Menú Principal
1 de diciembre de 2022

Spanish Flu Lockdown Rules

There has been no centrally imposed lockdown to contain the spread of infection, although many theatres, dance halls, cinemas and churches have been closed for months. When Seattle authorities announced a citywide lockdown, 15-year-old Violet Harris was thrilled she no longer had to go to school. «Good idea? I`ll say it is! » she wrote in her diary, which was widely published in USA Today. «The only cloud in the sky is that the [school] board will add the missed days at the end of the semester.» But when the reality of quarantine set in, Harris got bored. Unable to leave the house, she spent hours sewing a dress to wear to school when it reopened, experimenting with new recipes from the local newspaper, producing a particularly gruesome load of fudge, half of which she threw away. It seems that the full weight of the crisis only appeared to her when she received the surprising news that her best friend Rena had contracted the Spanish flu. A week later, after Rena recovered, the two spoke on the phone. «I asked [Rena] what it was like to have the flu and she said, `Don`t understand.`» Stricter enforcement of existing laws against spitting and vigilance by individuals and businesses have often been accompanied by a relaxation of bans on public gatherings. Copeland made this trade-off clear in his handling of the New York outbreak. Local transport could not be closed, he argued, because «.

They might as well try to cut off the main artery of the body as they could try to shut down the subway. However, 26 trams and subways could be made safer by warning passengers to be careful and asking police to catch the unwary (Figure 2). When Copeland met with representatives of New York City`s streetcar companies, theaters and movie theaters on Sept. 18, he found they were more than eager to publicize flu control measures to avoid potentially profitable shutdowns. At Copeland`s suggestion, the railways have «. offered to assist in the installation of conspicuous signs and other forms of advertising cards in cars urging anyone who tends to sneeze, cough or cough to do so with a tissue near their mouth. Theater owners agreed to print the same rule in their programs and have ushers. Pay special attention to the spectators» and «. Ask people who don`t follow this rule to leave the house. The film exhibitors offered to show and apply the slides with sanitary rules before and after the film.

Guests were also asked to wash their hands after being in contact with someone who coughed or sneezed in public. Following these «simple» rules, an article about the Copeland meeting reported that «much of the risk of infecting the atmosphere with flu germs is avoided.» 38 Another New York Times article quoted Copeland`s statement that «If everyone heeds this warning, the disease will not become epidemic. 39 In some factories, smoking rules were relaxed, believing that cigarettes would help prevent infection. Tired of stay-at-home orders, mandatory masks, business closures and social distancing rules. Sometimes bookstores stayed open and reported massive spikes in customers. According to the Wichita Daily Eagle, «Wichita`s bookstores enjoy an excellent magazine business.» As soon as a new issue of a popular magazine appeared, customers rushed to grab it at the stands. A good case study is Decatur, Illinois. During the lockdown, the city of Decatur faltered; When «even the most informal parties were cancelled,» Illinois was «thrown into its own resources for entertainment.» Public dinners were «out of the question» for the simple reason that «it`s hard to eat with a `flu mask`. So residents turned to newsagents. A local shopkeeper told the Decatur Herald & Review that he was constantly exhausted, leading the paper to conclude that «if the quarantine lasts much longer, the habit of the magazine and the chimney will have such a hold that it will be difficult to break it.» After six weeks of lockdown, Seattle`s public meeting rooms have finally reopened. «School opens this week,» Harris wrote in his diary.

«Thursday! Have you ever done that? As if they couldn`t wait until Monday! Although these problems were evident in 1918, the downward trend in tuberculosis mortality was also evident. Health authorities had good reason to believe that they were defeating the White Plague by isolating as many acute cases as possible, encouraging those who stayed at home to «consume safely,» educating «the masses» on the rules of good nose/mouth and hand hygiene, and working to improve living conditions in general. Despite their imperfect execution, the sanatorium treatment and strict hygienic monitoring of the hand-mouth-nose connection seemed to make a positive difference. In the absence of a reliable cure for tuberculosis (which would not be found until the late 1940s), there was every reason to further promote these measures. Compared to 1889-1890, public health experts faced the 1918-1919 flu epidemic with a much greater ability to teach disease prevention rules and punish those who did not comply with them through the use of fines and other coercive forms of health policing. In 1918, health authorities recognized influenza as a respiratory infection transmitted through coughing, sneezing and sputum. To minimize the spread, they have used infection control methods developed and tested for decades, even centuries, in some cases, including quarantine, isolation, disinfection, ventilation, and personal hygiene to limit droplet infections. Although some of the ideas still accepted at the time, such as the theory of dust infection or the role of bookbooks and stamps in spreading germs, were then thrown overboard, we still believe much of what experts and knowledgeable laymen believed to be true in 1918. The details have been changed, but the basic mechanisms of the migration of microorganisms from the sick to the wells have been understood.9 In the years immediately following the pandemic, commentators have continued to reflect on the difficulty of controlling the urban «masses» during a public health emergency. In 1922, an investigative article quoted the British newspaper The Guardian, which expressed this sense of futility regarding influenza: «But what is the point of advising a modern urban population not to travel by train or tram, to ask the rising generation to abandon the images, or to warn the unemployed to eat a lot and avoid worries?» 51 Nor has it been easy to get the public to apply modern rules of nose, mouth and hand hygiene.

Even at the height of the pandemic, people who should have known broke the rules better. In San Francisco, for example, the mayor hung up his face mask while watching the ceasefire day parade, and the health commissioner was fined for not wearing his mask during a boxing match.24 Post-pandemic behavior also did not seem prudent. In anticipation of what would become a perpetual lament, Dr. Ennion Williams, in a 1927 speech to a group of nurses, noted that medical professionals were setting a bad example for the public, citing the case of a tuberculosis expert with a coughing cold in his hand (where was his handkerchief?) while reading a lecture at the annual meeting of the National Tuberculosis Association.52 When history repeats itself, That`s just because human nature remains relatively constant. Reading newspaper articles and diaries written during the 1918 flu pandemic, I felt a strange flash of gratitude. The dark jokes, anxious gossip, and breathless speculation reminded me of the scrolling of Twitter over the past few weeks, watching people struggle with quarantined life as they battle the crisis. Despite many similarities to today, the lockdown of 1918 was still a much more lonely experience than it is today. Without the many communication technologies that allowed us to stay in touch with friends and family, Americans in the early 20th century also struggled with the sudden loss of strong community ties, an experience that, for many, even outweighed the fear of a deadly and contagious disease. Perhaps the pandemic has also given public health leaders the opportunity to promote a more masculine style of health education. As can be seen in the writings of Charles Chapin and H.W.