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The ‘Spanish’ flu outbreak of 1918 is playing out just like ‘reopen’ protesters are in 2020: report

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National Public Radio reporter Tim Mak wrote an extensive Twitter thread after researching the way the flu outbreak spread throughout the United States in the early 20th century.

It began in San Francisco in Sept. 1918, he explained, and people were successfully wearing masks and cases were dropping. By November, public health officials said the city could reopen.

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“Residents rushed to entertainment venues after having been denied this communal joy for months. The mayor himself was fined by his own police chief after going to a show without a mask,” said Mak.

Another wave of the virus came in Dec. 1918 and the health officials told people to start wearing masks again, but people refused. Businesses were worried about their Christmas sales, so they opposed the efforts, as did the Culinary Workers Union. Residents were over it, and they’d already been dealing with it for months. Police began fining or arresting people for not wearing masks, which sparked lawsuits from people claiming it was their Constitutional right to risk their own lives.

Christian Scientists said it was “subversive of personal liberty” and civil libertarians claimed no one could force them to wear masks.

After the San Francisco Chronicle came out against mandatory masks, the death rate continued to climb, said Mak.

“An op-ed ran in the local paper w/headline ‘What’s The Use?’ after a man got sick despite following public health guidelines,” he explained. “A promised vaccine turned out to be bogus. Hundreds of citizens congregated on Dec. 16 to debate a masking order.”

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On Dec. 18, a bomb was sent to the city’s public health official.

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On Dec. 19, he explained that officials voted down an order that would make wearing a mask mandatory.

“The dollar sign is exalted above the health sign,” the public health officer said, according to Mak.

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The worst rate of deaths from the flu pandemic was Dec. 30.

“It is of no time to quibble over the worth of the mask. It is the best thing we have found to date, and if you have anything better, for God’s sake, give it to us,” said a representative of an organized labor group.

Finally, the council reconsidered their vote and passed the order on Jan. 10. A whopping 600 new cases were reported just that day.

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“Citizens were arrested/fined for not having masks on, but widespread disobedience of the order continue & large numbers of citizens refused to wear masks,” said Mak, noting that the protests still continued.

“Over 2,000 people attended an event formed by San Franciscans called themselves ‘THE ANTI-MASK LEAGUE,’ denouncing the mandatory masking ordinance.

The protesters were a group of “public-spirited citizens, skeptical physicians, and fanatics,” Crosby wrote.

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It was something Mak noted was remarkably similar to what is happening today with the protests around the country demanding a reopening of the government even if it will kill people.

He noted that the public health officer was the 1919 version of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the NIH virus expert that has been appointed to the coronavirus task force by the president. President Donald Trump’s supporters have now decided that they are against Fauci.

To this day, Mak said that no one credits wearing masks with helping stop the flu pandemic of the era.

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While the flu was referred to as the “Spanish Flu,” it actually had nothing to do with Spain, it’s that Spain was the first country to talk about it openly. Other countries were suffering from it but were dealing with WWI battles. The flu spread throughout trenches during the war, killing over 45,000 American soldiers and hospitalizing 1.2 million soldiers.

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Read his full thread on Twitter.


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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Trump has been talking a big game on debates — but he hasn’t even committed to the ones they scheduled

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In recent interviews, President Donald Trump talked a big game about the presidential debates against presumptive Democratic opponent Joe Biden. The president has even called for an additional debate to happen sooner.

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“By the time of the first presidential debate on September 29, 2020, at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, as many as eight million Americans in 16 states will have already started voting," said Rudy Giuliani who has been negotiating debates for Trump.

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‘So many bootlicking hacks’: Trump campaign ignites mockery with ‘hilarious’ list of potential debate moderators

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Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani on Wednesday asked the Commission on Presidential Debates to move up the last presidential debate to the first week in September, according to Axios. In his letter to the commission, he also included a list of suggested moderators.

The list included several mainstream journalists, such as Norah O'Donnell of CBS News and David Muir of ABC News. But it also contained a number of right-wing pundits, like Hugh Hewitt.

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CNN’s Brianna Keilar explains why she battled Trump adviser: ‘You can’t just ignore BS — you have to shovel it’

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This Tuesday, CNN's Brianna Keilar got into a heated exchange with Trump campaign senior adviser Mercedes Schlapp, fact-checking her assertions that mail-in voting can lead to election fraud. This Wednesday, Keilar did a follow-up on the segment, saying that a coronavirus death in the U.S. is more than "2000-times likely to occur than a case of voter fraud in any type of election."

Keilar then addressed some criticism her network has received over its choice to interview Trump campaign officials when their struggles with the truth are well known.

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