FLU WATCH: City Officials Slow To Respond To Gathering Threat Nothing New, Day-Late-Dollar-Short Response To Endangered Citizenry Stretches Back To At Least 1918

ATLANTA Dec 11, 2006 (AP) —¬†Government health officials tried to build their case for school closings and similar steps during a flu pandemic by showcasing new research Monday that suggests such measures seemed tocity-hall.jpg work during the deadly Spanish flu of 1918.

Researchers found that cities like St. Louis, which instituted “social distancing” at least two weeks before flu cases peaked in their communities, had flu-related death rates less than half that of Philadelphia, which didn’t act until later.

The whirlwind historical research project which started in August involves a team of researchers from the University of Michigan and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who combed through health records, newspaper clippings and other documents from 45 cities.

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Another finding: The more social distancing measures were used and the longer they were in place, the less severe was the pandemic’s effect on a particular city. Wearing masks in public, restricting door-to-door sales, canceling church and quarantining sick people were among the layers of measures that appeared beneficial.

ABC NEWS: Flu Shmu! Consequences Shmonsequences!

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