…and the Dirtneck Hippies That Are Now Liberals Didn’t GAS
Social media users have been sharing an image online that claims the popular music festival Woodstock, which took place in August 1969, happened in the middle of a pandemic. This claim is correct.
The comments on these posts have gathered mixed reactions from users. The posts have been flagged multiple times as part of Facebook’s efforts to curb misinformation related to the new coronavirus.
One of the most commonly seen claims says: “The Hong Kong Flu (H3N2) of 1968, killed 1 million worldwide, and 100,000 in the US, most excess deaths being in people 65+ (via the CDC). Nothing changed economically, nothing closed, no social distancing, no masks. No one was considered selfish then.”
The Woodstock Music and Art Fair was an iconic music festival that took place in August 1969 at a dairy farm in upstate New York. The organizers expected 30,000 people but hundreds of thousands showed up. There were reports of traffic jams 20 miles (32 km) long, which resulted in concert-goers abandoning their cars and walking to the venue. The festival did not have enough food, water and sleeping areas for the unexpected crowd. ( here )
It is true that Woodstock occurred during the Hong Kong flu pandemic, which was a global outbreak. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains on its website:
“It was first noted in the United States in September 1968. The estimated number of deaths was 1 million worldwide and about 100,000 in the United States. Most excess deaths were in people 65 years and older. The H3N2 virus continues to circulate worldwide as a seasonal influenza A virus.” ( here )
The death toll was comparable with the 1957 Asian flu pandemic that killed 1.1 million worldwide ( here ). As of May 6, 2020at least 262,238 people globally had died during the current COVID-19 outbreak ( here ).The worst pandemic in modern history, the Spanish Influenza of 1918, is estimated to have killed at least 50 million ( here ).
A New York Times article from August 17, 1969 reported that the Woodstock festival’s producer, Michael Lang, said a dozen doctors came to the festival not because of “widespread illnesses” but because of “the potential threat of a virus cold or pneumonia epidemic among such a large gathering.” ( here )
A Wall Street Journal article comparing the new coronavirus outbreak to the Hong Kong Flu of 1968 reads:“In 1968-70, news outlets devoted cursory attention to the virus while training their lenses on other events such as the moon landing and the Vietnam War, and the cultural upheaval of the civil-rights movements, student protests and the sexual revolution.”Susan Craddock, a professor at the University of Minnesota, told the WSJ that mortality rates for the 1968 pandemic were significantly lower than those of COVID-19, and that without 24-hour news coverage, online resources and social media to heighten public anxiety, politicians were under less pressure to act than they are today.
ht/ jerry manderin