Knowledge and the Truth Matter

Early in September, a Navy ship from Boston carried influenza to Philadelphia, where the disease erupted in the Navy Yard. The city’s public health director, Wilmer Krusen, declared that he would “confine this disease to its present limits, and in this we are sure to be successful. No fatalities have been recorded. No concern whatever is felt.”
The next day two sailors died of influenza. Krusen stated they died of “old-fashioned influenza or grip,” not Spanish flu. Another health official declared, “From now on the disease will decrease.”
The next day 14 sailors died—and the first civilian. Each day the disease accelerated. Each day newspapers assured readers that influenza posed no danger. Krusen assured the city he would “nip the epidemic in the bud.”

By September 26, influenza had spread across the country, and so many military training camps were beginning to look like Devens that the Army canceled its nationwide draft call.
Philadelphia had scheduled a big Liberty Loan parade for September 28. Doctors urged Krusen to cancel it, fearful that hundreds of thousands jamming the route, crushing against each other for a better view, would spread disease. They convinced reporters to write stories about the danger. But editors refused to run them, and refused to print letters from doctors. The largest parade in Philadelphia’s history proceeded on schedule.
The incubation period of influenza is two to three days. Two days after the parade, Krusen conceded that the epidemic “now present in the civilian population was…assuming the type found in” Army camps. Still, he cautioned not to be “panic stricken over exaggerated reports.”
He needn’t have worried about exaggeration; the newspapers were on his side. “Scientific Nursing Halting Epidemic,” an Inquirer headline blared. In truth, nurses had no impact because none were available: Out of 3,100 urgent requests for nurses submitted to one dispatcher, only 193 were provided. Krusen finally and belatedly ordered all schools closed and banned all public gatherings—yet a newspaper nonsensically said the order was not “a public health measure” and “there is no cause for panic or alarm.”
There was plenty of cause. At its worst, the epidemic in Philadelphia would kill 759 people…in one day. Priests drove horse-drawn carts down city streets, calling upon residents to bring out their dead; many were buried in mass graves. More than 12,000 Philadelphians died—nearly all of them in six weeks.

Across the country, public officials were lying. U.S. Surgeon General Rupert Blue said, “There is no cause for alarm if precautions are observed.” New York City’s public health director declared “other bronchial diseases and not the so-called Spanish influenza…[caused] the illness of the majority of persons who were reported ill with influenza.” The Los Angeles public health chief said, “If ordinary precautions are observed there is no cause for alarm.”
For an example of the press’s failure, consider Arkansas. Over a four-day period in October, the hospital at Camp Pike admitted 8,000 soldiers. Francis Blake, a member of the Army’s special pneumonia unit, described the scene: “Every corridor and there are miles of them with double rows of cots …with influenza patients…There is only death and destruction.” Yet seven miles away in Little Rock, a headline in the Gazette pretended yawns: “Spanish influenza is plain la grippe—same old fever and chills.”


82 thoughts on “Knowledge and the Truth Matter”

  1. jack, the 1918 influenza had other repercussions too.  those born during that time were at 2-3 times higher risk of developing parkinsons later in life. viruses are known to hide out in the system for decades.

  2. Update on WA.  We now have 6 confirmed deaths from Covid-19 and officials believe it has been present in the area for at least two weeks.

    Just to keep it in perspective.  There have been 21 previous deaths from known flus this season.  

  3. art matters too.

    corey,  your photo is a work of art.  suggest you get it enlarged, printed on canvas  and enjoy contemplating it’s beauty for years to come.

  4. Dexter – Good to see you here, again!   Put a teaspoonful of food-grade, ground turmeric in a little applesauce every day.   It does help arthritis somewhat, as it reduces inflammation.   
    What would I like to hear God say?   You’ll only remember the good days from now on. 

  5. Dex, sorry to hear about your arthritis. Seems like only yesterday you were bopping to the store on your bike. Still able to do any of that?  I’ve got that arthritis issue in the joints I abused as a kid. Getting a new knee in a week and a half as a result, both shoulders are crap and already traded in a hip. Aside from that life is good. Hope you’ll pop in and comment some. Always enjoy your take on things. 

