What if this happened 20 years ago, 30?

2020 the economy is a down turn, small business and restaurants are failing, many are unemployed or furloughed.

1990 all the above holds, but how many of us can work from home? I had a laptop, but the ability to connect to the office was limited. How much worse would it have been? Would financial and others going remote have been forced into the office? Unable to work while quarantined, even if not sick? A whole office could be knocked out.

Not even the technology to make vaccine appointments, distribution logistics, communication to the masses.

I really don’t know how bad it got in 1917, the world was a much bigger place then, less international travel and business. and the flu didn’t have asymptomatic spread as far as I know, at least not to the same degree.

Was just thinking how much worse this could have been if 20 or 30 years earlier

We didn’t have a home computer in 1990, didn’t get our Macintosh Classic II until 1992/1993. We got home internet in 1997, no idea what computer we were using it on, but it wasn’t the boxy little Macintosh.

In 1990 (or at any time before 2017), we would have had a president who wouldn’t claim to know better than science, and who isn’t a sociopath who cares little for anyone but himself.

In 1917, everything was great.
It was 1918 and 1919 when the Kansas/Étaples Flu really got going, mainly affecting young adults.

was trying to keep the politics and amazingly poor response out of the equation

Sorry about that. But,… that’s about 90% of the issue in where we are today.

Though, in 1990, we probably would have had a similar or worse problem with getting a vaccine made and then getting distributed.

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I thought more people died from the 1917 flu than of COVID, so asymptomatic spread or not, it sounded bad. Grampie fan became an orphan due to it. Actually, I think one of his parents died from that flu and the other died from TB when he was a child, so both were communicable diseases.

50m world - 675k US

we have a real shot at the US record

You could do some work from home and then bring it back the next day. A lot more stuff was on paper back then. Remember brief cases?

I remember emailing things to myself by the late 1990s, but not in 1990. I was still in high school in 1990 but I certainly remember my father bringing papers home from the office and bringing them back the next day. He’d type reports on the typewriter at home sometimes.

I’m guessing it would have been a huge boon to messenger services.

There was also a lot less travel in and out of China so it might not have spread to the rest of the world so rapidly. Unless it was aided by a war, as the 1918-20 pandemic was.

I read a few weeks ago that New York City managed to administer 5 million polio vaccines in something like 3 weeks. That’s WAY more than the whole of the United States managed in a similar timeframe in 2020. Now there were fewer regulations back then than now. 1990s would have been in between. No HIPPA at any rate.

The United States lost 0.5% of its population to the “Spanish” flu. We’re at about 0.14% with Covid so far.

Less international travel during the massive troop movements that were taking places during and in the immediate aftermath of WWI? By absolute numbers maybe not but as a percentage of US and European populations I doubt it.

I don’t think it was to the same degree, but they were definitely quarantining asymptomatic people. I recall reading about how the US had a policy to quarantine enlisted men returning from WWI, but not the officers. :woman_facepalming:

I think the world was a little less politicized then and people were more willing to listen to authority (and wear masks) and there’s a lot of factors that might have made it better, in addition to many things that would have made it worse (no online shopping, for example). People got their news from one of three networks which would have all been saying more or less the same thing.

In 1918, America was still largely rural and transportation of anything wasn’t easy if the goal was broad distribution to everybody.

I was a college student during the SARS breakout. I don’t recall campus ever getting shut down or greater precautions other than an increased push for practicing good hygiene all around being implemented.

As we (college kids) saw it, the issue was one affecting older people and those with respiratory problems, so greater care was practiced for them; usually in the form of accommodating them isolating from others in various fashions (e.g., they wore masks and asked others to say a bit away and excused themselves from direct physical contact . . . sort of going Howie Mandel toward everyone).

In 1980 we might not have been quite as interested in keeping old people alive?

The idea of $ million treatments hadn’t taken off yet.

I don’t know that I’d assign the same cause and effect. Were people actively eschewing life-prolonging treatments because they were too expensive or were the expensive treatments simply not in existence at that point?

When covid struck, a lot of people started sort-of asking: “is grandma’s life worth $1 million”, and IMO it matters that the health care industry already sort of answered that question.

Maybe we would have reached the same conclusion either way, but I think we were more forced by the status quo.

I was trying to think of expensive treatments that were available in the 80s. This article says that iron lungs cost “about as much as a house”. Even with the cost of the people to monitor, etc., that’s a lot cheaper than modern intensive care. Of course, we HAD intensive care, with ventilators, by the 80s. Iron lungs are from the 30s.

Ventilators: Three centuries in the making : NewsCenter.

I think the first really expensive medical treatment that became widespread and that congress explicitly told insurers to cover is dialysis

It seems to be cheaper in Canada, but it’s still big bucks

Cost analysis of dialysis treatments for end-stage renal disease (ESRD) - PubMed.

Huh, dialysis has been around longer than I realized

Due to travel restrictions, president George H W Bush wouldn’t have gone to Japan, wouldn’t have vomited on Kiichi Miyazawa’s lap, and as a result would have won the 1992 election. We would be living in a world without ever having lived through the Lewinsky affair and Gulf War 2 electric boogaloo would have happened in 1995.