Ricky C.

Toronto, Ontario


Spanish Flu: How the Death of Survivors Impacted Families

My research topic was the Spanish Flu and my narrowing question was how the death of survivors impacted families. Through my previous research, I learned about the lethality of the Spanish Flu and the dangers, but also about the significant impact of the epidemic on the world, society and various countries. During my previous research, I gave myself some directions: military families vs. mainstream families; families with doctors vs. families without, or rich families vs. low-income families. All of these themes are closely related to my narrowing questions, which is important since these perspectives help make the study more concrete and relevant as a whole. I had to be careful not to deviate from my unique story in this study phase where I describe the experience of families affected by Spanish Flu. The point of the unique story is to distinguish the difference between my research from others and to make the process simpler and the results more concrete so that I don't get lost when researching a very large topic.

What was the most interesting thing you learned about your topic?

The interesting thing I found during my studying is the idea at the time. The response provided by the Canadian government was more muted and did not give the people a good way to respond as well as the people did not have a better idea of how to respond. According to an article published in the National Post on December 21, 2018, the Canadian government's "incompetence" and "refusal to respond responsibly" exacerbated the situation. Canada also did something to stop the spread of the disease, such as shutting down non-essential services in many Ontario municipalities. Municipalities quickly implemented stronger control measures, closing schools, dance and billiard halls, theatres, churches, and all forms of public gathering places to stop the spread of the virus.

What important lessons have you learned that you want to share with other Canadians?

The most important lesson I have learned is from a human perspective, such as workers and discontinued health care workers lead to a decline in the overall health of the population and indirectly to a discontinued economy. Likewise, military personnel discharged from the battlefield cause a rise in deaths and infections. Healthcare is one of the most critical aspects in times of epidemics bars none, but they are swamped, with no cure, no treatment, isolation, and no real help, so what to do? The only thing these health workers can do is make strangers a little happier before they die, but more than that these health workers will starve themselves. As a result, doctors, nurses, and health workers stop working. This leads to people getting angry because the people in healthcare aren’t helping. I also learned from wars and viruses and economic ideas. First of all, there is no vaccine or cure and health care is highly criticized. At the same time, the death rate from the Spanish flu was an even bigger blow to Canada, which had already lost many people to the war. Likewise, the Canadian economy was crippled by the decline in population due to the rapid increase in infection rates and the decrease in the number of health workers.

How would you compare your life today to the lives of those studied in your project?

The connection I can make is to COVID-19, the current epidemic. There are many parallels and similarities between the current virus outbreak to the Spanish flu. For example, similar to the Spanish flu, there is no cure for COVID-19. Even as our technology advances, similar to the Spanish flu, the virus can also mutate. Also, in both cases, there was a lack of beds in hospitals, cures/vaccines, and had to quarantine people (with many individuals ignoring the lockdowns and continuing to move around).