  6. Thanks for that, Jack.  Good reminder of not to trust the current administration.
    Well… it’s stupor Tuesday… at least for us political junkies.  It’s going to be 50 degrees by noontime here.  No skiing for Rick today.  Going shopping.
    Dex… great to see you!

  7. Hey Corey & Dex!  Since I left FB ungloriously, haven’t heard from y’all.
    Jamie, I was reading an article in WaPo yesterday about Covid19. It talked about WA. I have a young, conservative “friend” here from Callam County, Wa who was talking like the dictator. So I was thinking, oh really?  The next paragraph mentioned the hospital my son works in in NYC, the other end of the country. It just keeps popping up every where. 
    Blue, good God comment!

  8. Thanks Jamie!  I checked WhatsApp out – in the App Store there’s 8 different applications that could need to be downloaded – very confusing.  I think I need a WhatsApp app to understand what to download and install.

  9. I thought I had that one in draft mode, as I hadn’t finished it. 
    So let me make a few comments.
    The quotes are from a Smithsonian magazine article from 2 or 3 years ago.(link here)
    One of the main points of the article is that lies and misinformation contributed to more deaths than should have happened. As I read the article it was rather shocking how dangerous the “don’t worry”  meme can be when there are preparations  that one can make that will save lives.
    Since I first pulled those quotes together last Friday the number of deaths from covid19 have grown from just one to six,  all in the same area and 5 of them are in one facility of probably less than 100 residents. The don’t “worry meme” , that compares it to the flu, would have us think that it is 5 in a population of 350 million. When in fact we are talking about 5 in a population of less than 100. Five to ten percent of the people in that facility have died, so far. If you extrapolate that out to all nursing home residents (1.3 million) That would be 65,000 deaths just among nursing home residents. Compared to last years flu deaths which were 61,000 for the general population at large.
    So it has the potential of being a big deal. While panic doesn’t help, serious questions about how the people in charge are planning and preparing are in order. As  general rule of  thumb if they can’t give you any significant details about their plan then they haven’t thought it through and don’t have a plan in place.  That is what I see coming out of our federal government right now.

  10. So the fed dropped the loan rate .5% to combat coronavirus panic in the market. The market isn’t reacting well. I guess I don’t understand the market and the loan rate interplay. 

  11. Oh my god – Greg Sargent of Wapo on SFB’s INSANE criticism of Joe Biden.

    At a rally in North Carolina on Monday night, this actually happened: President Trump ripped into a resurgent Joe Biden by claiming he bungles facts and often appears confused.

    Yes, Trump suggested the former vice president is mentally unfit for the presidency.

    Let it be noted that this came only hours after Trump held an open session on coronavirus, at which he stumbled over the concept of vaccinesand seemed to suggest he has no idea that clinical trials are required for medications.

    And this came at a time when the administration’s coronavirus response has been marred by Trump’s own all-consuming pathologies. Trump’s initial instinct was to rage at the media for treating him unfairly, to deny the outbreak’s seriousness because it might rattle the markets and to  bring in an outside coordinator in part out of fear of that person’s disloyalty.

    Does Trump really want to open the door to a debate over mental fitness for the presidency?

    Apparently he does. At the rally, Trump slammed Biden for botching a gun violence statistic, adding this:

    “Sleepy Joe,” Mr. Trump continued, “he doesn’t even know where he is or what he’s doing or what office he’s running for. Honestly, I don’t think he knows what office he’s running for.”
    If Mr. Biden won the presidency, Mr. Trump said, his staff would actually do the governing. “They’re going to put him into a home, and other people are going to be running the country,” the president said, “and they’re going to be super-left, radical crazies. And Joe’s going to be in a home and he’ll be watching television.”

    Yes, those words were actually uttered by Trump, who regularly relies for his most urgent policy updates on none other than Fox News.

    SFB is in bad need of a mirror.

  12. Important to remember sfb often accuses people of the thing he is guilty of.   This would not be the first time.First case of trumpence virus id’d in Sonoma Co.    Here we go

  13. Pogo
    I believe the phrase “pissing on a forest fire” may apply. After all at the current rate money is damn near free.  
    I read yesterday that the port of Los Angeles is expecting to handle 25% less freight because of the covid19 crises in Asia. That is a big number that will have some major ripples.

