Speaking of global health crises, did you hear about the Spanish Flu of 1918? Folks don’t talk about it much these days but a deadly strain of influenza broke out in the European trenches during World War I and spread rapidly throughout the world.
Ultimately, more people died of the disease than from the War to End All Wars (1914-1918). It is estimated that between 17 and 50 million people lost their lives to La Grippe – French for “influenza.” The Spanish Flu was caused by the H1N1 virus, the same one responsible for the 2009 swine flu outbreak.
Perhaps you’ve heard of the Bubonic Plague or Black Death that scourged the European continent during the Middle Ages from 1347 to 1351? The early 20th-century Spanish Flu killed claimed more victims in one year than were recorded in four years during the Black Plague.
The Spanish Flu reared its ugly head in January 1918 and lasted until December 1920, infecting half a billion people along the way, about 1 in 4 of the planet’s population. Unlike other types of influenza that put the very old and the very young at the highest risk, the Spanish Flu targeted people aged 20 to 40.
Allied forces stationed in Germany were often pinned for months in rough bunkers with outdoor latrines and no running water. The German machine gunners kept a sharp eye out for anything moving in No Man’s Land between enemy lines with strict orders to shoot to kill.
After the infection gained a toehold, top military brass from several nations decided it would be bad for morale all around to admit how dire conditions were.
Consequently, early reports of illness and mortality were censored by the governments of Germany, the United Kingdom, France, and the United States.
Not so in Spain, a neutral country during WWI. The national press reported the chilling facts to arm citizens with knowledge. When King Alfonso XIII came down with a severe case of the Spanish Flu, no attempt was made to hide the fact.
Then, a second, much deadlier outbreak of Spanish Flu spread like wildfire around the globe later that year. Because Spanish newspapers had been forthright about the realities of their national epidemic, the rest of the world associated the disease with the locale and gave the contagion its name, incorrectly assuming that the region was hardest hit.
As WWI raged, the media in Europe was prohibited from reporting on the second wave of Spanish flu. Across the Big Pond, U.S. officials pressured news outlets to share only positive news, nothing negative.
The American media blackout was under the direction of the newly-formed Committee on Public Information (CPI), an independent federal agency set up by President Woodrow Wilson in April 1917 when the U.S. entered World War I.
Socialist journalist and freelancer Arthur Bullard led the nation’s first propaganda machine, tasked with persuading U.S. citizens to support U.S. participation in WWI.
When the final numbers were tallied, the U.S. infection rate was 28 percent. An estimated 675,000 Americans died from the pandemic influenza – 10 times more than from the recent world war.
Half of the U.S. soldiers who gave their lives for democracy and nation in the European theater of war succumbed to a virus rather than the enemy. About 43,000 service personnel mobilized for WWI died of Spanish Flu.
The Spanish Flu wasn’t like other influenza seen before that averaged less than a 0.1 percent (1 in 1,000) mortality rate. This virus rampaged through populations, taking out 2.5 percent of its victims. People just walking down a street would become ill and die in short order.
Portland, Oregon issued a municipal quarantine during the 1918 flu pandemic to contain the infection’s spread. Public gatherings were limited, stores closed early, and houses with infected residents were isolated.
In Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada, Mayor D. W. Sutherland, attempted to stop the spread of Spanish Influenza by closing all schools, churches, theaters, and “Pool Rooms and other places of amusement.”
Trending now is an article that describes what the family of the writer did after her 3-year-old grandmother came down with the disease. The custom in those days was to tie a white scarf on the front doorknob to signal “a virus residing within.”
Neighbors and visitors could steer a clear course away from those households if they chose to do so.
Serious discussions are being held even now to decide the best way to wipe out the current pandemic. The U.S. has changed dramatically since 1918. No more “tie a white scarf around the doorknob” or a yellow ribbon around the old oak tree, for that matter. Serious discussion is being given to mandating “health passports” or medical bracelets, among other governmental control methods, to return to pre-viral life.
Is this the rise of the New World Order? Are all the puzzle pieces falling neatly into place: massive population reduction, medical emergency martial law imposed, the way cleared of public assembly to enable an uncontested 5G rollout, forced vaccinations, global digital currency, and the death of small businesses?
If so, well done, evil overlords. Well done, indeed.