What the holiday season looked like during the 1918 flu pandemic 

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The U.S. is entering a winter holiday season like no other seen in the last 100 years as COVID-19 cases surge nationwide. The country faced a similar scenario in 1918, as the holidays came shortly after the Spanish flu's deadliest fall wave, reports The New York Times.

"Hundreds of thousands of people lost loved ones," J. Alex Navarro, PhD, assistant director of the Center for the History of Medicine at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, told the Times. "By the time of Thanksgiving, there really wasn't much debate about whether or not they should get together."

So while the CDC is urging Americans to avoid large gatherings and travel this holiday season amid record virus hospitalizations, families still celebrated the holidays together in 1918, many of whom were mourning the loss of a loved one.

The holidays also coincided with the end of World War I, so many soldiers were returning home to celebrate the Allied victory with their families. Soldiers' global travel played a large role in the flu's spread, according to the Times.

Overall, holiday travel was less common in 1918, since families tended to live closer together, according to Penne Restad, PhD, a historian at the University of Texas at Austin. 

To view the full article, click here.

More articles on public health:
COVID-19 death rates by state: Dec. 10
22 states where COVID-19 is spreading fastest, slowest: Dec. 10
Protests prompt sudden end of Idaho public health meeting

 

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