Reflections: Parallels to the 1918 pandemic

By Evelyn Long - Contributing Columnist

A few weeks ago I wrote about the Spanish influenza epidemic, which spread from Europe to the United States and then to Ohio in 1918. The parallels between that pandemic and today’s COVID-19 are stunning in the comparison.

Today’s epidemic has been a danger to those in the older generation and especially to those persons residing in nursing or assisted living facilities.

In 1918 the epidemic was particularly bad in Army camps where the men lived in close proximity to each other. According to information gleaned from the Ohio History Connection, within only two months, more than 300,000 soldiers had contracted the illness and approximately 20,000 troops died of influenza.

The report notes that Camp Sherman, here in Ohio, was affected more by the epidemic than any other training camp in the nation. The disease swept through the camp in the late summer and early fall when almost 1200 men died at Camp Sherman before the epidemic ended.

This report notes that although the nearby community of Chillicothe was quarantined to prevent the spread of the epidemic, some people outside of the camp still became ill and died of the disease.

It was noted that during the week of October, 1918, a total of 1,500 Ohioans died and between October, 1918 and January, 1919, almost 600 Dayton residents perished.

The report says that in an attempt to stop the spread of the disease, many colleges temporarily closed their doors and in some cases campus buildings were made into makeshift hospitals to treat those persons who had contracted the disease.

I find this comparison stunning with so many similarities. I pray that it will wind down soon and become a haunting memory.

ALICE VAN SICKLE: I would have loved this lady. A Cardington resident who was a “newspaper woman” for 72 years, responded when following her 86th birthday, she noted the resentment aimed her way with the remark: “she is old and out of date,” saying, “I’m just as modern in my way of thinking as any of you young ones,” she said when asked about her outlook on life.

Looking back

July, 1940: Preliminary census figures showed the population of Cardington to be 1303, a gain of 111 over the 1920 enumeration.

July, 1960: Roger and Jack Lowther of Cardington left to spend two months in Germany with their parents, Lt. Col and Mrs. Dale R. Lowther and brother, Robert.

July, 1970: The Morrow County Catholic Parish, consisting of 93 families, voted to proceed with plans to build a new parish center at a site to be chosen later.

Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd E. Davis of Gilead Street celebrated their golden wedding anniversary.

By Evelyn Long

Contributing Columnist