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CBC Radio's The House
March 14, 2020
Parallels to pandemics past....
The cancelled sporting events, closed schools and shuttered theatres inspired by the COVID-19 crisis might look like entirely new things, but they aren't — they also happened during the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic.
Historian Mark Humphries points out that, a century ago, Canada had no federal health department to coordinate a response plan.
"The fact that we do have a federal minister who is responsible for helping coordinate those responses, to help share resources, to facilitate communication, that's a really key thing," said Humphries, who wrote the 2012 book The Last Plague: Spanish Influenza and the Politics of Public Health in Canada.
"Life was put on hold briefly ... but [it does] start up again," he told host Chris Hall. "Society is a very resilient thing and this is something that is a major challenge that history tells us we'll move past."