· The English adopted the word “influenza” in the mid-eighteenth century, while the French called it la grippe from gripper, meaning “to grasp or hook.” There is also a similar-sounding phrase in Arabic, anf-al-anza, which means “nose of the goat,” used because goats were thought to be carriers of the disease.
· Annual flu viruses (not including flu pandemics) infect up to 20% of Americans, put 200,000 in the hospital with flu-related complications, and kill about 36,000 people.
· The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that between three and five million people worldwide get a serious case of the regular flu each year; tens of millions get milder cases. Between 250,000 and 500,000 people globally die of the flu every year.
· There have been four major global flu pandemics since 1900. The most recent pandemic is the current swine flu (officially named “Novel H1N1 Influenza A”). The last global pandemic was the Hong Kong flu (1968-1969) which killed approximately one million people. The Asian flu pandemic (1957-1958) originated in China and is estimated to have killed between one and four million people. The Spanish flu pandemic (1918-1919) killed between 50-100 million people worldwide.
· The single deadliest flu pandemic in history was the Spanish flu pandemic during 1918-1919. Occurring in the three waves of increasing lethality, the Spanish flu killed more people in 24 weeks than AIDS did in 24 years. It also killed more people in one year than smallpox or the Black Plague did in 50 years.
· The Spanish flu was sometimes called “the purple death” because the worst symptom, signally certain death, was known as “heliotrope cyanosis,” when the lungs were starved of oxygen and the patient would turn purple, black, or blue.
· Novel Influenza A H1N1 (swine flu) first caused widespread illness in Mexico and the United States in March and April 2009, though Mexico may have been in the midst of the epidemic some months before. The first case in the United States was confirmed by the CDC on April 15, 2009.
· “Cures” for the Spanish flu included drinking whiskey, smoking cigars, eating milk toast, gargling with salt water, getting fresh air, and partaking of interesting concoctions like “Grippura.” Some doctors doused their patients with icy water while others “bled” their patients. Yet other doctors tried surgery by slicing open a patient’s chest, spreading his ribs, and extracting pus and blood from the pleural cavity (the cavity surrounding the lungs), which was almost always fatal in flu victims.
· The Center for Disease Control (CDC) began referring to the swine flu as the “Novel Influenza A (H1N1)” in an effort to protect the pork industry.
*LBN-NOTICED: ***Scarlett Johansson was spotted having dinner at The Counter on Wilshire. ***Cindy Gaylordcelebrated her birthday last night at Chez Otiz with her husband, Rick Gaylord.
*LBN-COMENTARY by Marc Wortman: Exceptionally tall, thin and long-limbed, President Abe Lincoln often found his feet were a tough fit for the period’s hard-sole boots. According to Johnston & Murphy, the shoe company which has shod Presidents since 1850, Lincoln had a size 14 shoe, the biggest in Presidential history. (Trump reportedly wears size 12 shoes.) Lincoln’s big, boney feet ached. So did his back. He knew just the man to call upon. Eventually, he turned to the same hands that soothed his aching dogs to calm the dogs of war. Issachar Zacharie was Civil War Washington’s foot doctor to the stars, despite the fact that he was something of a quack. Born a Jew in Chatham, England, in 1826, he came to the United States in the mid-1840s. Grocery businesses he opened in various cities failed, but he found better success promoting his skills as a “surgeon” and “chiropodist,” the 19th century’s title for a podiatrist. He settled in wartime Washington, D.C., in 1862, where he turned solely to treating foot and other bone and joint ailments. To establish his medical credentials, he fabricated a wall of diplomas for nonexistent college and medical degrees and persisted in calling himself “doctor” and inscribing “M.D.” after his name. He also plagiarized a textbook on surgery and diseases of the foot, just slapping his name on it.
*LBN-COMMENTARY by Maureen Dowd: So, with this latest toad jumping from our president’s mouth, is Donald Trumpacting like a sexist pig or simply a pig? I proffer, a pig. I have no doubt that he would attack a man’s appearance in the same breathtakingly below-the-belt way if he felt humiliated by that man and had the ammunition. In his vile tweet about Mika Brzezinski, he called her crazy. He often tweets that women journalists — including me — are crazy. Yet in that same tweet about Mika, he called Joe Scarborough “psycho.” And he told the Russians in May that James Comey was “a nut job.”
*LBN-COMMENTARY by Frank Bruni: I’m losing faith in New York. I’m losing patience. Last week we got an especially vivid reminder of what an overwhelmed, creaky menace the city’s infrastructure has become: Two cars on an A train in Upper Manhattan derailed, injuring about three dozen people. Gov.Andrew Cuomo subsequently declared a state of emergency for the subway system, pledged $1 billion for improvements and demanded a detailed action plan. I have just one question. What took him so long? Actually, I have another. How much of his sudden zest reflects a possible presidential bid and the need to pretty up an ugly blot on his record?
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*LBN-A DIFFERENT VIEW:….
*LBN-OVERHEARD: ***Paul Anka did it his way — and now he has sole custody of his son Ethan, 11. His ex-wife, former Miss Sweden Anna Åberg, is barred from having any contact with their boy. “It’s the greatest day of my life. This was all about protecting Ethan. The system has worked,” Anka — the 75-year-old musician who wrote one of Frank Sinatra’s biggest hits, “My Way” — told me.