Please, Don’t Quit Now!

‘Please stay home unless you absolutely must go out. Keep your distance. Save a life. Maybe your own.’

A Message from one of our regular readers, Gary Screaton Page, a resident of Fort Erie in Niagara, Ontario

Posted April 20th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

This Ad, from the late-1950s Asian Flu pandemic era, promotes a pain-relieving ointment parents could spread on their children’s chests for coughs, congestion and other symptoms related to the flu.

Unless you were born before 1952 you are not likely to remember the pandemic of 1957. I was 15 and in Grade 10 at the time.

The population in Canada then was only 16,561,263. Today. it is over 37 million: roughly double.

That year, the Asian Flu (aka “Oriental Flu”), thought to have originated in northern China in February, had by Fall arrived in Canada. As I went to school each day, I entered classrooms with only four or five other students in them. Over half the teachers in my high school were ill. Classes were combined because supply teachers were ill, too.

I have no recollection, despite reports I have read to the contrary, of school closures. Nor do I recall the closure of businesses either. There were no orders to stay home, and certainly, there were no social distancing requirements.

A message that at least some Niagara municipalities have  been using during the COVID-19 outbreak to urge residents in the region to take protective measures to protect themselves and others

Before this flu had abated in the spring of 1958, at least 2,000 Canadians and an estimated 2 million people worldwide, were dead!

Today, things are different.

All except essential businesses are closed, as are all schools and almost all daycares. There are also orders to stay home and to observe social distancing requirements of two metres or more.

Now, consider this. Please, think hard on this!

Canada’s population is twice what it was in 1957. We have safety guidelines in place. Yes, they are a challenge. They certainly are inconvenient and they are creating many hardships – both of which the generations born since the19 60s have not directly experienced on a national scale.

However, I do remember how sick people got in ’57-’58. I also know how much my own brother suffered, unable to walk for some time without steel braces on his legs as a result of the polio epidemic in 1937.

Most of us in the 1950s will recall others who wore similar braces as a result of the same plague. We also remember the need for iron lungs! Again, there were not the restrictions we are being asked to observe today.

These words were written in chalk on the wall of an elementary school in Thorold/Niagara earlier this April. Photo by Doug Draper

However, today, despite the fact that Canada now has about twice the population it did then, it currently has about half the deaths it had with the Asian Flu. Under 1957-58 conditions, we could quite easily have many more. Yet, we don’t!

Why? Social distancing, staying home, keeping only essential businesses open is working.

Yes, these are difficult times.

Seeing those we love suffer and die is a lot more difficult I assure you.

Please stay home unless you absolutely must go out. Keep your distance. Save a life. Maybe your own.

Please, don’t quit now!

A Brief Footnote from Doug Draper –

One of my friends from Massachusetts had the following image posted on their Facebook page this April. For anyone thinking that it is now safe to start opening everything up again, it offers a message of warning that echoes Gary Screaton Page’s commentary above, and certainly one that we should all take seriously.

NIAGARA AT LARGE encourages you to join the conversation by sharing your views on this post in the space following the Bernie Sanders quote below.

“A Politician Thinks Of The Next Election. A Leader Thinks Of The Next Generation.” – Bernie Sanders

2 responses to “Please, Don’t Quit Now!

  1. My grandfather, great grandfather and an infant aunt all died in 1920….not in 1918, the father and baby on the same day, from the so called “Spanish flu”. It had five recurrent waves until 1922, all with varying degrees of severity. I had two cousins crippled from polio. These pandemics are not jokes and we are far too arrogant thinking we are more advanced now and can control them with medical advances. If we slack off now, we can face several waves as the virus mutates and each may be more deadly.


  2. Gary Screaton Page

    If ever “short-term pain for long-term gain” was so important. Now is the time. Thanks for the examples, Linda.


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