The 1918 influenza pandemic occurred – later recognized – in three (3) waves and was the most severe pandemic in history. A small “null” wave struck during the harvest of 1917 in Kansas. This is what my Dad remembers of his illness. He wasn’t the only farm boy getting sick or furloughed from the harvest work in Scandia, KS during the Fall of 1917, because of “flu.” His older sister, Leota, (my aunt) had also gotten sick. She was already old enough for school at the time and may have brought it home. Not clear to him, nor if his sister Lucille (my other aunt) had gotten sick. Both survived into adulthood. I knew both my aunts. It was around the time of his own birthday, he recalled to me, in November, 1917 he got sick for a week with fever, but recovered. He was five years old. It was a tough time. He said later that after that illness, he never got sick again. Ever. During the Pandemic proper, nor in later life, except an occasional streph throat (probably passed on by me), I never remember him sick until as an old man of 103 years. That was it.
Photo Credit: CDC, The Pandemic of 1918-1920. Apparently of sick soldiers recovering. The first major outbreak recorded in the U.S. was at Camp Funston at Fort Riley, KS in March, 1918. There were more than 100 cases. The pandemic peaked in the U.S. during the Second Wave, in the fall of 1918. This highly fatal Second Wave was responsible most U.S. deaths attributed to the pandemic.
For the curious, Scandia, KS (GREEN PIN) is a short way from Ft. Riley, KS (RED PIN) in central Kansas proper. Scandia, as its name implies, was founded by Swedes in the late 19th Century escaping oppressive conditions in their own country under the reigning King. It was the Scandinavian Society of Chicago that purchased the land. It was established in the neighborhood of “Andersonville” on N. Clark St., west of Rogers Park, north of Wrigleyville and the Cubs Stadium. By 1889, my great-grandfather, William, was receiving mail in Scandia, KS as a Board Member of the Swedish Lutheran Church.
So one is struck by this frank talk with a son by a father who recovered from the Spanish Influenza and Pandemic, obviously gaining some immunity for the flu that spanned a lifetime. I personally had a sever case of “the flu” in November of 2019 and was in bed for three days with fever, simultaneous with the reported cases of “SARS” coronavirus in China and the death of a 55-year old from it, as reported by the Chinese medical authorities.
Somewhat speculative: What about our own Coronavirus pandemic and Second Wave? Will there be one? Will it be like the pandemics of 1918, 1957, and 1968 that killed millions?
If we do not stop this pandemic now, it will rebound in a Second Wave
Not an exponential curve, as seen in The Washington Post, etc., but in a definable, evolved second coming, so-to-speak.
There are two routes apparent:
(1) human-to-mammal infection, with evolution leading to mammal-to-human infection as occurred in 1918. See that dog your neighbor lets kiss her face? That sort.
(2) human-to-human evolution into a virulent form singling out the most vulnerable sections of the population after those elderly with pre-existing illness (COPD, cancer, smoking).
These vulnerable sections include neonates, and punk kids who vape and smoke dope, and have caused irreparable damage to their lungs. This is a breeding ground for infection and pandemic evolution. We will see. Vape shops in Seattle are still open. Pot shops in Seattle are still open. Is that part of the plan?
My banker at a regional bank was wearing a mask to work yesterday. She says she only wears it to work. I know she smokes. Like a pack a day. I ask her point blank, “Do you wear that mask for your cigarette break, too? Or do you take it off with each puff?” She did no respond. Yes, I can be an irritant sometimes, but it was a valid question. I am a scientist, after all.
Already in my second week of self-quarantine after my trip to Hawai`i, I look forward to rejoining the rest of the World soon, to observe and record.
Note to Readers: I use this blog as a worksheet of ideas. The graph of three waves with the timescale shown did not make any sense to me, even thought it came right off the CDC website. So, it is gone. It did not add any details or statistics to the blog.