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We are so much better off today than in 1918

Updated: Aug 3, 2020

Hello All,

It’s newsletter time again. With all I write about every week it kind of takes something away from a monthly point, but I have a couple of things I would like to share. First, when is all of this COVID stuff going to go away? What is next? Where is Lone Star going to end up at the end of the year? Will we still have jobs? If schools end up being virtual, will they even need our products? The safety events that have led to the design of the Rauland TCU are not happening in a virtual environment, will they still need Lone Star when this is all over? And on and on…yes, there are a million questions and it all seems to be around the COVID19 and what is happening next.

Obviously, I don’t have the answers any more than anyone does related to the COVID issues, but we can look at history and see what has taken place in the past and what is happening now and draw some conclusions. Pandemics from viruses and diseases have been around thousands of years and the world has continued to exist, so we can conclude this will not be our demise. The worst of the viruses was the (H1N1) Spanish Flu virus of 1918 that killed as many as 100 million people. This from the CDC website relating to that pandemic:

“The Spanish flu pandemic of 1918, the deadliest in history, infected an estimated 500 million people worldwide—about one-third of the planet’s population—and killed an estimated 20 million to 50 million victims, including some 675,000 Americans. The 1918 flu was first observed in Europe, the United States and parts of Asia before swiftly spreading around the world. At the time, there were no effective drugs or vaccines to treat this killer flu strain. Citizens were ordered to wear masks, schools, theaters and businesses were shuttered and bodies piled up in makeshift morgues before the virus ended its deadly global march.”

Pretty much sounds like what we hear on TV today doesn’t it? At the time, the world was practicing social distancing, wearing masks, sporadically at best as I’ve read in other articles, and shut down events where people gathered: schools, churches, etc. However, one of the biggest spreaders of the virus was the military. The virus did not start in the United States, but we were one of three countries in which it likely started before it spread worldwide. Again, from the CDC website:

United States, where the first known case was reported at Camp Funston in Fort Riley, Kansas, on March 11, 1918.”

“Some believe infected soldiers spread the disease to other military camps across the country, then brought it overseas. In March 1918, 84,000 American soldiers headed across the Atlantic and were followed by 118,000 more the following month.”

These are only selected paragraphs from the article, if you would like to read all the articles I gathered this information, links are embedded along the way.

“In fact, more U.S. soldiers died from the 1918 flu than were killed in battle during the war. [Who knew that fact?] Forty percent of the U.S. Navy was hit with the flu, while 36 percent of the Army became ill, and troops moving around the world in crowded ships and trains helped to spread the killer virus.”

It wasn’t just the U.S. military that was infected and spread it, this was a world war that involved military’s from most industrial nations. As I read about the 1918 pandemic, I was really interested in how it was treated and cured knowing vaccines were not invented until about 1940. So, how did they fight it?

“With no cure for the flu, many doctors prescribed medication that they felt would alleviate symptoms… including aspirin which had been trademarked by Bayer in 1899—a patent that expired in 1917, meaning new companies were able to produce the drug during the Spanish Flu epidemic.

Before the spike in deaths attributed to the Spanish Flu in 1918, the U.S. Surgeon General, Navy, and the Journal of the American Medical Association had all recommended the use of aspirin. Medical professionals advised patients to take up to 30 grams per day, a dose now known to be toxic. (For comparison’s sake, the medical consensus today is that doses above 4 grams are unsafe.) Symptoms of aspirin poisoning include hyperventilation and pulmonary edema, or the buildup of fluid in the lungs, and it’s now believed that many of the October deaths [October and November of 1918 and the second peak is seen between February and March of 1919] were actually caused or hastened by aspirin poisoning.”

That was from the article about the History of the 1918 virus from the History channel as is this: “By the summer of 1919, the flu pandemic came to an end, as those that were infected either died or developed immunity.”

We are so much better off today than in 1918. If you recall from one of my recent emails, I discussed two companies that are in final trails for a vaccine that are having very good results. There are 5 more companies only months away to final trial and 139 groups in total chasing a cure or treatment for this virus.

The U.S. population in 1919 was 104 million, today it is 315 million plus or minus. Somewhere between 500,000 to 850,000 died in the 1918 pandemic. Today in the U.S., we have 4 million confirmed cases of COVID19 and 150,000 deaths. The 1918 virus did not have a cure or prevention and went on for two years. The COVID19 is 7 months old, and we shouldn’t have to wait another year and a half for it to die out or see 500 million infected or affected in some way. We should have something very soon. In the meantime, stay smart & stay safe, protecting yourself and those around you. Hands – Face – Space.

Yes, life will go on after COVID19 albeit different. The schools will only be virtual until we are sure our kids will be safe from the virus and then we will be worried about their safety in a different way again. Lone Star will still be needed in schools and hospitals, we will still have a job. Lone Star had an excellent first quarter for the year and we had a decent second quarter. Lone Star still has a very big backlog of work to do and we should have a good idea of how the year will end in another month or so. We are just beginning our third quarter and sales are slow, but there is a lot of activity building. We are behind in our projections for the year to date, but as I have said before, anything can happen. I’m betting it’s going to be ok, I’m all in! Ray

- Ray



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