Fri, Sep 14, 2018 - Page 9 News List

How Spanish flu shaped
a modern welfare state

The 1918 pandemic ravaged Ostersund in Sweden, but its legacy is a city, and a country, that is well-equipped to deal with challenges in the 21st century

By Brian Melican  /  The Guardian

“School starts tomorrow — for the last time,” Karlsson wrote in his journal on Sept. 4, 1918. “I leave in spring and it feels melancholy. I like farming, but I would still prefer to continue at school and study, but it’s impossible.”

Ten days later, he notes that his family’s food stores are running low.

“We’re almost out of flour and bread, the barley hasn’t dried yet, and we shan’t get any more rations, everything is being requisitioned,” he wrote.

One hundred years later, a city — and a society — once unable to educate or even feed its youth is now one of the world’s wealthiest and fairest.

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