The 1918 influenza pandemic, known as the Spanish flu for its early presence in Spain, killed at least 50 million people and infected one-third of the world’s population. In just one year, 675,000 Americans died.
At the time, there was no vaccine to prevent the spread of the virus and no antibiotics to treat secondary infections, so authorities resorted to non-medicinal interventions including quarantines, isolation, and increased sanitation. Nurses and doctors were often so overwhelmed by the number of sick people that they didn’t have time to do anything for patients except give them some whiskey and attempt to make them comfortable. Cities were put on lockdown for weeks at a time as local governments closed theaters, schools, and churches to stop the flu from spreading.
Every corner of the globe and every major city was hit by the virus in just a matter of weeks. Between 50 million and 100 million people around the world died from the Spanish flu.
The Spanish flu pandemic remained a mystery for nearly 80 years, until researchers in the early 2000s successfully isolated, decoded, and replicated the entire sequence of the virus, now known as H1N1.
The COVID-19 pandemic that is ravaging our country, as well as the rest of the world, is understandably causing a great deal of fear and panic. The fear of the unknown is perhaps the single greatest fear of the human race, and the coronavirus has certainly brought with it a great deal of “unknowns,” such as how to truly protect ourselves and our loved ones. Doctors and scientists are racing to find a cure and a vaccine for COVID-19, and it is cause for fear and uncertainty to know that the greatest minds in their fields have not yet been able to come up with a way to cure those afflicted by this deadly virus.
We should all remember that this is not the first horrible illness to sweep across our nation, and unfortunately, it probably won’t be the last. However, lessons learned from each deadly event we battle are lessons to be carried into the future and used to fight against the unseen attackers that we encounter in coming times.
“And People Stayed at Home”
by Kitty O’Meara, March 2020
“And people stayed at home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows.
And the people began to think differently. And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.
And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.”