Throwback Thursday: 1918 a shorter, but more deadly pandemic hits home

Throwback Thursday

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — As toilet paper disappeared from shelves at supermarkets, but before Central New York saw its first cases, we wanted to get an idea of what we were in for by looking back at a time more than 100 years earlier when Central New York and the world was hit with a pandemic.

So we talked with Robert Searing, the Onondaga Historical Association’s Curator of History about how our community handled what was called the Spanish Flu, at a time when medicine was a lot less high tech.

Take a few minutes to watch, and you will see that when it comes to slowing the spread of a communicable disease, the techniques haven’t changed much since 1918.

Estimates are that more than 50 million people around the world died from the Spanish Flu. More than 900 people in Syracuse died in the eight weeks the pandemic gripped the area.

Right now (as of March 17, 2021) our figures show 1,441 people in the Central New York area died from COVID-19 in the year since our first case last March. Nationally Johns Hopkins University has the U.S death toll at more than 537,000.

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