The coronavirus pandemic has really caught our attention right now, and one word that keeps cropping up is “unprecedented,” meaning it’s uncharted territory for all concerned, which it is.
However, my dad was born under exactly the same circumstances, during the great Spanish flu pandemic that raged from 1918 to 1920. They called him a “flu baby” and he was born premature, and they thought he was stillborn, so the doctors overloaded the staff put it in a shoe box and set it aside while they cared for the mother and all the other thousands of patients they had. Sometime later, a nurse noticed the baby moving in the shoebox and my dad’s life was saved, so I can be here writing this article.
But there is more! In that flu pandemic, people were told to stay home, like today. They were told to stay away from other people, like today. There were blockades all over the world, where no one was allowed out on the streets, and some were shot for doing so. Meetings, work, churches, synagogues, mosques, sports, everything was closed. Those were the days before antibiotics were discovered, and many of the health aids we have today weren’t available, so more than 50 million people died worldwide, mostly from secondary causes that could have been treated by modern medicine. I remember my parents, who were born in Durban, South Africa, often talking about it and how terrible it was.
But it happened. And this one will too. But it is imperative that we stay away from each other, that we stay home, wash our hands and face, and practice very strict hygiene. The cities in the 1918 pandemic that did this for 6 weeks or more fared best and had very few deaths. This is the key: if the virus cannot spread, it dies in a matter of days. It can only live by finding a new host. Deny him that option, and he will die.
In 1920, once the virus was extinguished, the world continued. It was difficult for a while financially, but people managed. So don’t lose hope, the sun will rise again. Times are tough right now, but they won’t last forever, and if we do it right and do our part, by being responsible and thinking of others, the time we all have to suffer will be shortened.
Learning from the 1918 pandemic, it is obvious that we should not be in a rush to get out of lockdown. Some cities did that when the infection rate dropped and they had a resurgence of cases, so we need to stay on lockdown until this enemy is dead.
So enjoy spring: it is a sign of hope that is blooming, that this tragic global scourge will soon be just a memory, and once again we will have a picnic in the sun with our family and friends, and enjoy our world! !