📑 How some cities ‘flattened the curve’ during the 1918 flu pandemic

Bookmarked How some cities ‘flattened the curve’ during the 1918 flu pandemic (nationalgeographic.com)

Social distancing isn’t a new idea—it saved thousands of American lives during the last great pandemic. Here’s how it worked.

Nina Strochlic and Riley Champine discuss responses in America to the Spanish Flu. They highlight the importance of social distancing:

Of course, getting citizens to comply with such orders is another story: In 1918, a San Francisco health officer shot three people when one refused to wear a mandatory face mask. In Arizona, police handed out $10 fines for those caught without the protective gear. But eventually, the most drastic and sweeping measures paid off. After implementing a multitude of strict closures and controls on public gatherings, St. Louis, San Francisco, Milwaukee, and Kansas City responded fastest and most effectively: Interventions there were credited with cutting transmission rates by 30 to 50 percent. New York City, which reacted earliest to the crisis with mandatory quarantines and staggered business hours, experienced the lowest death rate on the Eastern seaboard.

The authors also highlighted the need to sustain this for an extended period of time as “relaxing intervention measures too early could cause an otherwise stabilized city to relapse.”

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