27 May 2009
"Owing to its benign character it was at first, together with its victims, the subject of much good-natured badinage and pleasant writing in the newspapers. To-day the complaint has passed the joking stage."

He can say that again.  And probably did.  This was the first Times report (that I can find) to cover the Spanish Influenza.  At the time (2 June 1918) it had killed 700 people in 10 days and there were well over 100,000 sufferers.

The disease would appear pretty much everywhere over the next few weeks, go away again over the summer and come back with a vengeance with the onset of winter.  It peaked at about exactly the same time as the signing of the Armistice and ended up killing perhaps 20m people.

And people are worried about swine flu.  Call that an epidemic?  This is an epidemic!

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