  14. The Dow is bouncing around like crazy – the graph looks like a drunk zigzag sewing machine got loose.
    Yes, KC – SFB is well known for his projections of his biggest faults onto his opponents. I wonder whether he’ll be able to find someone to project Pense’s stupidity onto…

  15. Uh-oh, i’ve come down with a confirmed case of Warren Fever!  It’s highly contagious, and should spread throughout the whole country by the end of the night!

  16. Oops… made a gaffe… it’s not 50 degrees…. it’s 58 degrees.  Everyone has shed their coats… at a goddamn ski resort!
    Pogo, lots of great bargains at Lahouts this morning.  Now to eat a light lunch outside on our balcony.

  17. BiD, similar thing for me anytime “golden girls” came on. the  Sophia character (played by Estelle Getty) resembled my feisty five ft 2 eyes of blue mother so much  it was unnerving to see her. the voice and accent were not the same so like you it was easier to listen. 

  18. i agree with paul begala.  particularly if dems have a woman sharing the ticket.

    “This is not a prediction. It’s a certainty. On Thursday, July 16 — that’s the date the Democrat gives his or her acceptance address — on that day, to interrupt that narrative, Donald Trump will call a press conference at Mar-a-Lago. He’s going to dump Mike Pence and put Nikki Haley on the ticket to try to get those suburban moms,” Begala predicted during a panel discussion at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s (AIPAC) conference in Washington, D.C.
    “You watch. Guaranteed,” Begala said. “Trump put Pence in charge of coronavirus to throw him under the bus.”

  19. Which is why we need the energy and heart of Elizabeth Warren at the top of the Dem ticket!   

  20. And so Liz says to the chump, “Yes, and soon it will be PRESIDENT Pocahontas, Lardass.”

  21. Ha…..caused myself to think of old Lardass Liberal.  Never forget the time he took to gnawin’ on Mudcat ass. 

  22. “ I hope you are correct about Warren having a great night!”
    Unlikely.  Biden is the ‘fear’ vote, and people are afraid.  
    YOU can still choose hope over fear, if you haven’t voted, yet!

  23. I don’t think he will dump Pence for Haley.   Pence brings the religious right big time.  I doubt Haley will add anything as a vote getter.  

  24. Craig

    Can’t believe you never heard the rope jumping rhyme

    I had a little bird

    It’s name was Enza

    I opened the window

    and Influenza 

    Good video about the Spanish Flu

  25. funny how lizzie gets shunted aside as being too old by folks including media who are enthralled by or back or see a glorious future today in 78 yo Bernie, 78 yo joe and 78 yo mike.  she’ll be their age now at the end of her second term. 

  26. and they, including IMpotus, aren’t likely to survive to end of a 1st term let alone a 2nd one given the stress of the job,

  27. Warm weather always equaled big discounts at Lahouts.  Good timing, Renee.  And there is nothing wrong with starting Après ski early in the day.

  28. BTW… Rick ordered a new laptop from Hewlett Packard using his employee discount almost 2 months ago.  It’s being built in China and has been delayed for shipment twice.  Today got another email telling him it was being delayed for a third time.  They told him if they didn’t hear from him in 3 days they’d automatically cancel his order.  He’s decided to not respond.  Said he’ll go to Best Buy next week.  Electronics may be a casualty of coronavirus.

  29. Clever commentor Jon Alexander at Wapo posted this – Stupidfragilecallousracistsexistnotmypotus.  I just  love it,

  30. Final Super Tuesday Polls:

    CA: Sanders +7

    TX: Biden +2

    NC: Biden +9

    VA: Biden +15

    MA: Warren +2

    MN: Sanders +5

    CO: Sanders +11

    TN: Biden +7

    AL: Biden +25

    AR: Biden +13

    OK: Biden +7

    UT: Sanders +6

    VT: Sanders +41

  31. Pogo, Stupidfragilecallousracistsexistnotmypotus sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot

  32. I guess we’ll see overnight whether the .5% rate cut today has any effect, but with a 785 point loss on the day (following a +636 jump then a 1123 point dive following the rate cut) it doesn’t look good. My guess is teh Dow will reflect the Super Tuesday results and Covid-19 announcements in the morning.  The emergency rate cut will be lost in the mist.

