My Home Town



Have you read this book? Maybe not the stuff you want to read at the moment. But, if you want to understand what is happening to us, reading this book is essential--unless you want to enroll in a school of public health and get a Ph.D in epidemiology.


As many of you know, I'm a Philly guy. There are many great things I love about Philly. But, this is one story I that isn't so good.


See this great parade? This is Philly in the October of 1918--smack in the middle of Spanish Influenza Pandemic. It's a parade for War Bonds. Within 7 days, 4500 people in Philadelphia were dead.

Meanwhile, halfway across the country in St. Louis, a nice Jewish doctor named Dr. Max Starkloff--I'm actually just guessing he was Jewish and nice, was monitoring the outbreak of influenza. In September, he decided to take initial measures that we are at this moment calling social distancing. By mid-October--right around the time 200,000 Philadelphians were gathering for this parade, Starkloff in conjunction with the Mayor of St. Louis effectively closed St. Louis with harsh shelter-in-place regulations.


While Philadelphia became one of the nation's epicenters for influenza, St. Louis had among the lowest per capita fatality rates in the country entirely as a result of social distancing. The public health practices put into place by Starkloff still remain the gold standard for treating epidemics. You only have to know history.

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