I have been extremely reluctant to write a post on this topic because the nature of it is well outside of my circle of confidence. But many concerned readers have emailed me about the current SARS-CoV-2/Covid-19 crisis asking questions.
Specifically, they want to know if people with Parkinson’s are more at risk and what can be done.
My answers to these emails has been very simple: There simply isn’t enough data to know at present if people with Parkinson’s are more vulnerable, but there is ample historic evidence to suggest that social distancing is a very good course of action.
In today’s short post, we discuss the SARS-CoV-2/Covid-19 situation.
Crystal Mill, Gunnison County, Colorado. Source: Pinterest
In 1918, as the young men of America returned from the Great War in Europe, they brought with them a terrible souvenir: Influenzia (or “The Spanish flu”).
By early October of that year, the virus had made its way across the midwest and it had reached the great state of Colorado. And on the 8th October – sensing the invisible enemy closing in – the officials in the sparsely populated mountainous Gunnison County (Colorado – pop. 5,600), isolated themselves off from the rest of the world. They immediately closed all of their schools, and insisted visitors undergo a five-day quarantine before being allowed to walk their streets.
Gunnison 1918. Source: 9News
Barricades with lanterns went up on the major highways. They carried warning signs instructing drivers to pass straight through the county without stopping. Absolutely no interaction between these visitors and the local residents was allowed. And anyone getting off a train at the main station was immediately put into mandatory quarantine.
The county maintained the quarantine order until the morning of February 5th, 1919 (4 months). The economy suffered, but the community survived – during that period of isolation, only two people in the entire county got the flu (one of whom passed away – Source).
The point of this historical tale is that social distancing is a very good defence in a pandemic.
The goal is to simply deprive a virus of any opportunity to move from person-to-person.
Perhaps the residents of “sparsely populated” Gunnison county just got lucky?