Social Distancing In History
There’s no doubt that we are living in different times. I keep hearing things like, “we’ve never gone through anything like this before,” which may be true from certain perspectives, but the country has gone through a pandemic before. In 1918, the Spanish Flu or H1N1 swept the world. Testing and medical technology was much different than it is today, but it is believed that 500 million people worldwide were infected. 50 million people died with 675,000 of them here in the United States. Much like today, with no vaccine and no antibiotics, the way to fight the virus was to shut down large gatherings, isolation, quarantine, use disinfectants and encourage people to wash their hands.
Because Idaho was so rural in 1918, no one will ever know the death toll, but we know that the percentages were very high and the mortality rate of the flu were much greater than anything we had seen before or since.
Everyone had to make sacrifices then just as they are today. My daughter, a senior in high school will likely not have a graduation ceremony. A graduation party is still up in the air as are all gatherings large and small like church or even professional sports.
Sometimes it’s easier to know that we’re not the first to go through this. If you’re a parent and you’re planning a child’s birthday party, you’ll have to get creative. You’re not the first to do a birthday in quarantine either. We all know the story of Neil Armstrong’s moon landing, but most don’t know about what life was like for him once he returned. He was quarantined for 21 days upon his arrival, which meant he had to celebrate his 39th birthday in isolation.