Sunday, April 16, 2017

Also Found in the Newspaper for April 14, 1917

Yesterday, I shared the very long account of the celebration that greeted the boys of "F" Company, Hudson's "crack unit," when they returned home after two months of guarding the aqueduct in Orange County. In that same newspaper, I also found this public service notice and couldn't resist sharing it. 

The warning, which appeared in April 1917, is eerily prescient. In the fall of 1918, when the Great War was coming to an end and peace was in view, the influenza pandemic began. It was a global disaster that killed more people in one year than the Black Death had killed in four years during the 14th century. Ten times as many Americans died from influenza, sometimes called "Spanish flu" or "La Grippe," than were killed in battle during the Great War. The pandemic reduced the life expectancy in the United States by ten years. The following statement appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association, in the final issue for 1918:
The [year] 1918 has gone: a year momentous as the termination of the most cruel war in the annals of the human race; a year which marked the end, at least for a time, of man's destruction of man; unfortunately a year in which developed a most fatal infectious disease causing the death of hundreds of thousands of human beings. Medical science for four and one-half years devoted itself to putting men on the firing line and keeping them there. Now it must turn with its whole might to combating the greatest enemy of all--infectious disease.
Emergency hospital for influenza patients

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