What made the difference, simi valley taxi service according to two independent studies funded by the National Institutes of Health , was not only how but also how rapidly different cities responded. We are currently short staffed at our facility with most nurses working four to six 12 hour shifts per week to keep the work demand in our facility at a manageable level. Our COVID-19 related ER visits more than doubled over one weekend when beaches alone opened up.

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Philadelphia had among the highest mortality rates of any of the U.S. cities, with a peak weekly excess mortality rate of 250 deaths per 100,000 persons and a total pandemic mortality rate of 748 deaths per 100,000 persons. St. Louis had among the lowest rates of all major cities, with a peak weekly excess mortality rate of just 30 deaths per 100,000 persons and a total mortality rate of 358 deaths per 100,000 persons (Markel et al., 2007). Several studies examine the effects of such non-pharmaceutical interventions on flu incidence and mortality rates. Barro notes that the mean duration of NPIs across 43 cities was 4-6 weeks and suggests that a duration of 12 weeks would have produced a substantially lower total death rate.

  • The second peak in cases—with a higher excess mortality rate than the first peak—was reached in December.
  • Even so and despite the federal government’s sometimes divisive response, local communities, as in 1918, are fighting this devastating pandemic with teamwork.
  • Barry described how four days after sailors from Boston arrived at Philadelphia’s navy yard, 19 sailors reported sick with influenza symptoms.
  • … Shortly after health measures were put in place in Philadelphia, a case popped up in St. Louis.

These cities did not have enough cases yet to have herd immunity. Chicago was one notable exception, and peeled back restrictions layer-by-layer. But everywhere else, from Cleveland to Kansas City, and New Orleans to Seattle, people hit the town.

How Easily Can Children Contract And Spread Coronavirus?

I find it incredible and riveting to learn about how people would wake up in the morning feeling fine and be dead in the evening. I have spoken to many people who experienced the flu through their families. I believe these issues would be best addressed in advance to overcome resistance.

The world, its economies, and its stock markets are very different today versus in 1918. The economy has increasingly globalized, connecting people and places in ways unimaginable a century ago. The world has also urbanized, with population density more than tripling, potentially increasing the spread of communicable diseases. Countering those facts, the development of antibiotics, vaccines, and improvement in general healthcare has been profound, extending life expectancy in the past century dramatically. Our public health institutions are stronger, in part stress-tested by past crises. Oshkosh had already closed its schools when Cummings and Baumann offered their thoughts.

No Prevention And No Treatment For The 1918 Pandemic Virus

These measures were unpopular at the time, but they worked. 100 years ago, an influenza pandemic swept the globe, infecting an estimated one-third of the world’s population and killing at least 50 million people. The pandemic’s death toll was greater than the total number of military and civilian deaths from World War I, which was happening simultaneously. At the time, scientists had not yet discovered flu viruses, but we know today that the 1918 pandemic was caused by an influenza A virus. The pandemic is commonly believed to have occurred in three waves. Unusual flu-like activity was first identified in U.S. military personnel during the spring of 1918.


Much has since changed in our understanding of the novel coronavirus since it first emerged — especially when it comes to youngsters. A few months ago, we assumed that, as with other respiratory transmitted viruses like influenza, school-aged children would play a major role in spreading the disease. Dr. Wilmer Krusen, director of Public Health and Charities for the city, insisted mounting fatalities were not the “Spanish flu,” but rather just the normal flu.

Gymnasiums, armories and homeless shelters were converted to treat the sick, and the city also relied on at-home care for some. Still, insights from the Spanish flu and other pandemics should not be dismissed entirely. Political, health and education leaders designed a gradual reopening that saw high schools open first, followed a month later, once cases in younger children had dropped, by elementary schools.

Mortality was high in people younger than 5 years old, years old, and 65 years and older. The high mortality in healthy people, including those in the year age group, was a unique feature of this pandemic. In short, the 1918 newspaper clipping from Kelowna, British Columbia, that announced the closures of schools, businesses, and other public places during the H1N1 pandemic is real, but not unique.