Kennelly: The Parallels between the Spanish Influenza and the Coronavirus

I love history—it tells us a lot about what is happening today.  In 1918 we had the Spanish flu, that killed 600,000  (no one said calling it the “Spanish flu” was racist).  Woodrow Wilson was President, our first openly socialist/globalist President.  Now we have the Wuhan (Chinese) virus.  A friend of mine was called a racist by calling it the Chinese virus—so she clarified it:

“I should more accurately be called, she said, the Chines Communist Party Virus—Chinese Virus for short”.  I love a great sense of humor.

“By August the Spanish Flu had reached the United States. On August 27, 1918 infected sailors arrived at Commonwealth Pier in Boston from Europe. Two days later fifty-eight infected sailors sought medical attention at Chelsea Naval Hospital causing the disease to spread rapidly. By September 8, 1918 it spread to Fort Devens and infected 10,500 people. The virus spread throughout all of Massachusetts. The virus eventually made its way to New York, Philadelphia, and the West coast from soldiers coming home from the war.

During the course of the pandemic President Woodrow Wilson never gave a speech addressing the crisis. Like several European governments the U.S. government downplayed the severity of the flu in hopes of keeping morale high during the war.  In 1917, in the wake of the U.S. entering the war, Wilson created the Committee of Public Information. The Committee was tasked with keeping the public from knowing the truth about the epidemic. The Committee believed that: “Truth and falsehood are arbitrary terms. The force of an idea lies in its inspirational value. It matters very little if it is false or true.”

Today, Wilson would not get away with never giving a speech on the subject.  Of course, as we now know, he was very ill and it was his wife running the county—not Woodrow.  Imagine Lenaia running the country!!  LOL.  We have a great President, who on a daily basis updates us on the health and economic issues.  We are lucky people to have Trump not Wilson as our President today.

The Parallels between the Spanish Influenza and the Coronavirus

Edward Kennelly, Exclusive to the California Political News and Views,  4/1/20

The 2019 Coronavirus known as COVID-19 is the worst global pandemic since the Spanish Influenza in 1918. The Spanish Influenza lasted for almost two years. One in every three humans, alive at the time, had this disease. Over 600,000 Americans were killed by the virus. More than a century later we are experiencing another global epidemic known as the Coronavirus.

The Spanish Flu caused by the H1N1 virus occurred right during the midst of World War I. The virus spread easily because people were in close proximity to each other.  Since it occurred during the war most European Countries were not honest about how many of their people were infected. The first wave of the flu happened in the spring of 1918. It eventually became known as the Spanish Flu because Spain reported the highest number of infected people. They were honest in their reporting because they were a neutral country during the war. It is not known if the flu originated in Spain or even if they had the highest number infected because most European countries lied about how many people were sick to keep morale high during the war. At first the flu was not very deadly. The infected experienced mild symptoms such as fever and fatigue but eventually recovered. The flu spread from Europe to other continents. Near the end of the summer a more deadly version of the flu emerged. Americans and Europeans started calling it the Spanish flu in the fall of 1918.

By August the Spanish Flu had reached the United States. On August 27, 1918 infected sailors arrived at Commonwealth Pier in Boston from Europe. Two days later fifty-eight infected sailors sought medical attention at Chelsea Naval Hospital causing the disease to spread rapidly. By September 8, 1918 it spread to Fort Devens and infected 10,500 people. The virus spread throughout all of Massachusetts. The virus eventually made its way to New York, Philadelphia, and the West coast from soldiers coming home from the war.

During the course of the pandemic President Woodrow Wilson never gave a speech addressing the crisis. Like several European governments the U.S. government downplayed the severity of the flu in hopes of keeping morale high during the war.  In 1917, in the wake of the U.S. entering the war, Wilson created the Committee of Public Information. The Committee was tasked with keeping the public from knowing the truth about the epidemic. The Committee believed that: “Truth and falsehood are arbitrary terms. The force of an idea lies in its inspirational value. It matters very little if it is false or true.”

