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2017.12.27 The Spanish Influenza

Rain clouds

This morning is rainy and grey. So we feel very much back in the Netherlands. Who would have thought we would feel at home in Spain on such short notice. I (Tom) am suffering from the flu. Already four days in a row I can’t get out of bed. Now and again I cough out my lungs.

This isn’t the first time I caught the flu in Spain. When my son still lived in Cataluña I once had to go back to the Netherlands because no improvement in my health was apparent.
But that was because I had been scraping a load of snow off my sons’ balcony because the melting snow came pouring down from the light in the kitchen. So it isn’t only separatism that keeps me away from there nowadays. Besides, he now lives in Madrid. Where we stayed all of august with everyday temperatures as high as 40 degrees Celcius. How I loved that. And no flu.

Having the flu in Spain brings up all kinds of thoughts. The most potent: am I the victim of a new wave of Spanish Influenza? For those that need a short historic update, between September and November 1918 some estimated 50 to 100 million people died. This number of casualties is approximately 3% to 6% of the total world population at that time. The virus that caused this pandemonium was later identified as H1N1 and popularly known as the Spanish Influenza.

So tonight, in between coughing spasms, I opened my laptop and typed Spanish Flu on the search page of Wikipedia (one of the best inventions of the Internet). Already after a couple of sentences, I was totally reassured.

The Spanish Influenza was called that way because during the First World War (1914-1918) the warring countries censured the news.
Since Spain wasn’t involved in the war, there existed no censorship and they subsequently reported about the epidemic. So Spain was an easy target for Allied and Axis propaganda. By nicknaming the flu Spanish Influenza they raised a smokescreen to cover for their totally inept behavior to curb the epidemic. On the upside, since the flu targeted the Germans before the Allied troops, it might have contributed slightly to end the war earlier.

And now for today, the sun has again peeped out of the clouds.


2 thoughts on “2017.12.27 The Spanish Influenza”

  1. Dear Tom, I hope you will recover soon. And I also hope that your prophetic insights (a major epidemic between September and November 2018, causing 50 to 100 million victims) may not come true, in the first place because you might be one of them. One major epidemic is more than enough. All the best, Chris


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