Monday, March 16, 2020

Pandemic history readings

Canada's History, nicely ahead of the game, has a lively 2006 piece about Canada's experience with the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918-19.  It is online here.   And a website from the War Museum here

Among histories of the event: Mark Osborne Humphries's The Last Plague (from 2013) -- is the title suddenly becoming inadequate?

Also, a recent American econometric study of the economic impacts of the Spanish flu, argues that they were brief, not that severe, and rapidly recovered from, even in the face of 700,000 American dead (and 60,000 Canadian). Possibly reassuring if the state of your investments/pension fund is just another thing to stress about right now. (Update, March 19:  Kevin Drum, my source on this link, is now having second thoughts about the possibility of escaping without economic demage.

Update, March 17:  Helen Webberley from Melbourne, Auz:
We always think of plagues being only a medieval issue where the average age of death was in any case young. They had appalling filth and no real medicine, so plagues were inevitable, and fatal. 
Secondly we think of our modern world as so sophisticated that any disease will be minor, localised and easily treated. Thanks for the reference. It will show that neither of these two thoughts are totally true.
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