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Regina Resumes Normal Life at Six P.M. Today

Regina Resumes Normal Life at Six P.M. Today

· 16 min. read

On July 11th, 2021, all COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted in Saskatchewan. Some people feel this is the beginning of the end of the pandemic, while others are worried about things to come. Throughout the past year, I've been making comparisons between COVID-19 and the Spanish Influenza pandemic. This is another similarity, as, on November 28th, 1918, Regina also resumed "normal life".

But what happened then? And what is to expect going forward?

Here are four articles from around that time that discuss how the city was dealing with the reopening ? from theatres, to schools, to libraries, and to churches. After these articles, I will give my thoughts about the future of COVID-19 and how I feel about July 11th, 2021

Rex Theatre being closed during Spanish Influenza pandemic

Regina Resumes Normal Life at Six P.M. Today

Theatres Will Open with Some Strong Programs This Evening

Originally printed in The Morning Leader, November 28, 1918.

At six o'clock this evening the ban will be lifted and theatres of the city will open for business at seven o'clock. The four theatres have special programs for reopening. At the Roseland theatre Harris and Proy, a musical comedy company, opens the season with "Murphy in Society" and a splendid picture, "The Mystery Ship" and an L-KO comedy.

At the Regina theatre a feature film, "Baree, Son of Kazan", featuring Neil Shipman and Alfred Whitman, is the offering. The added attraction is McDonald and Curtis, in a singing and musical revue.

The two big picture houses, the Rose and the Rex, have each an exceptional program. At the Rose a Fox All-Star picture, "The Blindness of Divorce" will be shown for the first time in Regina.

The Rex theatre presents to its many patrons the favourite Marguerite Clark, in "Out of a Clear Sky", a tender little story with the beginning in desecrated Belgium and an ending in the Canyon of Colorado. There will also be a Luke comedy.

With the lifting of the ban, citizens of Regina, who have been forced to stay at home for the past six weeks, during which time world events have been sufficient to keep them interested, will now be able to resume their normal life. Undoubtedly the theatres will be an attraction and a welcome change from the drab "scared of flu" condition.

On Saturday the stores which have been closed at six oclock [sic] during the past few weeks will open. All store proprietors advise Christmas stocks are in place and every place of business is ready for the rush season. In this connection they ask for early shopping, as a consideration to the employees.

Places of business which have been opened after six o'clock will resume the old routine. These include billiard parlors, confectionery stores, etc.

Regina's former Victoria School

Back to School Monday, Decide All The Trustees

No Reason in Further Delaying Studies Unless Influenza Comes Back

Originally printed in The Morning Leader, November 28, 1918.

Regina public schools will re-open on Monday next, December 1 [sic]. This decision was reached at a meeting of the public school board on Thursday evening and schools will open on Monday unless the health authorities decided in the meantime that the epidemic is still serious enough to continue the ban for a short time longer.

In discussing the matter at the school board meeting some of the trustees were of the opinion that no real hardship would result if the schools did not re-open until after the Christmas holidays. In view of the fact, however, that the epidemic is now practically over to all appearances and schools elsewhere are reopening it was thought advisable to recommend that the school be opened on Monday next.

Keep Sick Children at Home

Dr. Bow, M.H.O, addressed the meeting and stated that parents should be warned not to send children to school who were not in normal conditions of health. Many of the pupils who had had influenza and had not fully recovered should not be sent to school until they were in good health once more.

Regina collegiate institute and the separate schools of the city, it is expected, will also re-open on Monday next.

Sacred Heart academy [sic], which has been closed during the epidemic, was re-opened on Monday last. Not one case of influenza developed in the academy among the pupils who are in residence there.

Regina Public Library Central Branch

Circulation of Library Books to Resume on Friday

All Books Which Have Been in Circulation Have Been Disinfected

Originally printed in The Morning Leader, November 28, 1918.

Unless an order is issued by the health officials to the contrary, books from the Regina public library will again be in circulation commencing with Friday morning of this week. During the epidemic the circulation of books from the library was suspended as a precautionary measure.

All books outstanding have been called in by the librarian, and these have been thoroughly disinfected. A few books have not been returned, but these will go through the same process as soon as they come to hand.

The new public library in Eastern Annex will be opened to the public next week, it is anticipated. A building on Scott street [sic], formally occupied as a store has been secured, and is being renovated and redecorated. This will be the third branch of the central library to be established in the city outside of school libraries.

Holy Rosary in 1912

Requiem Mass Wednesday for Influenza Dead

Holy Rosary Parish Lost Thirty-Six Members During the Recent Epidemic

Originally printed in The Morning Leader, November 25, 1918.

Large congregations attended the three masses which were held at Holy Rosary cathedral yesterday morning at 8, 9 and 10.30. It was the first time public masses have been celebrated since the ban on public meetings were imposed some weeks ago on account of the prevailing epidemic.

Father Connolly, C.SS.R., pastor, read a list of 36 names of members who died as a result of the terrible epidemic. Prayers were said for the repose of their souls by the congregation at the various masses.

On Wednesday morning at 7 o'clock, there will be a solemn requiem high mass for deceased members of Holy Rosary parish.

