Conversations

Then and Now: The Spanish Influenza & The Coronavirus

Disclaimer: We are not medical professionals, we are not giving medical advice. For the most up to date information regarding COVID-19 please visit the CDC’s website or your local State Department of Health and Human Services website.

The Spanish Influenza (H1N1) pandemic is believed to have wiped out 50 million people worldwide[1]. In 1918 the flu’s effects took over headlines, rating above World War I in placement in local papers. Nearly the entire first two pages of Boston Globe print on September 24, 1918 were dedicated to updating the public on the status of Spanish Influenza in the greater Boston area. Headlines read “Influenza toll in Boston for Day 87”[2] and “F.D. Roosevelt out of danger, say physicians”[3]. With little medical treatment available for the Spanish Influenza, people were limited to “non-pharmaceutical interventions” like quarantine, good hygiene and limited public gatherings[4]. To that point, some schools were closed due to outbreaks and there was a ban on public funerals in Quincy[5]. Image (left) shows Boston nurses in the spring of 1919 (National Archives).

Tom and Olive likely would have read these headlines and stayed abreast on the spread of the ailment. They may have noted who was sick, the treatment methods, the reach of the illness, and the effects on the global politics and economy. They likely would have been very thankful for their isolated home in northern New Hampshire where they were surrounded by nature, and their interactions with the outside world were limited and intentional.

Today, we are inundated with headlines surrounding the Coronavirus (COVID-19). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Coronavirus spreads both by personal interactions and through contact with infected surfaces. Symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath[6]. Centered in China, Coronavirus is spreading globally, people have been quarantined, there are travel restrictions, closed schools, hotels, companies, and rerouted air travel due to the infectious nature of this disease. Currently, the CDC lists the risk of getting the coronavirus in the U.S. as low risk. They recommend covering your coughs and sneezes, clean your hands often, avoid sharing personal household items, clean “high-touch” surfaces, monitor any symptoms you may experience, and stay home if you’re sick[7]. Though we are actively in a “low-risk” area, Massachusetts government has encouraged those who have recently traveled through China to partake in a voluntary quarantine and they have sent updates to schools on how to deal with students and staff who may be exhibiting symptoms. The government encourages the public to remain calm and continue daily life as normal at this time, though they have measures in place in case of pandemic[8].

Castle Preservation Society who owns and manages Castle in the Clouds is working diligently to ensure our offices and public spaces are cleaned properly, hand sanitizer is made available throughout the buildings, employees are encouraged to wash their hands frequently and to stay home if feeling ill.

What are you doing to protect yourself, your family and your friends from the Coronavirus?


[1] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD). (2019, March 20). 1918 Pandemic (H1N1 virus). https://www.cdc.gov/flu/pandemic-resources/1918-pandemic-h1n1.html

[2] The Boston Globe. (1918, September 24). Influenza toll in Boston for day 87. 1-2. From: https://bostonglobe.newspapers.com/image/430650882

[3] The Boston Globe. (1918, September 24). F.D. Roosevelt out of danger, say physicians. 2. From: https://bostonglobe.newspapers.com/image/430650886

[4] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD). (2019, March 20). 1918 Pandemic (H1N1 virus). https://www.cdc.gov/flu/pandemic-resources/1918-pandemic-h1n1.html

[5] The Boston Globe. (1918, September 24). Influenza toll in Boston for day 87. 2. From: https://bostonglobe.newspapers.com/image/430650882

[6] U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (2020, February 18). Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). From: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/symptoms.html

[7]U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (2020, February 18). Coronavirus Disease: Steps to take when sick. From: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/steps-when-sick.html

[8] Freyer, F. (2020, February 26). As CDC warns of coronavirus’s spread in US, officials reveal that more than 600 in Mass. have been monitored for illness. The Boston Globe. From: https://www.bostonglobe.com/2020/02/27/metro/cdc-urges-preparing-an-epidemic-health-officials-reveal-that-more-than-600-mass-have-been-monitored-coronavirus/


Check back soon for more on Conversations: Then & Now, Writings & Poems

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Our scenic road will be CLOSED to pedestrian traffic on Saturday, October 3 from 8:00 AM-9:30 AM
to allow pre-registered Castle Car Show vehicles to enter the grounds using this road.
Please view our COVID-19 Policies & Procedures ahead of your visit!
Our scenic road will be CLOSED to pedestrian traffic on Sat, 10/3 from 8-9:30 AM
to allow pre-registered Castle Car Show vehicles to enter the grounds using this road.
Please view our COVID-19 Policies & Procedures ahead of your visit!