Politicians were not the only ones who deceived the public, some medical personnel did as well. Surgeon General Rupert Blue said, “There is no need for alarm if proper precautions are observed.” Several health professionals said the deadly disease was no different than a common form of influenza.

Due to Wilson ignoring and covering up the influenza it was left up to the states and local governments to decide how to deal with the pandemic. Some cities did not take the threat seriously while others tried to limit the number of people who got the disease. By September of 1918 the virus spread throughout military personnel in Philadelphia. Philadelphia’s Public Health Director Dr. Wilmer Krusen reassured the public that the soldiers were only experiencing the seasonal flu and that there was nothing to worry about. After the virus spread to civilians, Krusen once again reassured the public. Historian John Berry wrote that Krusen told the public they could lower their risk of catching the flu by, “staying warm, keeping their feet dry and their bowels open.”

Healthcare experts warned Krusen of the dangers of hosting Philadelphia’s Liberty Loan Parade. Krusen did not heed their advice. He insisted that the parade was necessary to raise money for war bonds. On September 28, 1918 nearly 200,000 citizens either participated in or watched the parade. Three days after the parade 2,600 people were killed by the virus and all of Philadelphia’s hospitals were full.  In response to this Krusen closed all theaters and saloons. From September 20 to November 8, 1918 the city recorded 12,687 deaths from the virus or pneumonia related illnesses. This was one of worst incidents for the pandemic in the U.S.

St. Louis took an entirely different approach when dealing with the virus. St. Louis Health Commissioner Dr. Max Starkloff took necessary precautions to lower the number of people who were out in public. He ordered all schools and movie theaters to close. He also prevented all public gatherings from occurring. Finally Dr. Starkloff wrote an article for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch informing the public about the importance of preventing the flu from spreading. A recent 2007 study found that the actions Dr. Starkloff took successfully slowed the spread of the virus resulting in fewer deaths in Saint Louis than in Philadelphia.

In the end the Spanish Influenza infected 500 million people, about one-third of the entire human population at the time. It also killed anywhere between 20 to 50 million people. Over 600,000 Americans died from the Spanish Influenza. The Spanish Influenza eventually went away after the third wave ended its cycle in 1920.

COVID-19 first appeared in 2019 in Wuhan, China. The Chinese lied about how deadly it was. They said that the disease could not be easily spread. Their reaction was similar to how America and most of Europe reacted to the Spanish Flu. Chinese Doctor Li Wenliang made a public announcement through social media about the severity of the illness on December 30th. He told the public through WeChat that the disease was similar to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and that seven people were infected with the illness. The Chinese Government punished Li for spreading this information. He has since died.

Our world has reacted very differently to this new virus. Due to the easy access of information through the internet and television Western leaders knew they could not keep the truth about the virus hidden as did many world leaders did during the Spanish Influenza. Western countries have consistently informed the public about how many of their citizens are infected.

Since the outbreak politicians throughout the U.S have urged non-essential businesses to close. President Trump has unique challenges that Wilson did not have. Since Trump declared a national emergency several states have implemented precautionary measures to stop the spread of the virus. Several states have ordered all non-essential services such as dine in-restaurants, bars, and gyms to close. Additionally states have ordered schools to close. Learning is now done online. On top of that sporting events have been canceled. While these measures may be effective at lowering the spread of the disease they have long term economic consequences. Several businesses have closed. Restaurants and retail stores have closed all throughout the nation. This has resulted in several millions of people losing their jobs.  From March 15 to March 21 a record 3.3. Million Americans filled for unemployment. This is the highest number filed in all of U.S. history. We have to get the economy up and running soon or it will be even harder for America to financially recover. On March 29, 2020 President Trump announced a thirty day extension of his coronavirus guidelines. These urge Americans not to eat at bars or restaurants. It encourages them to avoid social gatherings of more than ten people. It also urges Americans who test positive to self-quarantine.

