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This flu pandemic killed 650,000

By Staff | Apr 20, 2020

You probably don’t want to read anything more about COVID-19, pandemics or coronavirus safety measures.

But, let’s face it. There really isn’t anything else going on, is there?

So please put up with me another week and let me give you a few random thoughts about living in a COVID-19 Pandemic world.

First off you just might think you have read the story on page 2 about the Spanish Flu Pandemic before. That’s because you have.

As the Editor’s Note notes at the beginning of the story, we originally ran this piece by A.B. Russ, of Blue Earth, in our Jan. 8, 2018 edition. That was because it was the 100th anniversary of the Spanish Flu.

While we had run it just two years ago, we felt the impact of the story would be much more now since we are going through the COVID-19 Pandemic.

I found it interesting to learn the Spanish Flu (also known as H1N1) was responsible for the deaths of 675,000 Americans. Even if the high estimate for deaths from COVID-19 (from the White House on March 31) is reached, that would be 240,000, nowhere near the 650,000 from the flu.

Of course, they didn’t have all the media alerting them to the crisis in 1918 like there is now.

Other disease pandemics have also caused a lot of deaths. There was Yellow Fever that caused 125,000 deaths up until 1900, Asian flu in 1957-58 with 116,000 dead, Avian flu in 1968 accounting for 100,000 deaths.

And, HIV/AIDS has seen 700,000 deaths from 1981 to present day.

The number of cases of COVID-19 in Faribault County remained steady at four. None of the four are hospitalized and there have been no deaths here.

That is a low number and I sure hope and pray it stays like that.

Perhaps that low number is because we have all done a pretty good job of staying home, using social distancing when we are out, having school at a distance with kids all home, and only essential businesses open.

Although, I have to admit, I have not seen a lot of folks using masks in Blue Earth. But, I have seen where folks stay away from each other when seeing each other in a store or other public place.

Even while out walking about the town for exercise, people will switch to the opposite side of the street or walking trail and try to keep that six foot minimum distance from anyone they meet.

There are those who don’t, of course. Some still visit others in their homes, or get together for a social occasion. Perhaps they think the threat is over, or they are just plain tired of being stuck at home all the time.

Please don’t do it. It is getting tiresome, I agree. But, we are all trying to do our part to stop this thing. And while it is not so serious here, it sure is in many places in our country.

I have to admit I am a bit surprised that while some meetings are being held by Zoom, Facebook Messenger, Facetime, phone or video conferencing and other social media means, there still are some being held in person.

For instance, the Blue Earth, Winnebago and Wells City Councils.

In Blue Earth, the council, mayor, some staff are present in the council chambers, while members of the media and other staff members are listening in on a conference phone call.

In Winnebago and Wells the council, staff and public are all present, but trying to stay at least six feet apart.

Not sure that is setting a great example. For what it’s worth…just my opinion.

It would be great if this could all be over soon. Everyone is getting tired of it, that is for sure.

But, I doubt that magically it will all go away on May 4 or May 10 and everything will be back to normal. I predict there will be some restrictions lifted, perhaps, but I think it will be a while before groups of more than 10, or things like movie theaters, concerts and sporting events will open back up.

But hang in there. Remember, it is not like the Spanish Flu in 1918. And we must do what we must to keep it from ever getting that bad. Even if that means making some sacrifices.

Don’t you agree?