24 February 2021

Hong Kong Flu vs. Covid: Descent into Hysteria

[We’re working on our next big piece; today's is in response to a reader request.]


Any of our ancestors who lived through the Spanish Flu would have likely qualified the worldwide reaction to Covid-19 last year  as a ‘mass hysteria.’


The 1918-19 pandemic touched one third of humanity and felled millions in the prime of their life—its peak mortality age was 28. 


CoronaVirus Disease 2019, a.k.a Covid 19, however, is its mirror image: it kills almost exclusively the very old or the very obese. Yet due to this virus whose under-70 fatality rate is .05% (that’s one-twentieth of one percent),  the entire Western world simply shut down its societies wholesale.


Not only cinemas and stadiums, but shops, schools, factories, construction sites: all shuttered. In France, one could no longer volunteer at an animal shelter or give blood. All non-GPs—dentists, gynecologists, dermatologists—were forced to close. Courts ceased to function. Airports shut down. Parliament went virtual.

Piazza del Duomo, Milan, 2020

No one had seen anything like it in the whole of human history--not even in wartime.

One may look back at our forebears in 1918 with awe: The young people who managed to avoid being massacred in the grisliest war in human history then dropped like flies in the ensuing worldwide pandemic, whilst the older generation survived unscathed. Has humanity ever seen such an immense killing field of its youngest and strongest in such a short span of time?

And yet the world still turned. While large public gatherings were discouraged, the word ‘lockdown’ was never pronounced or even imagined. Farming, factories, trade, construction, commerce all buzzed along as they always had. Schools and hair salons and parks remained open. The hecatomb of the Spanish Flu is barely remembered today.

‘Indeed,’ you may argue, ‘but of course one has to go back a hundred years to find a people hardy enough to weather a viral pandemic with equanimity.’


As it happens, one does not.


While Covid raged throughout 2020, curious French researchers snuck a peek into the medical archives. They were astonished at what they found: Only 50 years ago, in 1969, a Covid-like flu had swept through the Western world-- but in newspapers of the time it barely merited a mention. There was no state of emergency, no daily death count, no mass shutdowns. 

No panic.


The gravity of the enigmatic ‘Hong Kong Flu’ had entirely escaped French historians because at the time, no statistical agency (of which France had many) thought to tally up its deaths. It took until 2005 and researchers inspired by SARS for the French authorities to even remember that there had been an epidemic in 1969. 

Covid re-awakened our taste for all things pandemical, and last year led historians to fine-tune the numbers even more. 

That’s when they realized that at 2020 population levels, the Hong Kong Flu would have been nearly as deadly as Covid-19.


So how could the outcome of such a virus have gone from ‘blip on the radar’ to ‘planet-wide pants-soiling’ in the space of just fifty short years? A French documentary crew from LCP  News Channel aimed to find out. 

We share their discoveries with you here.



So take a walk with us down memory lane, to a time, within living memory, when an epidemic virus could tear through a first-world country and earn barely a shrug in response. Visit the less-feminized world of our recent forebears, and marvel at how our society has in the space of two generations become hystericized to the point of total paralysis.


Accompagnez-nous into another world.  


 LCP documentary, 'Hong Kong Flu: The Forgotten Pandemic'

Pierre is a retiree living in the Southwest of France. One of the first to catch the Hong Kong virus in 1969, he remembers:

‘In December I was one of the first to get sick. I had a really high fever, which turned into bronchitis… Our family doctor thought it was a cerebral anemia, I was totally knocked out.

'The principal told my parents to keep me at home. They were really worried. I ended up in bed for a month.' 

‘A freshman year turned upside down’ 

Soon three-quarters of his classmates fell ill as well, and their principal took the highly unusual step of closing the school.


Pierre's wife Annie also caught the Hong Kong Flu as a teen, like most of her classmates:

‘We had a fever, were all swollen up, but we all kept going to school…we didn’t think anything of it.’


They were early victims of the Hong Kong Flu, which would go on to kill a million people around the world, 100,000 in the U.S., and tens of thousands in France.


’25,000 deaths in one month’


‘The most shocking thing was the 25,000 deaths in one month.’ [This would be the equivalent today of Covid killing 168,000 Americans in one month.]


‘How did the government react? We’ve dug through the news archives, and we can’t find a single measure announced by anyone. Not one declaration from President Pompidou.’

Pompidou and his ministers: Not a peep about the flu

The epidemic had started in central China in 1968, thought to originally be a bird flu. Chinese fleeing the Cultural Revolution brought it to Hong Kong, where it was first identified and named—‘H3N2,’ popularly called ‘Hong Kong Flu.’


