No social distancing at Woodstock

Woodstock Occurred in the Middle of a Pandemic

I turned one year old in August 1969, so I didn’t attend Woodstock. (It wouldn’t have been my scene, anyway.)

But according to a contemporaneous news clipping from the era (see the link) Woodstock was held at the height of a flu pandemic that originated in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong flu pandemic of 1968 to 1969 ultimately killed 100,000 Americans and a million people worldwide.

I know: That was half a century ago. The Hong Kong flu was not COVID-19. Got it.

Fair enough. But the similarities of the two pandemics, and the difference in how we reacted to them, is nevertheless worth noting.

One important point: Obesity rates in 1968 were much less than what they are now.

Another important point: There was no Internet, no CNN spreading panic and outrage 24/7.

Imagine life before CNN and Twitter. To crib a line from a John Lennon song, “I wonder if you can.”