  33. Should be interesting to see the results roll in.  Poobah, are all those based on polling that reflects the SC primary or are some of them old data that doesn’t?

  34. Yeah, I was surprised that Joe is ahead in as many states as he is in that polling, which is why I asked.  As a side note from 10 days ago and anticipating the SC results apparently, Bernie had this strange assertion (actually it was through Jeff Weaver – who I cannot stand) following NV that seemed to pit his minority (Hispanics) against Joe’s minority (blacks) as if the two groups each have some strange predilection toward one or the other of the two.  Struck me as an odd way to try and endear himself to black voters, who he has to have if he wants to win in November if he gets the nomination.  
    OK, now who carries those exit polls?  CNN?  MSNBC? 

  35. Collin County a north Dallas county that’s been ruby red is this time…+130% enrolled Dems and -30% Repubes.

  36. Look at this shit – from WaPo.

    In mysterious robocalls, Texas voters are told they aren’t supposed to vote until tomorrow

    A wave of suspicious robocalls has bombarded voters in Texas, apparently trying to convince local Democratic voters that they aren’t supposed to cast their ballots until tomorrow.

    The calls have raised red flags with state election officials, who warned the public about them Tuesday, and prompted frustration among area Democratic leaders, who said the barrage could be a form of voter suppression.

    “What they were saying was — if you’re a Democrat, you’re supposed to vote tomorrow; if you’re a Republican or independent, you’re supposed to vote today,” said Trey Arnold, political director for the Dallas County Democratic Party.

    “Of course, this is a form of voter suppression. This is a way to confuse a lot of people who just don’t know today is Super Tuesday and can get confused,” he said, noting that it could be particularly problematic with older voters. The suspect calls appear to have come from at least two numbers bearing a San Antonio area code, according to people who have received them.

    Funded by Trump PAC or whatever it’s called?  

  37. Poobah, this is from the RCP article on today’s nomination contests, speaking of California.

    Polls show Sanders is all but a shoo-in for this winner take-all state, with the second-place finisher here more of an open question since Biden recently leap-frogged ahead of Elizabeth Warren, but by less than a percentage point.

    Is that correct or is CA a proportional delegate state?  I thought it was the latter, thus all the buzz about the 15% threshold.

  38. Well, dang it, I deleted the text message I got about voting.  Didn’t really read it since I voted long ago.   

  39. Craig is getting his info from the same folks who said Hillary would win

  40. RCP reports betting odds.  This shocked me.  From 2/22, Biden moved from 9.1 to 59.2;  Bernie from 54.3 to 36.6; Lizzie from 2.8 to 2.0 and Mike from 21.8 to 6.4.  Ladies and Gentlemen, place yer bets.

  41. Biden can win in Texas, if he has the right message, the right running mate, and the right counter slogans. Texas is 50 % female and 40 some % non-White. Although trump’s loud, obnoxious assholery has pleased the big box preachers, it hasn’t played well with the choir or the ladies who make the coffee. Without Texas, trumpism has no pathway into the future.

  42. It’s fun to see Texas turning Blue, slowly. Bernie just emailed me ( he does this 10 times a day!) joyfully proclaiming the California win.  However, the delegate slicing is going to take maybe 3 weeks to decide.  L.A. Times <<Sanders was leading in early returns Tuesday night, but the question remains how much of the state’s trove of 415 delegates his competitors will claim. Former Vice President Joe Biden seems likely to have enough support to claim a significant number of delegates, and former New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg may as well. But the final delegate numbers will remain unsettled for days, if not weeks, as state officials count millions of provisional and late-arriving mail-in ballots and calculate the state’s complex delegate math. >>

  43. Early voting is a dilemma.  If you can’t make it to the polling place on election day, isn’t it a shame you threw away your vote on a candidate who quit just as you sent in your ballot?  Your down-ballot vote counts, but you can’t get a new ballot for top ballot selections that suspended.  

  44. Oh…Pogo?  I had to suspend my bike riding in October of 2014, yeah, that long ago.  Maybe a new drug will appear and I can once again ride.  I kept my bikes just to look at them and hope.  blue?  I just tried the tumeric stirred into a small bowl of applesauce.  I’ll keep at it for a while and I optimistically will get results.  Thanks.  And Pogo again…is Little Pogo out of college now?  What is he up to?  

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