Friday, 28 February 2020

and in flew enza

Via the always interesting Nag on the Lake, we’re directed towards a hauntingly resonant gallery of images from over a century ago that speaks to current times.
These people don face masks to, per instruction of public health authorities, as a first line defence against contagion and spreading the particularly deadly strain of influenza of 1918. We had known that it was spread in an especially pernicious manner by the reintegration of millions of soldiers and displaced populations but hadn’t before questioned why it was popularly known as the Spanish Flu. Neutral Spain (epidemiological records of the time were insufficient to geographically source the outbreak) had no troops fighting in the Great War and therefore no morale to maintain, and unlike British, French, German, Canadian or US outlets, the Spanish press was free to report on the pandemic and the unsuppressed news from Spain forged the connection in the public’s mind (relatedly) since the prevalence seemed especially bad there. Much more at the links above.