The Covid 19 toll seems staggering.
We spray disinfectant, wipe surfaces, practice social distancing, stay indoors so we can watch lots of TV and listen to news anchors tell us again and again of the unimaginable horrors and dangers we face, the stress in our lives and the brave heroes on the front lines.
This planet-sweeping flu, we tell ourselves, is like nothing that’s come before. We tremble contemplating that in two short years more than five million(!!) have died across the globe, while in the USA the number of deaths has topped 735,000.
Trying to move forward feels overwhelming. It’s simply too much and there’s no end in sight.
Now take a deep breath and erupt in riotous joy at how easy we have it. Covid 19 is minor league stuff. Our nonstop sobbing at how difficult life is today demonstrates not the depth and width of our pandemic, but the ignorance and dishonesty of our citizens and media.
Read this: The Spanish Flu broke out 100 years ago, and so did the first World War.
A) WWI killed 21 million people in four years.
B) Spanish Flu also killed 21 million people … in its first four months.
C) Starting in 1918, between autumn and the following spring, 548,000 Americans died from the pandemic.
Approximately 80% of American soldiers killed in WWI died from flu, not from enemy fire. Globally the disease killed between 50 million and 100 million, but statistics are understandably unreliable from that era. Who counted flu deaths in Chinese cities, or tiny villages in Africa or Brazil that even Africans and Brazilians had never heard of? Or a rural county in Wyoming?
World population was far smaller 100 years ago, thus fatality rates were even more staggering. Today, Covid 19 cuts its widest, deadliest swath through the oldest of our elderly and the sickest of our sick.
The Spanish Flu took another route. By far the most vulnerable were the young and healthy. Soldiers and the working class, for example. Medical investigators trying to get a handle on the Spanish Flu learned of a man standing on a street corner conversing with friends who suddenly dropped to the pavement, dead.
Or of a nurse who went to work, clocked her hours, came home, had dinner and died that night. Not many ventilators and respirators were involved.
The Spanish Flu hopscotched the globe, appearing simultaneously in remote villages and sprawling cities. Outbreaks were separated by oceans, mountain ranges and thousands of miles without air travel to help spread it. There still is no explanation for how this happened.
Today, our nationwide Covid 19 policies dictate we drape hankies over our noses, avoid friends and strangers, and keep our children isolated from relatives, playmates, schools and life. All these drastic measures despite children being nearly immune to dying from Covid 19.
You can find many books about the Spanish Flu, detailing everything from the race to find a cure to personal accounts of its terrifying impact on cities, families and the world.
Someday books will be written about Covid 19, and I look forward to reading what similar impacts, if any, the disease wreaked upon the planet.
INFLATION? WHAT INFLATION?
It’s encouraging to know inflation is in check and that your dollar’s value is intact. I see the figures and I read the explanations and it appears the government has everything under control. The economy is great and getting greater. Me, I’m not sure we can stand things getting a lot more greater.
My wallet suffers. It’s been losing weight and is now a mere shadow of itself. Dollars evaporate when I stop at a gas station or liquor store. Trophy and I are planning to rent a couple ribeye steaks for a barbecue this coming weekend and return them Monday morning for the deposit.
Housing prices go up so fast you can’t afford to buy the house you own. Economists are already planning future bestsellers to explain the real estate boom, and inevitable bust.
As someone who once took Econ 101 in college I know rising prices are balanced by reductions in other segments of the economy. Beachfront homes in Hawaii are perhaps going for a fraction of 2018 prices.
Or maybe the cost of a two minute rocket launch with Elon Musk has dipped, and cocaine futures are trading at all-time lows. Cuban cigars, a nickel each.
MY IDEA, YOUR BOOK
Here’s a story pitch that you are free to steal and make your own. I’ve thought of it over the years but have done nothing so it’s all yours.
First, do a little research in old newspaper astrology columns that appeared daily over the years. Next look up famous (or infamous) people on momentous days and check what had actually occurred to them versus what the celestial gods had foreseen.
When Janis Joplin scanned astrological columns the morning of October 4, 1970 were there vague misgivings?
How about Don Larsen, an astrological Leo? Reading the New York Daily News over breakfast on October 8, 1956, did Jeanne Dixon advise him how his afternoon among the Brooklyn Dodgers would go?
I’ve read no historical accounts of any of the Titanic’s 2240 passengers opting to disembark the ship in Belfast prior to launch on April 2, 1912. Surely some had read the morning’s horoscope predictions. Why weren’t they terrified?
We can only wonder what the stars and planets foresaw for Alec Baldwin on October 22, 2021. Was it “Your job offers challenges today; be extra-kind to co-workers”?
(Tom Hine writes this column and today makes comparisons between pandemics 100 years apart. But, guarding against Covid, he’s had two vaccines and an extra booster shot, and recommends you do the same. TWK is invisible, imaginary, and immune from diseases.)