Hong Kong Flu spreads all over China, Asia, Australia


…and North America


Engaged in the Vietnam War, U.S. soldiers started bringing home the virus. Over three months in winter ‘68-‘69, it killed 50,000 Americans. [Adjusting for population, that would be 81,000 deaths today.] Classrooms sat half empty, and even the astronauts on the Apollo 8 crew (those who took the first photo of an Earthrise) were vaccinated before take-off.

Anders' legendary photo: Crew was first vaccinated for H3N2

But Europe was not concerned… not yet. Epidemiologist at Paris’s Pasteur Institute, Dr. Geneviève Cateigne was sanguine:

December 1968: ‘There’s no epidemic in Europe’


‘There is no epidemic in France, nor in Europe… just a few cases here and there, in England and the Netherlands.’


Hong Kong Flu finally spreads to Europe


But it finally came to Europe, via Spain, then up through France. It was a cold winter, and most people believed the regular seasonal flu was doing its usual. Newscasts from the era (see image below) take an almost jocular tone.

[1969 newscaster]: ‘Minus 7 at night, you go out in the morning and ah-choo, you’ve got the flu! Don’t worry, you’re not alone. One in four Frenchmen has the flu this year.’

'After three days of hot toddy, aspirin and a warm blankie, you'll see it's not so bad.'


But things were getting serious. At a Lyon hospital, Doctor Dellamonica was a 20-year-old intern on the intensive care ward. He remembers the drama of December 1969:

‘Suddenly we saw a stream of patients showing up with a cough, unable to breathe, like a fish out of water, spitting up a pink foam… They died very quickly, we didn’t have enough mortuary vehicles, so we lined up the deceased on stretchers in a room at one end of the ward.’


But unlike today, no official tally of the dead was released. It was only in the early aughts that researchers discovered that up until January 1970, Hong Kong Flu was killing 1000 people per day in France.

For comparison, at Covid’s worst, in April 2020, it was killing about 600 people a day in France (and with a population one-fifth higher than back then). Today, in February, that number is around 500-- and yet the government has deemed that sufficient to shut down all restaurants, cafés, cinema, museums, sports, and to lock everyone in their homes from 6p.m. to 6a.m.


The ‘second wave’ in '69-'70 is now thought to have killed 35,000 people in France. But medical historian Joel Coste  explains that number is deceiving, since it was a younger and smaller country then:

‘If we apply the fatality rate of the Hong Kong Flu to a population like ours today, we’d have two or three times more deaths than back then. Today, it would have been 70,000 to 100,000 deaths.’ [As of this writing, Covid-19 has so far killed 83,000 people in France.]
‘It would’ve been a slaughter’

Most striking is the visible lack of panic among medical experts and politicians. No one counted the deaths—and yet in December 1969 alone, Hong Kong Flu killed 20,000 people in France. (For perspective, the deadliest month of Covid, last April, saw 18,000 deaths--and with one-fifth higher population.) Doctor Cateigne at the Pasteur Institute remained unfazed:


'Yes, I think we have an epidemic now in the Southwest, a few cases in Paris.' 
    ‘What advice would you give to sufferers?’ 
‘Just to rest, drink hot liquids…’


Doctor Dellamonica reminisces:

‘Bodies were piling up at the hospital, but when we went home after work, no one was talking about it, no masks in the street… We just knew that public transport wasn’t running as usual and that some schools were doubling up classes [due to train conductors and teachers being ill].’
‘Nobody was wearing masks’


On TV, the deaths weren’t even mentioned. Man-on-the-street interviews about the virus at the time prompted comments like ‘Well if I get it I get it, oh well! What can you do?’

Contemporary street interviews: ‘If I get it, I get it!’


A higher death rate than Covid--yet the newspapers hardly mentioned it. The economy rolled along, despite staggering infection rates. The headline below says ‘Flu: 15% of train conductors are ill, but National Rail isn’t planning to cancel any trains for the Christmas holidays.’

The notion of banning travel, or social distancing on trains, or requiring masks, does not seem to have occurred to anyone.

Le Monde, France’s biggest newspaper, which has been trumpeting Coronavirus news 24/7 for the last year, was strangely silent about the equally devastating Hong Kong Flu.


Left, 1969: ‘The flu epidemic seems to be regressing’

 Right, 2020: ‘Covid-19: The acute threat of the variants’


Patrice Bourdelais, historian and demographer: 

‘Articles in Le Monde about the epidemic were few and far between, and never on the front page. And they tended to say that this flu was no different than any other flu, nothing to get worked up over, and that it would pass quickly.’

