St. Louis’ moment to rally against a pandemic

Andrew MartinAndrew Martin, Chancellor


St. Louis is well known for a number of things. The Arch. Best fans in baseball (and hockey, for that matter). A vibrant start-up community. Our determined spirit and resilience. And knowing how to survive a pandemic. That’s right, one of our greatest claims to fame is our ability to mobilize and act in a serious health crisis. We’ve done this before, and we’re doing it now.

As you may have read by now, St. Louis took the unpopular step of shuttering its doors in 1918 when the influenza pandemic came knocking. The Post-Dispatch reports it started with schools, churches, sporting events, bars and movie theaters, which should sound familiar. Within a month, the city soon closed all businesses, with minimal exceptions. Essentially, a mandatory quarantine.

The results? St. Louis had the lowest death rate among the top 10 largest cities at the time. The city’s response is now held up as an example of what to do in a pandemic.

Fast forward 102 years: Here we are again, in a very similar position. The coronavirus pandemic is at our door, and the St. Louis region is once again facing the great responsibility of rallying our community into action.

Read the full piece in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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