1918 Spanish flu documentary (Video)

56 minutes. This fascinating PBS documentary “Influenza 1918” was first available in January, 1998 and was re-issued in March, 2020.

Dr. Fauci, in his “normal” non-raspy voice, speaks several times in the section on what scientists were doing in 1998 and his hopes for the future.

The film takes viewers back to September of 1918, when soldiers at an army base near Boston suddenly began to die. The cause of death was identified as influenza, but it was unlike any strain ever seen.

The film includes interviews from survivors of the flu in different parts of the county. Many people died, including entire families.

There is a  “mystery” story of how the virus genome was finally completed around 1995. It starts with a young Swedish virologist who went to a small Alaskan village in the 1950s and retrieved samples from people who died and buried frozen in the permafrost. To read about the “Mystery” story of how the genome was decoded “Scientific Investigation of the 1918 Flu” click here

50 million deaths worldwide. 675,000 Americans died. The U.S. population at that time was 103,268,000. The death rate was 6.5%. Mass graves were used.

My comments: The film is not about today’s political issues. It was produced in 1998. I watched it in mid-March when it first became available. I recently re-watched it. The film is even more relevant today as it helps us understand our last U.S. pandemic. Similar to New York in March, there were mass graves, many people in hospitals, large crowded events, etc.

Click here watch on youtube Also available on Amazon Prime

Many of the issues in 1918 are relevant today. There was denial, failure to wear masks, crowds, no physical distancing. Of course, back then no one knew what caused it. We did not know about viruses until the electron microscope was invented in the 1930s and we could see them.

To watch another popular video, Deadliest Plague of the 20th Century: Flu of 1918, click here.

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