Michèle Cotta was a journalist at the time, and she is stunned by the current reaction to Covid-19.

‘Today it’s just amazing… I’m telling you, I have absolutely no memory of it [Hong Kong Flu]. I was working at Express Magazine at the time, and nobody was talking about it, nobody at all. Sure we talked about the flu, but not that it was any more dangerous than usual.’

Man-on-the-street interviews at the end of the year 1969 asked people about the ‘biggest event’ they remembered from the year. People mentioned the presidential elections, the moon landing, and the Vietnam War… but strangely, the deadly Hong Kong Flu was on nobody’s lips.

Parisians on the street mention Pompidou’s election, the moon landing, and the Vietnam War as ‘biggest events’ of 1969


And politicians? Here in 2020, we had daily TV press conferences from the health ministry, with regular prime-time updates from the prime minister as well as solemn wartime elocutions from President Macron himself.

One of Prime Minister Philippe’s many Covid power-point press conferences


But in 1969? Freshly-elected president Georges Pompidou apparently didn’t think the bodies piling up merited even a mention. His health minister, Robert Boulin, appeared often on TV—to tout his National Health System reform. Not a peep about the epidemic.

Health minister touts his reform plan—no mention of H3N2


He finally gave a short interview about the epidemic in January 1970, after tens of thousands of deaths, saying simply, ‘A flu epidemic like this one is very hard to predict and prevent.’ ‘In any case,’ he assures, ‘there’s absolutely no reason to panic.  

 *     *     *

Our documentarist now moves to the present--The arrival of Covid-19 in Europe in January 2020:

‘Fifty years later, the Coronavirus is a national obsession: Mobilization of the health system like never before. The forced shut-down of entire industries. Our country hanging on every word of the health minister’s daily macabre death count. The prime minister giving constant press conferences.'


'The entire French population forced to stay in their homes for 8 weeks. A whole country in hibernation, the economy at a standstill. Radical, unprecedented decisions—which show how much our society has changed in 50 years.’


But why?


Doctor Dellamonica, who watched hundreds of Hong Kong Flu patients die in 1969, says:

‘I think the politicization of health first started with the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s. That’s when the media glommed onto the subject. That’s when people started demanding answers from politicians. That’s when people started doubting our health system.’

AIDS epidemic touches France


Blood contaminated with HIV ended up killing hundreds of people in the 1980s, leading to several health officials being sued and found guilty. This scandal shook France to its core and led to a sense that it was the government’s job to prevent health crises, not just react to them.

Blood contaminated with HIV killed hundreds


The 2003 heat wave that killed 15,000 elderly in Paris (while their kids and grandkids were off vacationing) also led to calls for heads to roll.

Then health minister Jean-François Mattei was criticized for not doing enough. But he clapped back:

‘Everyone wants to find a scapegoat when something goes wrong. Today, being in a government post means the risk of being sued.  This litigiousness will probably lead to fewer and fewer people wanting to take on these roles.’


Since the Covid-19 crisis began, more than 80 lawsuits have indeed been brought against French government ministers. Claims are that they should have reacted faster, reacted better, reacted otherwise... Is this new litigiousness at the root of the massive governmental reaction to the virus? A méditer.

*     *      *


Fifty short years ago, the Hong Kong Flu was indeed recognized as an epidemic: It killed 20,000 people in one month in France, overwhelming hospitals, leaving schools without teachers and trains without conductors. (100,000 would perish in the U.S.) Experts today say that with 2020’s population structure, it would have killed as many as Covid.

Yet there were no lockdowns. No shutdown of restaurants or cinemas or sports stadiums. No mass shuttering of schools. No imprisoning millions of people in their homes. No daily death count. No masks. No presidential speeches comparing it to ‘war.’

Macron announces the lockdown in March 2020: ‘We are at war’


Life went on.


So how did we get here?

We suspect that it has something to do with the continued feminization of the West, as we investigated recently.  


Somehow, at some time in the last two generations, our level of ‘acceptable risk’ has radically shrunk. We have become a people wholly unequipped to deal with death—even the death of those who are already very old and ill (Covid’s main victims). 

We have become a society ready to sacrifice the mental and social health of our young--and bring them to financial ruin--in order to prolong the lives of those who have already passed into the third age.

The Spanish Flu, we remember, killed mostly the young and healthy—and even then, no society on Earth declared the mass lockdowns we are seeing today.

Image source (Updated info from here, here)

The casual tone of every 1969 interview subject from the above documentary, from doctors to politicians to the man on the street, is in sharp contrast with the intense emotion surrounding the 2020 epidemic.

