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Monday, November 17, 2014

Another Ebola death and the 1918-19 Influenza lesson

~ RIP..

Warning:  This is a lengthy post..  But important nonetheless

A month or so ago there was non-stop news-flow surrounding any Ebola-case transfer from West Africa to the US.    People were scared.. Rightfully so..

Now some people think the media wishes to push 'fear' as if that's how it sells its papers and gets people's eyeballs tuned to the commercials..    Nope..

Whether it be the economy, finance, political strife or genuine health scare, they push the narrative that 'All is Well.. Keep Calm & Move Along.'

And even if some wanted to sound trumpets, ultimately the 'free' press is controlled by government and like lapdogs, always does what it says especially under the guise of National Security or avoiding necessary panic
~ 1918 sign..

The newly appointed Ebola czar Ron Klain has so far shown a stunning ability to mute media reports of any ongoing developments surrounding the deadly disease.

Even more stunning to us is there's people who really don't wish to know and support the government & media's mutual decision to censor information to keep Americans in the dark

This is why virtually nobody was aware that on Saturday 11/15, a surgeon named Dr Martin Salia who contracted Ebola while treating patients in Sierra Leone but lives in the US, had been transferred to the Nebraska Medical Center which had previously successfully treated two other Ebola patients this fall.

But sadly, this time they failed, and earlier today it was reported that Salia passed away from the deadly disease.
~ 1918 Chicago sign

What is interesting according to CBS is Dr. Salia first showed Ebola symptoms on Nov. 6 (11 days ago) but tested negative for the virus.

Just like the first Ebola casuality on US soil, he eventually tested positive on Monday 11/10 only after his symptoms had escalated dramatically, leading many to wonder just what is the incidence of false negatives when testing for Ebola.

Salia is the sixth doctor working in Sierra Leone to contract Ebola and die.

We don't trust the government on really anything..
~ Philadelphia police, Dec 1918

Its not an Obama thing..  Yes we despise the man but it goes beyond the last 6 years..

History has shown when government says to keep calm, you better be concerned...

During the great 1918-19 Influenza Epidemic, it is estimated that over 21 million people globally died with an estimated 675,000 Americans among the dead.

To give some perspective, World War I which lasted four years and had just ended around the time it took hold, stole the lives of over 16 million people with 117,000 US serviceman fatalities

It took 8-10 days from first sign of symptoms to die.
~ Influenza victims, Ft. Riley, KS - 1918

In three weeks, it killed more people than AIDS has in 24 years

It was also called Spanish Flu' because unlike the US and Europe, Spain had a free press and honestly reported the initial outbreak

In 1917 - 18, the Deeply Evil US President Woodrow Wilson used threat of sedition and a very tight control of the press i.e. heavy propaganda to get the nation united to fight his war to save the banks who wouldn't get repaid their loans had Germany won.

Anyone who dared speak out against the war was jailed or sent back to their birth nation if they were an immigrant.  A US Congressman who spoke out actually received a 15 year prison sentence.
~ Seattle Daily Times- 1918

During this time at least 25% of doctors and nurses were in the military. Additionally, national, local, and state officials all operated in the same way.    At best, they communicated half-truths, or even out-right lies.

As terrifying as the disease was, the officials made it more terrifying by making little of it, and they often underplayed it. Local officials said things like “If normal precautions are taken, there is nothing to fear” but then they would close all businesses.

“Worry kills more people than the disease itself,” a Chicago public health official was quoted as saying.  Other quotes were: “Don’t get scared,” and “The so-called Spanish influenza is nothing more or less than old fashioned grippe (flu).”

And if newspapers did report it, they would cover outbreaks in distant cities then completely ignore coverage when people in their own city got ill for fear of hurting morale.

Whatever it took for people to be docile and calm and resume their daily lives without fear or concern..
~ "Crowded extemporized sleeping area in Drill Hall at Naval Training Station, San Francisco"

Communication was rarely honest, because honesty would hurt morale.

One of the first newspapers that started telling the truth in Milwaukee saw its editor jailed, so they stopped telling reporting it honestly.

There was a lot of contradiction between what people were being told vs what they were seeing with their own eyes..  They heard from authorities and newspapers that everything was going fine, but at the same time, bodies were piling up. Imagine your spouse lying dead in bed for six to eight days.

There were also coffin shortages. The dead were piled up where they died and police going around asking people to “bring out their dead.”
In San Antonio, 90% of all families had at least one member who contracted the flu though fortunately not all who did, ended up dead..

The fear was so great that people were afraid to leave home or talk to one another. Everyone was holding their breath, almost afraid to breathe, for fear of getting sick.

Army camps were shut down.  People didn’t want to let soldiers return home. People were afraid to have any intimacy with their community and loved ones. Nobody would bring food in or come to visit.

In Phoenix, a rumor started that dogs carried influenza, and people were shooting their pets. Some would give their pets to the police to kill them, because they couldn’t do them themselves.
~ Makeshift hospital in Oakland, Ca.

An internal American Red Cross report at the time concluded, “A fear and panic of the influenza, akin to the terror of the Middle Ages regarding the Black Plague, [has] been prevalent in many parts of the country.”

One report noted that not a single automobile was moving on the street in Manhattan.  In Philadelphia, a medical student was able to count cars on the way in and said the city was dead.

Would a more open and honest discourse with the people at the time saved more lives?

Possibly..  who really know..
The main lesson for government to take from 100 years ago is false reassurance is the worst thing you can do.

Don’t withhold information because people will think you know more.  Tell the truth— don’t manage the truth.   If you don’t know something, say why you don’t know, and say what you need to do to know.

When government says all is OK or downplays something, it shouldn't mean you do so..

Government has its own agendas... To keep control.. To keep the economy moving along..  To keep people blissfully ignorant to any real problems outside themselves so they can live happy little lives
We believe Ebola is a big deal; a serious threat that if not contained and/or an antidote found, could sweep across the world and cause horror for millions of people globally..

Some would say we're completely wrong and 5,000 deaths in Africa is mere raindrops in the ocean and we will happily have academic arguments with anyone who wishes over a cup of Oolong tea

But just don't think us rude if we greet you wearing a mask and you shaking our glove-covered hand