While it is not clear how bad the economic turmoil was in the wake of the Spanish Influenza because the federal government was secretive about the virus it did not cause significant economic damage because the country was at war and because there was not a nationwide shutdown. America participated in World War I from 1917 until 1919, when the war ended. The Spanish Influenza lasted from 1918 to 1920. Wilson did not have to worry about a possible economic downturn because he did not declare a state of emergency. The U.S. recovery from any possible economic turmoil is evident in the economic expansion that occurred during the 1920s.

In regards to how deadly the two diseases are historian John Berry compared the illnesses by stating, “They are both respiratory viruses. Fortunately this virus is less lethal than 1918. Unfortunately this virus is much more contagious than 1918.” The Spanish Influenza was so deadly that some healthy individuals died within 24 hours of being infected. The Influenza death rate ranged from 6% to 8% while the death rate for the coronavirus has ranged from 2% to 3%. However it is not clear if the death rate for the Spanish Influenza is accurate because it is not known how many people really had the influenza. The same problem exists with the present illness. Additionally the Spanish flu was different from other types of influenzas. The Spanish Flu was unique because it appeared more deadly to people who were in their twenties to forties. Babies and the elderly were most susceptible to other common forms of influenza.

As the virus continues to spread and the U.S. continues to implement their coronavirus guidelines there are a few things that may occur. The U.S. will likely face its worst economic downturn in all in our history, worse than even the Great Depression. The nasty partisanship will likely continue. Speaker Nancy Pelosi recently hinted that she would open an investigation against Trump due to his late action on the pandemic and possible deaths he may have caused. If Pelosi goes forward with this it will be even more difficult for the country to recover. Tens of thousands of Americans will likely die from this disease but it is highly unlikely that the number will reach anywhere near the number of Americans killed during the Spanish Influenza. Finally China may become the most powerful country on Earth. Their GDP may exceed America’s if America continues to lose jobs and businesses close.

About Stephen Frank

Stephen Frank is the publisher and editor of California Political News and Views. He speaks all over California and appears as a guest on several radio shows each week. He has also served as a guest host on radio talk shows. He is a fulltime political consultant.

Comments

  1. Thank you, Frank, for this good history lesson about the Spanish Flu of 1918 and its comparison to the coronavirus of today. There is much important information that we are not being told about the coronavirus getting its start in Wuhan. Wuhan was a test city for 5G. The Chinese government proudly announced that they were activating all of the 10,000 5G stations in Wuhan and other major cities November 1, 2019. China considers themselves the 5G capitol of the world and wanted to demonstrate that by being the first nation to activate its 5G. A few weeks later, the virus was released from the Wuhan lab. The people’s immune systems were already weakened from 5G being turned on, with its 60 gigahertz EMF radiation bombarding them, that is why they were so affected by the virus. 5G at 60 ghz affects the oxygen molecule and causes it to no longer attach to the hemoglobin of the blood and people were no longer able to get oxygen carried through heir bodies. There are videos of the people literally falling down dead in the streets. 5G was also used in the hospitals, which even made it worse for the sick patients. It was not just a few thousand who died as the Chinese government is saying. There were probably millions who died. Millions of cell phones were suddenly no longer functioning. I have written a book about 5G, so I know how dangerouus it is. It is called “Whooa Nellie!” I am presently writing a book about the coronavirus. It is called Pandemic or Plannedemic. I have all of the above information well documented and footnoted. The book will soon by available on my website – http://www.booksfortruth.com.

  2. That why we need to bring back manufacture back to America.

  3. tomsquawk says

    At least The Donald tweets his mind. Don’t have to agree with him; he gets people taking. I used to hunt after Brigitte the German short-haired pointer. Drove me nuts with all that energy. Sure was good at flushing the birds out of the bush, I’ll take that.

  4. Damocles says

    And then there’s this—–https://youtu.be/BVQbc7W2_68
    From the sword of —–

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