Last week, Chicago Tribune published an excellent article about the Spanish flu pandemic in 1918-1919. It contains multiple images for Tribune articles from that time. Here is a link to the article, but since I do not really trust Tribune articles to be on place indefinitely, I saved here a substantial portion of the pictures.
I am not going to comment on them – otherwise it would be easier to copy the whole article. I think that the pictures speak for themselves. What is terrifying, however is the striking similarity between the current situation and what was going on at that time. And what is even more striking and more terrifying is how fast these grim pages of history were forgotten.
I have to admit that one of the reasons I underestimated the magnitude of disaster in the beginning was my unawareness of how the Spanish flue looked like. I was thinking: OK, there was a biggest pandemic ever, and it is barely mentioned in the history of the 20th century. The world survived. Now, that I am reading these archived articles, and I am looking at that pictures of which at least 80 percent I never saw I realize the depth of the tragedy.
Just take a look at the one-hundred years old headlines: masks, hand-washing, Lysol(!!!), schools, movies theaters and public dancing are closed. The lift of quarantine, and almost immediately the next spike follows. There was no vaccine, and there was no reliable diagnostics. And no ventilators for that matter… 40,000 people got sickened in Chicago, and 10,000 of them died…