Open those windows to fight the spread of COVID-19
October 5, 2020
ROCHESTER, Minn. - By Nov. 10 in the terrible year that was 1918, things in Minnesota were looking a lot like they look today.
The newspapers were full of stories about pandemic case numbers climbing, while health officials were arguing over the best approach to combat the virus. But instead of COVID-19, the deadly outbreak back then was the Great Influenza, otherwise known as the Spanish Flu.
And instead of Republicans versus Democrats, the dividing line was one of geography, with Minneapolis intent on fighting the pandemic by shutting down gathering spots, while St. Paul wanted to focus on isolating the sick. Minneapolis eventually won that battle. By Nov. 10, schools, churches, theaters and public meeting places were ordered closed in both cities until deaths dropped below 49 a week, a goal that, at 120 deaths a week, seemed nowhere in sight.