Look at this.

The Forgotten Flu of 1957

I knew nothing about this although I was 7 years old at the time.

Check it out.


We think this is the first / worst viral epidemic in our lifetimes…but for some of us older folks apparently it is so far very similar to the “Forgotten” Flu of 1957.

Some interesting statistics ?

It started in China ( possible at a wet market)

It is believed to have killed up to 2 Million People Worldwide

It is believed to have killed 70,000 in the USA with a Population of 177 million at the time….almost exactly half of todays.

So this translates to 140,000 deaths in todays terms.

There were SOME quarantines and lockdowns and industry Closures ( not an today’s scale ..but the economy certainly took a hit…NOT ON TODAYS SCALE)

The good news >? Obviously it eventually ended !
It seems to have been all but spent within a year as “heard immunity ” and a vaccine did the trick.
And the Economy obviously recovered.

So in 1957 a Novel Flu virus swept through the world killing up to 2 million people ( 4 million in todays terms) and closing A FEW sections of the economy and initially overwhelming the medical systems in many places…It effectively had 2 major waves and lasted about a year .

To date we have documented 200,000 worldwide deaths . 55,000 in the USA.

Yes we have a long ways to go but at least we have a template from 1957 .

Read the article to see the similarities .

Do you think covid will be all but forgotten in 60 years ?

Answer…probably .


PS …I found this which shows a dramatically different approach by public health and a dramatically different economic result

The 1957-58 pandemic was such a rapidly spreading disease that it became quickly apparent to U.S. health officials that efforts to stop or slow its spread were futile. Thus, no efforts were made to quarantine individuals or groups, and a deliberate decision was made not to cancel or postpone large meetings such as conferences, church gatherings, or athletic events for the purpose of reducing transmission. No attempt was made to limit travel or to otherwise screen travelers. Emphasis was placed on providing medical care to those who were afflicted and on sustaining the continued functioning of community and health services. The febrile, respiratory illness brought large numbers of patients to clinics, doctors’ offices, and emergency rooms, but a relatively small percentage of those infected required hospitalization.

School absenteeism due to influenza was high, but schools were not closed unless the number of students or teachers fell to sufficiently low numbers to warrant closure. However, the course of the outbreak in schools was relatively brief, and many could readily return to activities within 3 to 5 days. A significant number of healthcare workers were said to have been afflicted with influenza, but reports indicate that hospitals were able to adjust appropriately to cope with the patient loads. Based on our New York Times review, there were no reports that major events were canceled or postponed except for high school and college football games, which were often delayed because of the number of players afflicted.

Available data on industrial absenteeism indicate that the rates were low and that there was no interruption of essential services or production. The overall impact on GDP was negligible and likely within the range of normal economic variation.29

Health officers had hopes that significant supplies of vaccine might become available in due time, and special efforts were made to speed the production of vaccine, but the quantities that became available were too late to affect the impact of the epidemic. The national spread of the disease was so rapid that within 3 months it had swept throughout the country and had largely disappeared. It was reported that with the end of the fall epidemic, demands for vaccine declined sharply. Whether a renewed effort was made to encourage vaccination before the spring of 1958 is not known, but many believe it was not.

During the 1957 pandemic, 25% of the U.S. population became ill with influenza, and excess mortality due to pneumonia and influenza occurred. From one watching the pandemic from very close range, though, it was a transiently disturbing event for the population, albeit stressful for schools and health clinics and disruptive to school football schedules.