It was the summer of love: in 1969 a half a million people gathered together to listen to music, take drugs, have sex, roll around in the mud, and share a densely populated area for one long weekend.
And guess what? The whole thing happened during a health pandemic. In 1968 the H3N2 pandemic came to the US from Hong Kong. It killed more than 100,000 Americans, mostly over the age of 65, which was more combined fatalities than both the Vietnam and Korean Wars. Schools, movie theaters, bars, tattoo parlors, restaurants, and, of course, concerts venues stayed open. The stock market didn’t crash, Congress didn’t issue a lock down order, the Federal reserve had no involvement, there was no spike in the suicide rate, violent criminals weren’t freed from jail, and nobody arrested surfers or hair stylists.
Stock markets didn’t crash because of the flu. Congress passed no legislation. The Federal Reserve did nothing. Not a single governor acted to enforce social distancing, curve flattening (even though hundreds of thousands of people were hospitalized), or banning of crowds. No mothers were arrested for taking their kids to other homes. No surfers were arrested. No daycares were shut even though there were more infant deaths with this virus than the one we are experiencing now. There were no suicides, no unemployment, no drug overdoses attributable to flu.
Media covered the pandemic but it never became a big issue.
The Hong Kong flu 1968 /1969