I think the biggest lesson is that we can’t predict what influenza will do. In villages in Alaska, for example, the whole village would become sick at once. There would be nobody to provide food, nobody to provide shelter—these things can a make a difference. And even in wealthy nations like the United States, the conclusion at the end of 1918 and 1919 was that the single most important thing that could save your life from flu was good nursing care. Not medicines, not doctors, not hospitals, but good nursing care. When you first read those things you’re likely to say, “That can’t be true, what could they do in those days?” You know, what’s chicken soup going to do? What’s a blanket going to do? I believe the data, they’re strong, and some of the best and smartest physicians, nurses, and other observers said it again and again, "good nursing care."
David M. Morens, M.D., National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health. Transcript: We Heard The Bells: The Influenza of 1918, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Writer/Producer: Lisa Laden, December 4, 2009 .