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.
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.