The potential reasons for this are many:

  • Feminization of society = much stronger aversion to risk
  • Litigiousness increasing, officials fear being sued for not acting quickly
  • Baby Boomer generation demanding to be kept alive at all costs
  • Social media amplifying events that would otherwise be ignored
  • ...Others?

Whatever may be the cause, we shudder to think how governments will react in the face of the next truly horrific Spanish Flu-style pandemic.

What is sure is that the economic depression and mental health crisis into which we are about to plunge will leave a deep mark for many years to come.

It may even be the catalyst for the next Great Turning.

We thank you for reading, and please stay tuned for our next big piece.


Anonymous said...

Low testosterone.

The testosterone level of the average American male has declined 1 percent per year since the 1980s.

Today, the average 22-year-old man today has an average testosterone level roughly equal to that of a 67-year-old man in 2000.

No wonder we are more feminized.

Anonymous said...

The problem with this article is that while the death rates for Hong Kong flu in France and COVID in France are comparable. Hong Kong Flu death rates were so in the absence of any lockdown and other measures taken to deal with it; whereas the death rates under COVID are post measures used to impede the advance of covid.

The real comparison should be between what covid deaths in France could have been without lockdown; and the Hong Kong flu deaths. Perhaps the real picture of the devastation covid could potentially cause may arise.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why those who see what's going on still believe this jew-op pandemic has anything to do with some flu virus. What is really going on here is that the chinese have finally figured out the jews (Kissinger, et al) are psychopaths, and are purging them from their society, which is very good news for us. Notice all the attacks on the chinese in jew media. This tells you everything you need to know. Rule of thumb is whatever you see on jew-tv, the opposite is true! Remember, the Hans are an extremely racists people, and at 5000+ years, china is the oldest nation on earth, and even though race mixing with their targeted populations is a main component of jew subversions, it didn't work in china and neither did their other main tactics of diversifying the population with foreigners, hyper-sexuality, selfish materialism or the judeo-christian-islamic psyop. The days of jews monopolizing our discourse, and metaphysics, and taking advantage of the confused, atomized populations, long kept in the dark, are over.

M.G. said...

Anon 5:23—

I have heard that statistic too, and I’m astonished that it isn’t more talked about in the popular discourse. Not only its origins—what on Earth are we ingesting that’s killing men’s testosterone—but its effects on society as a whole. And, is this same phenomenon happening across borders?

M.G. said...

Anon 11:08—

I agree that this is not an apples-to-apples comparison ; it couldn’t be without taking into account all the major differences, the biggest one being the lockdowns.

But while a precise death rate comparison would be interesting, to me the really fascinating comparison is that of the reaction by public officials back then and today.

By any measure, the Hong Kong Flu was a serious epidemic, a very contagious virus which led to tens of thousands of deaths and serious disruptions of society (schools, transport).

And yet the collective shrug of public officials back then vs. the wholesale shutting down of civilization today—this, to me, is a tough nut to crack.

Desdichado said...

Multiple peer-reviewed scientific papers have shown that those methods; lockdowns, masks, social distancing, etc. have little to any scientificially measurable effect. Here's just the latest of at least half a dozen I've read over the last few months: European Journal of Clinical Investigation “Assessing Mandatory Stay-at-Home and Business Closure Effects on the Spread of COVID-19.” And all of that, of course, assumes that the data is good, and there are multiple reasons to strongly suspect the data of being untrustworthy.

It probably is an apples to apples comparison after all if the effect of lockdowns and masks is negligible, which it clearly looks like it is. But if the data of cases and deaths isn't trustworthy, then all bets are off.

M.G. Miles said...


Thank you for the reference.

I'll be very interested to see the results of the other studies that will inevitably come out as the hysteria dies down.

Personally I'm convinced that as the economic catastrophe fully sets in, there will be many a mea culpa, and a consensus that most countries went way overboard. But it will take years to filter out.

We shall see.

Anonymous said...

"Personally I'm convinced that as the economic catastrophe fully sets in, there will be many a mea culpa, and a consensus that most countries went way overboard."

I'm afraid that is unlikely. First, those who are responsible for the lockdowns, etc. have a vested interest in never acknowledging that the policy was a mistake, and will bury any attempts to analyze the actual results of the measures as they have largely succeeded in doing thus far. (There were many voices in the wilderness, including academic epidemiologists and retired public health officials whose voices were ignored during this past year.) Second, those who panicked and accepted every one of these "safety measures" will be loathe to admit they were duped. Third, I'm afraid most people lack the ability for critical thinking that would allow them to question these measures. I hope you are right, but the past year has made me very pessimistic.