We failed to learn lessons from great pandemic of 1918

Posted: May. 20, 2020 3:40 pm

To The Herald-Whig:

Getting my parents to talk about their parents during my childhood in Colorado was always difficult. However, my father, would talk about his mother's death during the great pandemic (a scary word) of 1918.

The zeitgeist at the time was that we need not worry about pandemics in our future thanks to modern science and our government. Sadly, we failed to learn the greatest lesson of the great pandemic of 1918. That severe epidemics tend to occur, and the latest one is upon us today.

The basics of pandemic response are not a mystery. The key issue related to emerging and reemerging infectious diseases is the development of playbooks for world leaders to follow to protect the people they serve and to minimize the worldwide damage from these invisible enemies that know no boundaries.

Once we're on the other side of this medical/economic/social pandemic crisis, let's remember how Pollyanna notions handicapped our nation's ability to respond to this crisis -- and never let it happen again.

John C. Schafer

Hannibal, Mo.