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Welcome to the “Georgia Wasp…”
This blog is modeled on the Carolina Israelite. That was an old-time newspaper – more like a personal newsletter – written and published by Harry Golden. Back in the 1950s, people called Harry a “voice of sanity amid the braying of jackals.” (For his work on the Israelite.)
Which is now my goal as well. To be a “voice of sanity amid the braying of jackals.”
For more on the blog-name connection, see the notes below.
In the meantime:
Back in mid-March (a month ago), we had a politically incorrect dust-up over the term “Chinese coronavirus.” See Tucker Carlson (at right): Racist for saying “Chinese coronavirus?” (Another note: Coronavirus spreads anti-Chinese racism, xenophobia concerns.)
But aside from raising the twin concerns of spreading baseless “Conspiracy Theories” – and Scapegoating – the hubbub brings to mind another arguably “racist” disease: the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918.
Two points. First, it was only called “Spanish flu” because Spain was the only major country that didn’t lie to its own people. That is, Spain didn’t censor bad news about the disease. Every other major country kept its citizens in the dark, lest their people panic. (And maybe buy out all the store-stocked toilet paper?) In plain words, they lied to their citizens and voters.
The other point? This one either puts things in perspective or gives us a preview of whatever bad news may be yet to come. For starters, as of April 15, 2020, there were some two million cases of Covid-19 worldwide. Coronavirus updates: COVID-19 cases top 2 million worldwide. To give us some perspective, the 1918 Spanish flu infected some 500 million people worldwide, making it “one of the deadliest pandemics in human history.”
As for deaths, to date some 28,000 Americans have died from Covid-19. The 1918 Spanish flu killed some 675,000 Americans.* Worldwide there have been some 134,000 Covid-19 deaths. (Coronavirus Update (Live).) Spanish-flu deaths worldwide? No one knows for sure, but at least 17 million:
Lasting from January 1918 to December 1920, it infected 500 million people – about a quarter of the world’s population at the time. The death toll is estimated to have been anywhere from 17 million to 50 million, and possibly as high as 100 million…
(See Wikipedia. And as “noted” below,* if the present Covid-19 pandemic were to have a similar impact – in terms of population percentage – we’d have some 2,025,000 American deaths.)
Also – incidentally – the Spanish flu didn’t start in Spain. (No conspiracy theories please.) It got the name “Spanish flu” only because Spain was neutral in World War I. (Which was slowly coming to an end at about the same time.) That meant Spain didn’t censor the bad news about the disease. The nations actually fighting in World War I imposed strict censorship:
To maintain morale, World War I censors minimized early reports of illness and mortality in Germany, the United Kingdom, France, and the United States. Newspapers were free to report the epidemic’s effects in neutral Spain, such as the grave illness of King Alfonso XIII, and these stories created a false impression of Spain as especially hard hit. This gave rise to the name Spanish flu.
And also speaking of deja vu, see the web article, America relearning the lessons of the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic. One big lesson? Social distancing works, “but only when it’s imposed early. And it has to be sustained.” See US may have to endure social distancing until 2022 if no vaccine is quickly found. But the Number One lesson from the 1918 Spanish flu? (According to the Fox News article.) “Number one, give people the straight facts.”
And let the toilet-paper shortage fall where it may.
But there is one silver lining to this “Corona-cloud overhanging us.” Covid-19 has cut down on the number of mass shootings in the U.S. See March 2020 was the first March without a school shooting in the U.S. since 2002, and Coronavirus Stopped US School Shooting In March.
Just compare the image below with the same one from a year ago, in May 2019…
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The upper image is courtesy of Spanish flu – Wikipedia. The caption: “Soldiers from Fort Riley, Kansas, ill with Spanish flu at a hospital ward at Camp Funston.”
Another note, re: Carlson’s disease-name. See, Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 – Wikipedia:
Nearly a century after the Spanish flu struck in 1918–1920, health organizations moved away from naming epidemics after geographical places. More modern terms for this virus include the “1918 influenza pandemic,” the “1918 flu pandemic,” or variations of those.
The image to the left of the paragraph beginning “As for deaths” is courtesy of 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic – Wikipedia. Caption: “Public venues like this playground in Hannover, Germany, have closed throughout the country.”
Re: “The 1918 Spanish flu killed some 675,000 Americans.” The U.S. population in 1920 – the nearest census to 1918 – was set at a bit over 106 million. 1920 United States Census – Wikipedia. The U.S. population in 2020 is estimated at a bit over 329 million. Population of USA in 2020. The world population as of 1927 was estimated at some two billion. World Population by Year – Worldometer. The world population is expected to be 7.8 billion by 2023. World Population Clock: 7.8 Billion People (2020). Thus there was a three-fold increase in American population between 1920 and 2020, and a “3.9-fold” increase in world population in the same century. Thus for the present Covid-19 to have a similar impact – in terms of percentage of population – the numbers would be as follows: some two million, twenty-five thousand (2,025,000) American deaths; as for the worldwide rate of infection, that 500-million-people total would reach one billion, nine hundred fifty million (1,950,000,000) people. (As noted, roughly a “quarter of the world’s population at the time.”)
Also re: Number of Spanish flu deaths in the United States, see Worst-Case Estimates for U.S. Coronavirus Deaths (New York Times).
The lower image is courtesy of Mass Shootings in 2020 | Gun Violence Archive. As noted, compare that with the “incidents in 2019” lead image for “Trump’s” mass shootings, from May 2019, shown at right.
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Re: The Israelite. Harry Golden grew up in the Jewish ghetto of New York City, but eventually moved to Charlotte, North Carolina. Thus the “Carolina Israelite.” I on the other hand am a “classic 68–year-old “WASP” – White Anglo-Saxon Protestant – living in north Georgia. Thus the “Georgia Wasp.” Anyway, in Charlotte Harry wrote and published the “Israelite” from the 1940s through the 1960s. He was a “cigar-smoking, bourbon-loving raconteur.” (He told good stories.) That also means if he was around today, the “Israelite would be done as a blog.” But what made him special was his positive outlook on life. He got older but didn’t turn sour, like many do today. He still got a kick out of life. For more on the blog-name connection, see “Wasp” and/or The blog.