Which cities fought the 1918 pandemic best?

Those that acted early, here is a new and noteworthy paper.

What worked: Early school, church, and theater closures.  The estimate for banning public gatherings depends on the test used.

What didn’t work: Closing dance halls, isolating flu cases, banning public funerals, and making influenza notifiable.

Early-acting cities were especially effective at stopping many casualties at the first flu wave, rather than being devastated by later waves as well.  Letting down one’s guard too early was a common problem.

The authors stress that this study used only 17 cities with highly correlated explanatory variables.  Still, in a case like this some chance at knowledge is better than no knowledge.  Here is a related paper. Here is a New York Times discussion of the results.


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