I can’t imagine what it was like during the flu pandemic of 1918. There was no TV or radio and the flow of information was slow, at best.
We did not have antibiotics or the various types of pain relievers. Aspirin was the primary source of relief. In rural areas, folks did not have electricity or running water.
The death toll in the U.S. was 675,000, It was estimated that 500 million people, or one-third of the world’s population contracted the flu. Over 50 million died worldwide.
While we don’t have a vaccine for the coronavirus, we do have medicine to relieve cough, fever and other symptoms.
When the virus began showing up in the U.S., people started rushing to grocery stores to buy what they thought they needed. Police had to be called to help restore order as folks fought over things like toilet paper.
Fortunately, we have settled down a bit. There have been signs that a degree of good-natured, neighborly kindness may be breaking out. If we could bottle it, everyone might need a dose.
Someone posted a description of a visit to the supermarket by saying that while the store was filled with people, they were kind and gracious to one another.
I have been driving a school bus this week taking breakfast and lunch to Hall County school students. The parents, who are often present with their children, are most grateful.
I have driven several different routes, including some, where the student’s most nutritious meals are the ones they receive at school. The meals that we are delivering have fruits and vegetables, in addition to a sandwich or some other main item. It’s not a perfect meal, but it would sustain you.
I’m no doctor, but having good nutrition is one way to fight the virus, as it comes our way.
When we had an outbreak of the flu, a few years ago, we had a vaccine and means of treating victims. This virus has no vaccine and the only cure is isolated bed rest and treating the symptoms you can.
Two of our state’s fatalities due to the virus may be linked to a pair of funerals. Someone from out of town came to the funerals and may have been the link to the virus.
If you’re carrying the virus, it only takes close contact to spread it. Stay out of crowds.
I hope this outbreak of good neighbors will continue. If you have someone in your neighborhood who is over 60 and may be in frail health, call and ask if you can pick up something at the store for them. Don’t go inside and visit, but leave it on the porch or some other non-contact means of delivery.
My hands have been so dry from repeated washings. That’s OK. I have always been careful, but am watching where I touch and then washing them again, if needed. By the way, warm soapy water is the best way to clean them. Hand sanitizer is a good backup.
And here is one last oldie but goodie, call someone on the phone and have a conversation. The virus wont spread over phone lines. Tell someone you care about them. Listen to them and they will listen to you.
Take care of yourself and take care of one another.
Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page and on www.gainesvilletimes.com.