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Not the Coronavirus COVID-19, but something much worse (A century ago, that is!)

Pandemics don’t come around often, but when they do …

In 2018 we commemorated the centenary of the Great Flu Pandemic of 1918, often known as Spanish Flu.

Despite only lasting a few months, the loss of life globally is estimated to be somewhere between 50-100 million. 

An article from The Atlantic has this to say:

That year, as pandemic influenza ravaged communities as diverse as California and Kolkata, no one knew what was killing them. Theories abounded. Some suggested it was a misalignment of the planets. (That’s what gave us the name influenza, from the Italian word for “influence.”) Others believed the cause was tainted Russian oats, or volcanic eruptions. Microbiologists focused on a bacterium they had discovered decades earlier in the lungs of influenza victims, and called it Bacillus influenza. But they had merely recognized a bacterium that invades lungs already weakened from influenza. Not until 1933 did two British scientists demonstrate that the cause must be a new class of disease, which today we call viruses. Finally, in 1940, the newly invented electron microscope took a picture of the influenza virus, and for the first time in history we could not only name, but also see, the culprit.

Will the Corona Virus COVID-19 be as damaging? Maybe not medically, but the economic impact may well be as devastating as the crash of 2008. Whatever happens, we’re likely to fare much better than they did a century ago. Speaking of which, why not take a look at how life affected the Medina family in my short story, “Surviving Enza”.

The family is fictional, but their story is based on real events in Spain during that time. Juan Medina, as a doctor, saw first-hand the impact on his village. Yet, despite everything, life had to go on. And it did.

And it will here too – just keep washing your hands 😉 and keep an eye out for family members and friends or neighbours who are more vulnerable during these times. 

#Bekind was never more appropriate.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy the story.

Available here –


Did you know the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 didn’t actually start in Spain?

Surviving Enza tells the fictional story of Dr. Juan Medina and his family, colleagues, and fellow citizens of Luarca (Northern Spain) during those times.

From his mother, furious that the local Fiesta de San Ramón has been cancelled, to his father, hiding the news from his wife.

From the exhausted hospital staff to the sanctimonious padre.

From his heavily-pregnant wife to his brother fighting for France in the Great War. 

And, last but not least, from the many victims to the surviving families. 

It was an extraordinary time … to be a doctor and a new father

“I had a little bird,

Its name was Enza;

I opened the window

And in-flew-Enza.”

 –Children’s jump-rope rhyme from the influenza pandemic of 1918-1919

© LS Fellows 2019 (writing as mayepalmer)

Previously published (2018) in 72 Hours of Insanity by The Writer’s Workout as winning entry in the Historical Fiction category “Remember When …”

As always, 

5 thoughts on “Not the Coronavirus COVID-19, but something much worse (A century ago, that is!)

  1. I downloaded Surviving Enzo immediately. What a timely book right now! Thanks for telling us about it, Lynne Fellows. I hope you see many, many downloads. #BeKind is great advice anytime. Thanks for the reminder.

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