Saturday, August 22, 2020

glen brown: Comparing the 1918 Flu Pandemic to Covid-19

glen brown: Comparing the 1918 Flu Pandemic to Covid-19

Comparing the 1918 Flu Pandemic to Covid-19

“This isn't the first-time leaders have struggled with deciding whether to keep schools open in a pandemic. During the influenza pandemic in 1918, even though the world was a very different place, the discussion was just as heated. That pandemic killed an estimated 50 million people worldwide, including 675,000 Americans, before it was all over.

“While the vast majority of cities closed their schools, three opted to keep them open -- New York, Chicago and New Haven, according to historians. The decisions of health officials in those cities was based largely on the hypothesis of public health officials that students were safer and better off at school. It was, after all, the height of the Progressive Era, with its emphasis on hygiene in schools and more nurses for each student than is thinkable now.

“New York had almost 1 million school children in 1918 and about 75% of them lived in tenements, in crowded, often unsanitary conditions, according to a 2010 article in Public Health Reports, the official journal of the US Surgeon General and the US Public Health Service. ‘For students from the tenement districts, school offered a clean, well-ventilated environment where teachers, nurses, and doctors already practiced — and documented — thorough, routine medical inspections,’ according to the Public Health Reports article.

“The city was one of the hardest and earliest hit by the flu, said Dr. Howard Markel, a medical historian and director of the Center for the History of CONTINUE READING: glen brown: Comparing the 1918 Flu Pandemic to Covid-19