Saturday, April 4, 2020

the specter of the Spanish flu

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We hope that we will not arrive at such figures. However, there are common points. Hundreds of patients in a makeshift military hospital and a exhausted nurse. In March 1918, the Spanish flu epidemic began in Fort Riley, Kansas (United States). The American army trains there to go and support its French and British allies in war. The soldiers are taken by a mysterious evil: fever, headache, aches. 1,100 soldiers are hospitalized. 38 will die. Low mortality, but rapid contagion.

The medical community believes it is just a bad flu. In April, the American soldiers land in Europe and bring the virus with them. On the front, thousands of French soldiers fall ill and are struck down under the eyes of destitute doctors. History will remember that the virus certainly came from Asia, that the zero patient was detected in Kansas and that the Spanish flu, so called because Spain, neutral, was the only country not to censor the statistics in this war period. In total, the epidemic has killed nearly 50 million people in one year.

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