By: Mohammed Nabi
We all must do our best at flattening the curve in our country, now by social distancing.
The year is 1918, the United States just got an unwanted traveler that plans on staying, the Spanish flu. It got the name the Spanish flu because Spain was hit the hardest with this influenza. It was estimated that 20-50 million people have passed away because of this flu, the estimates even go up to 100 million. It was a devastating time.
Here in the U.S. while this pandemic was going on, there were two cities with two different responses to this, St. Louis and Philadelphia.
Though warnings of the Spanish flu appeared, Philadelphia continued to host its “Liberty Loan” parade. With crowds gathering up to 200,000 people, in a city of 1.5 million citizens. The parade was on Sept. 28, and by Oct. 1 there were reports of 635 cases of the Spanish flu. With this, there was an estimated death toll of 16,000 people, and 500,000 reported cases of the Spanish flu in just six months.
St. Louis took a different approach than Philadelphia. St. Louis began closing down schools, bars, theaters, libraries, churches, courthouses and playgrounds. As well as limiting the number of people in cars, and changing around work shifts, basically shutting down the city. Because of the precaution St. Louis took, the city had one of the lowest death rates in the country.
Looking at both these cities with these two different outcomes, what went wrong? The Spanish flu is known to be very contagious, Philadelphia hosting a parade with over 200,000 people, the flu will spread like wildfire. With that, hospitals in Philadelphia became overcrowded which resulted in excessive avoidable deaths. St. Louis had some deaths but not as many deaths as Philadelphia did. Hospitals in St. Louis weren’t as crowded, what St. Louis was doing was flattening the curve.
Looking at today, we can see that it’s basically the same pandemic. Italy is like Philadelphia; they weren’t hosting a big parade, but they weren’t reacting to the virus spreading all around the world. Which caused excessive deaths, over 900 deaths in 1 day. The world needs to start being like St. Louis.
Some states in the U.S. has already taken precaution. States like Nevada with Gov. Sisolak shutting down non-essential business for what looks like till June 1. Gov. Cuomo says he will extend the “pause” in most parts.
Doing these shutdowns and pauses is helping flattening the curve. Flattening the curve is helping the spread of the virus to slow down. Slowing down the virus, we won’t overcrowd hospitals. Not overcrowding hospitals means helping patients getting the right and adequate treatment, which will hopefully lead to a recovery.
If we don’t help to flatten the curve, hospitals will be overcrowded and patients that need the dire care won’t be able to get that care. As well as patients with non-related COVID-19 cases, they won’t be able to seek help, which is not good when a patient walks in with a gunshot wound and dies because there were no rooms available. It is our job right now to help society, only go outside if you have to, wash your hands, keep distance from people. Doing this will slowly help us get back to normality.