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This Is Not Our First Pandemic. Revisiting The 1918 Flu.


This show originally aired in April 2020.

A stay-at-home order is in place. Medical equipment is hard to find. There’s an illness causing flu-like symptoms, and it spreads easily. The year is 1918.

Today’s coronavirus is not the first time North Carolina has experienced a pandemic. Just over 100 years ago the so-called Spanish flu ravaged the globe, killing roughly 13,000 in North Carolina, 675,000 in the United States and 50 million worldwide.

Today we consider the surprising parallels of the two pandemics, 100 years apart.


Dr. Lauren Austin, author of “Afraid to Breathe: Understanding North Carolina’s Experience of the 1918-1919 Influenza Pandemic at the State, Local, and Individual Levels

Jesse Steinmetz is Producer of Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins. Before joining WFAE in 2019, he was an intern at WNPR in Hartford, Connecticut and hosted a show at Eastern Connecticut State University.