for persons with pneumonia, the principle cause of fatalities.

  A race by the leading pharmaceutical firms to produce an effective vaccine is underway, propelled by the prospect of greater profits.

  Come what may, most of us will survive.

-Phil Richardson, Storyteller and Observer of the Human Condition

Our unending thanks to Jim Bromley, who programs our Archive of Prior Commentaries

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