The Great Influenza, John Barry

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The Next Book is: The Great Influenza
The Author is: John Barry
Here is a link to a review/synopsis:
The meeting date/time will be: May 2, 2020
The meeting location will be: On line

Magisterial in its breadth of perspective and depth of research, The Great Influenza provides us with a precise and sobering model as we confront the epidemics looming on our own horizon. As Barry concludes, “The final lesson of 1918, a simple one yet one most difficult to execute, is that…those in authority must retain the public’s trust. The way to do that is to distort nothing, to put the best face on nothing, to try to manipulate no one. Lincoln said that first, and best. A leader must make whatever horror exists concrete. Only then will people be able to break it apart.”

At the height of World War I, history’s most lethal influenza virus erupted in an army camp in Kansas, moved east with American troops, then exploded, killing as many as 100 million people worldwide. It killed more people in twenty-four months than AIDS killed in twenty-four years, more in a year than the Black Death killed in a century. But this was not the Middle Ages, and 1918 marked the first collision of science and epidemic disease.

[EDIT: Adding the conference link]

First part of the book is a review of how the U.S. built Johns Hopkins and the Rockefeller Institute, with the German medical system as a model with players like Koch and Erhlich. Check out Charite on Netflix is you want more of a taste of this.

Looks like a 19th Century Grey’s Anatomy. :laughing:

It is, kind of. :slight_smile:

But there was a scandal that Koch thought he had a tuberculosis vaccine but he didnt.

And at the very end, in the coda, so and so was awarded the Nobel in medicine. A whole list of “McDreamys” making treks to Sweden.

Sounds about right.

I guess we’ve made some progress since 1918. At least our President admits that COVID-19 exists.

John Barry has an OpEd in the NY Times today

During the 1918 influenza pandemic, almost every city closed down much of its activity. Fear and caring for sick family members did the rest; absenteeism even in war industries exceeded 50 percent and eviscerated the economy. Many cities reopened too soon and had to close a second time – sometimes a third time – and faced intense resistance. But lives were saved.

Had we done it right the first time, we’d be operating at near 100 percent now, schools would be preparing for a nearly normal school year, football teams would be preparing to practice – and tens of thousands of Americans would not have died.

This is our second chance. We won’t get a third. If we don’t get the growth of this pandemic under control now, in a few months, when the weather turns cold and forces people to spend more time indoors, we could face a disaster that dwarfs the situation today.