Letter from the Editor: At Least We Can Still Kiss

Letter from the Editor: At Least We Can Still Kiss

PHOTO: Arizona Governor George W.P. Hunt, right, protecting himself during the flu pandemic. (Photo by Don Taylor)

In this special column, Managing Editor Marla Jones compares the pandemic of 2020 to the one much like over 100 years ago.

By Marla Jones, Managing Editor • marla@southerntorch.com

I was thinking today that history has a funny way of repeating itself. I enjoy history and comparing events to the present time.  In 1918, the Spanish Flu epidemic hit Arizona hard and restrictions were put on the citizens, which sounds familiar today.

Arizona placed a ban on kissing, officially on October 2, 1918, due to the flu. The Office of the State Board of Health placed the sober order. The order stated that “it made no difference whether people were engaged to be married or not”. The order went on to state that “kissing was not to be indulged in, either on the lips or the hand, unless the couple was willing to run the risk of contracting Spanish influenza.”

The State Board of Health urged citizens to adhere to the following advice in the Tombstone Prospector, October 2, 1918:

“Wash hands after shaking hands with another person. Don’t startle that person by running right off to the washbowl, but get to one as soon as you can, when that person is not looking.”

“Be careful not to be in front of a person sneezing or coughing.”

“Use your own drinking cup. Carry it with you. Wash the cup frequently.”

“Sterilize your dishes. Keep clean in every way and keep everything about your clean. “

“Do not spit on sidewalks or in public places.” 

Three days after this advice was presented, Tombstone was placed under quarantine. Schools, churches, and theaters were canceled. 

102 years later, we are in the midst of another pandemic. We have dealt with closures, been told to wash our hands, and have been forced to wear masks until November. It easy to be depressed and even mad, but at least we can still kiss.

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