2018-10-10 / Editorials

Got your flu shots?

All That’s Fit to Print
Brenda Wall

In 1918, a Spanish flu epidemic was estimated to infect 500 million people worldwide and killed 20 to 50 million. In the United States it was estimated 675,000 people died in the epidemic. In Early County in early October public gathering places were closed.

“On account of such an epidemic of Spanish influenza which now prevails in Blakely, the schools, churches and moving picture show have been suspended for an indefinite period, or until the disease is checked. This action was taken by the city authorities following the closing of the school Monday, who deemed it necessary towards staying the further spread of the malady now so prevalent. It has been estimated that there are in the neighborhood of 200 cases in and around Blakely, and by these steps of precaution, it is hoped to prevent its further spread.”

Influenza claimed its first victim that week. “Mr. Jesse G. Thompson, a well known citizen and blacksmith of this city, passed away at his home Tuesday night about 12 o’clock following an illness of several days with pneumonia, which developed from the Spanish influenza, now prevalent in this section. Mr. Thompson was a man of vigorous constitution, and it was hoped that he would pull through on account of this fact, but once pneumonia gripped him all medical attention failed to bring any relief and he passed away as above stated. His remains were carried out to Colomokee cemetery and interred at 3 o’clock Wednesday afternoon. Rev. J.G. Corley performing the last sad rites over his body. The W.O.W., of which he was a member, were in charge of the funeral. Mr. Thompson leaves a wife and several children and other relatives to mourn his death. This is the first death from Spanish influenza in the city, and friends I extend sympathy to the bereaved ones in their loss.

Spanish influenza, which started in epidemic form in the East a month ago, now has spread throughout the South, despite drastic action of health officials. Unofficial reports from a score of the larger cities in the South show more than 50,000 cases reported among the civilian populations, while hardly a single army camp has escaped. The mild weather prevailing in the South, however, has made the disease less fatal than in the East, and the death rate is comparatively small.

Blakely did not escape, and the residents took many precautions in an effort to further prevent the spread of the disease. The schools, churches, theatres, etc., have been suspended indefinitely. The following measures are recommended as prevention measures: Use individual drinking cup. Sleep in well ventilated room, or preferably on sleeping porch. If attacked by severe cold or grippe, go to bed at once and stay there until completely recovered. Keep offices and other places of employment well ventilated.

Even though local officials believed “that the epidemic has reached its zenith here and will show signs of improvement within the next few days,” they called off the local fair celebrating the county’s centennial.

We might need to see about our flu shots.

Have a good week.

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