What a real pandemic looks like

Train travellers in Sydney wear masks during the Spanish flu outbreak in 1919. Picture: FileTrain travellers in Sydney wear masks during the Spanish flu outbreak in 1919

Here’s the subhead for the article:

The US has reached another ‘grim milestone’ and the fearmongering that ensued is yet another example of how ignorant and hysterical we’ve become.

The article is by Adam Creighton and is titled, Why comparing Covid-19 to the Spanish flu is absurd. Ignorant and hysterical isn’t the half of it. There also seems to be a wish to be frightened which seems near universal across the left on the way to some kind of outcome that you would really have to be nuts to endorse, but there you are. This is what the real thing looked like.

John Barry’s 550-page The Great Influenza, a magnificent piece of scholarship first published in 2004, chronicles a humanitarian disaster of epic proportions, the greatest tragedy the world has seen since the plagues of the Middle Ages.

When a new influenza virus wiped out 6 per cent of a 1018-strong French army battalion, incapacitating another quarter, within days in May 1918, the world learned of the unimaginable horror in prospect.

When the British ship City of Exeter transformed into a floating morgue sailing to Philadelphia from Liverpool, a quarter of its sailors dying en route, American doctors braced for a tragedy that was about to tear through the world.

More than 50 per cent of the population of Buenos Aires died, 3 per cent of all Africa and about 17 million Indians in less than a year.

Doctors had never seen symptoms so horrific, a disease so deadly….

Unlike Covid-19, people only died from Spanish flu, never with.

“Blood was everywhere, on linens, clothes, pouring out of some men’s nostrils and even ears while other coughed it up. Many of the soldiers, boys in their teens, men in their twenties – healthy normally ruddy men – were turning blue,” Barry writes of a typical scene at US Army camps in late 1918, where soldiers assembled before heading to France.

At Camp Pike in Arkansas 13,000 of the 60,000 young men stationed there were hospitalised within days. One in 67 American soldiers – more than 50,000 – was killed by the virus within a few months, more than died in the Vietnam War.

Women inhale a zinc sulphate solution in Sydney during the Spanish flu outbreak. Picture: File
Women inhale a zinc sulphate solution in Sydney during the Spanish flu outbreak. Picture: File

The carnage was so horrific, so sudden, many couldn’t take it. Colonel Charles Hagadorn, in charge of 40,000 soldiers at Camp Grant, where thousands died, a veteran of wars in Mexico and The Philippines, committed suicide as bodies piled up around him.

In Philadelphia, the worst-hit US city, authorities sent vans around the city to collect the bodies.

Briefly met up with my wife with two of her old friends in the park today and the moment I arrived one of them put on her mask. There is no level of contempt low enough for such fools who will create misery and harm for so many others before this scam has finally run its course. This is how the article ends.

Covid-19 will also change history, thanks to the hysterical over-reaction and self-inflicted damage of measures.

It won’t cause a war but it may have destroyed our liberal democratic society.

I wish I thought that was an exaggeration but it isn’t. Only time will tell.

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