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1918

They didn't know anything about viruses back then.


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This photo's been circulating for some time. It's supposedly from 1918 when people were fighting the 1918 pandemic.

They seem well dressed but not opulently so. Given that there are three men and four women in the photo, it's likely the photographer is the missing man and these are all couples.

It's a rainy day. Their shoes don't offer much protection. The cut of the overcoats of two women in the front is cool, and the overcoat length seems practical and intelligent.

These seem to be cool rational people, and not much different from us today. Or perhaps that'a a bit of wishful thinking. They seem unpretentious.

They seem to be at a railway station. They could be headed somewhere, their luggage off to the side, or they were just passing by and stopped for a portrait.



The lady fourth from the left is wearing her face mask wrong. Her nose is exposed. Viruses get in through the mouth, the nose, even the eyes (but not the ears). Why the lady on the right is wearing that sign isn't known, but it has to be intentional.

They didn't know anything about viruses back then. They didn't have mobility like we do back then. But the 1918 pandemic, aka the 'Kansas virus', claimed between 60 and 100 million people. These eight people - seven plus the one behind the camera - were a brave and hardy lot. They look so cool.

PS. The photo, according to some sources, is from Mill Valley California in 1918 and was taken by one Raymond Coyne.



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