Posted by Frank Helman
Publ.: Frank Helman is a nonagenarian Rotarian in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. His wife, Marty, is a PDG in district 7780, currrently governor trainer and past zone newsletter editor 
 
The most lethal pandemic to hit the United States was the 1918 Spanish flu, which was responsible for about 675,000 American deaths, according to estimates cited by the C.D.C.
 
The Institute for Disease Modeling calculated that the new coronavirus is roughly equally transmissible as the 1918 flu, and just slightly less clinically severe, and it is higher in both transmissibility and severity compared with all other flu viruses in the past century.
 
Researchers studied deaths during that pandemic a century ago, comparing the experiences of various cities, including what were then America's third and fourth largest, Philadelphia and St. Louis.  In October of that year Dr. Rupert Blue, America's surgeon general, urged local authorities to “close all public gathering places if their community is threatened with the epidemic,” such as schools, churches, and theaters."  There is no way to put a nationwide closing order into effect,” he wrote, “as this is a matter which is up to the individual communities.”
 
The mayor of St. Louis quickly took that advice, closing for several weeks “theaters, moving picture shows, schools, pool and billiard halls, Sunday schools, cabarets, lodges, societies, public funerals, open air meetings, dance halls and conventions until further notice.”  The death rate rose, but stayed relatively flat over that autumn.
 
By contrast, the epidemic had started in Philadelphia before Dr. Blue's warning, so it had taken none of those measures.  Its death rate skyrocketed.  (Source:  The New York Times, March 14, 2020)
 
The lesson:  The more drastic the restrictions, and the sooner they are implemented, the more favorable will be the outcome. 
 
Please forward, especially to anyone who can take appropriate action. 
 
Frank G. Helman
88 Appalachee Road • Boothbay Harbor, Maine 04538
(207) 233-8740 • frankhelman@polaris.net