The priests of the parish had visited all members thereof who had been sick and all those who have died as the results of the plague had been given the last sacraments previous to their demise.

Thanksgiving Sunday, December 1, will be celebrated by the Holy Rosary cathedral with a solemn high mass in thanksgiving for the blessings of peace. The sermon on this occasion will be preached by His Grace Archbishop Mathieu.

The forty hours' devotion also begins on Sunday morning and immediately succeeding mass, there will be a procession through the church.

Downtown Regina in early 1900s

The articles above were from over a century ago, but while they show a different time, it is still one that we can relate to. The end of the Spanish Influenza pandemic was a relief to the citizens of Regina, but dotted between the articles of reopenings and remembrance, there was signs that the pandemic was not over. Articles about people or entire families being found dead were common, and many were afraid and worried to return to the old way of life. Many businesses took advantage of this anxiety by selling pills or drugs to help people with their nerves. Just because "normal life" resumed, does not mean the world went back to normal. In fact, the same day Regina reopened, Yukon went into complete quarantine.

Ads promoting fake cures against the Spanish Flu

Time and time again, there have been parallels between the Spanish Influenza pandemic and the COVID-19 pandemic. These include closures and lockdowns, mask mandates, anti-authority protests and even malaria drugs being used as treatments. There was also a touted vaccine in both cases that caused blood clots, although the Spanish Influenzas vaccine wasn't a true vaccine at all.

We can also see similar conflicts between government personal and medical practitioners, with Walter Scott famously saying in 1918: "Fear of any disease only invites attack by the disease, and in my view an entirely unwarranted and unnecessary alarm is being increased and is liable to add considerably to the death rate." This is very similar to Scott Moe calling the opposition leader Dr. Ryan Meili, "Dr. Doom and the caucus of gloom" when they expressed concerns about the handling of the pandemic.

But the most important parallel is one that hasn't happened yet. Following the return of "normalcy" in Regina on November 28, 1918, Saskatchewan would still lose 1,815 citizens ? or about 36% of the total death toll. The pandemic would last throughout 1919 and 1920, although there were only six deaths in the entire province after April, 1920.

Saskatchewan deaths from the Spanish Influenza

So, what will happen in Saskatchewan this time?

Well, the situation is a little different. On one hand, we have vaccinated approximately 70% of the provincial population. This is a huge achievement, but it also means that a population size bigger than Saskatoon is not vaccinated. There was no successful vaccine during the Spanish Influenza. Instead, the virus hit its maximum death threshold and mutated into a less deadly strain. Viruses' do not want to kill their hosts. If they do, they kill themselves. Instead, they want to multiply and spread. From the virus' perspective, the death of the host is counterintuitive to their cause.

COVID-19 has not hit that death threshold yet and is infamous for its notorious low death rate. Although the United States suffered more COVID-19 casualties than Spanish Influenza (600,000 vs 500,000), other countries only had about 50% of the casualties. This includes Canada (50,000 vs 26,000), the United Kingdom (250,000 vs 128,000) and Sweden (34,000 vs 14,000). However, there are some outliers, such as Brazil (300,000 vs 530,000), Finland (20,000 vs 900) and Japan (340,000 vs 15,000).

Unfortunately, COVID-19 is changing, and it is getting worse. It took 237 days for COVID-19 to kill the one million people, 117 days to kill two million people, 89 days to kill three million people, and another 89 days to kill four million people.

While the Spanish Influenza was slowing down a year and a half into the pandemic, COVID-19 is not. New variants of the virus are more lethal and are spreading more quickly. With only 60% of Canada fully vaccinated, there is just as much of a threat of another wave now as there was four, six, nine, or even seventeen months ago. With rising cases around the world and countries already closing borders, the risk is as alive and well ? maybe even more so ? than before.

"Normal life" might be resuming, but the pandemic is not over. Instead, the government's role in trying to save lives is what is "over". They have handed the torch to the people and are praying that we won't get burned.

Downtown Regina in early 1900s

Much like during COVID-19, the Spanish Influenza pandemic faded away in the summer months. In June, July and August of 1919, Saskatchewan only lost 30 people. In February of 1920, the province lost 51. In March, there were another 30. It would be easy to celebrate the return to normalcy, but it is also important to know that this pause is seasonal and only temporary.

The parallels between the pandemics are stark and worrisome. It is often said that those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it, and this cycle of ignorant repetition has continued for again and again seventeen months.

However, it should be said that every pandemic, from the Spanish Influenza to the Black Death, does eventually come to an end. Some of them fade out over decades (like the HIV/AIDS pandemic) while others burn out quickly. Regardless of the disease, regardless of the length, regardless of the fatality rate, all things come to an end. I do not believe we are anywhere close to the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, but we are closer than we were yesterday, and sooner than later, that day will come.

I truly believe July 11th, 2021 is our version of November 28th, 1918, and that our COVID-19 story is far from over.

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Regina Resumes Normal Life at Six P.M. TodayRegina Resumes Normal Life at Six P.M. Today

Categories: Canada, COVID-19, Regina, Saskatchewan

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