I don’t want to talk about my books today. Instead, I want to talk to you about someone I never met. Her name was Emily. I know about Emily because her dad does some contract work for me. When I called him yesterday, he told me that he couldn’t come out right now. He was burying his seven-year-old daughter, Emily.
Emily didn’t die from gun violence or cancer. Emily died from the flu. Let that soak in for just a moment. Many of you reading this have probably called in sick to work once or twice with the flu. We don’t think of it as a killing disease, not in the twenty-first century, but people are dying of it today.
This year is the 100th anniversary of the worst flu pandemic in known history. In 1918, what is now known as the Spanish Flu killed between 50 and 100 million people. That’s a big spread, but records aren’t too reliable because it was even killing people on remote islands. This flu was the H1N1 strain.
The influenza virus that we are fighting today is H3N2. But it isn’t alone, H1N1 is also present. The flu shot has been only 10% to 15% effective, though I’m not exactly sure how they measure that. Take the shot or not, I have no idea whether it will help you.
All of that aside, how does a child, a seven-year-old little girl die of the flu in this day-and-age? Are we still in the same medical darkness that we were 100 years ago when it comes to the flu? I understand that the strains change and adapt, but shouldn’t we have been somehow ready for that? Don’t we have some way to counter the devastating effects that it has on the body?
I’m grieving for a child that I never met. I’m grieving for all of the people who are dying of a disease that many of us get, suffer with for a few days, and then forget about.
I don’t blame anyone. Who is there to blame? I just don’t understand it. I see all of the outrage when a madman takes lives, but I don’t see any when this invisible killer that comes visiting every year takes thousands more.
Please pray for Emily’s family.