Thursday, October 28, 2010

Measles !!

Previously, the blog discussed that Lovecraft's terrible case of measles began about the 10th of January 1910 or so. We know this because he times it precisely to the appearance of Comet 1910 A. That date is precisely known as between 10 January and 31 January 1910.

Below is an extract from an 11 January 1910 newspaper which downplays the growing pandemic somewhat. However, it was growing spectacualrly, and it seems obvious that Lovecraft was somehow swept into this disease.

We know he was Christmas shpping Christmas Eve, and felt wel enough to send a scathing note about businessmen thinking the planet Venus was the aeronaut Tillinghast showing off (however Tillinghast was a hoaxter).

It may have been incubating in his system by 1 January 1910, and it could easily have erupted the exact day of this article.


11 January 1910
Providence Evening Tribune

Measles Statistics Are Uncertain
Figuring on Dr. Chapin's Estimate Would Show a Possibility of 2500 Cases in This City.

There appears to be nothing more uncertain than measles statistics. Apparently there has been an abnormal increase in the number of cases in the city, but, as Dr. Chapin says, not better tjan one case in 10 is reported. More reports have been coming in within the last week, but this means no real increase numerically of those reported sick.

Another misleading feature is the number of cases officially reported and recorded. According to the City hall records there were 61 cases reported up to the close of December and a total of 86 up to this morning. On the est9imate given by Dr. Chapin this would mean that there may be 860 cases in the city.

Here again there is room for figuring. When a man buys a dozen eggs he buys 12, and he knows what he gets – that is as to number, but he isn't sure always of the age of the product. When Dr. Chapin speaks of a case he doesn't mean it in the sense of one. A case of measles, as considered by Dr. Chapin, may mean a dozen or more sick in the same household. Whenever there is one or more sick in one family in one house, that is one case. Allowing as a conservative estimate three children to a family, and presuming that all are ill because there has been general exposure, the figuring would allow a possibility to-day of 2500 individual cases of measles in the city.

The publicity which has been given the subject, coupled with the information that the doctors were slow with their reports of measles, caused one physician to call up Dr. Chapin this morning and to say he had never reported measles because he did not know that was expected of him; seeing that it was, he turned in 23 reports right off the reel. And this meant perhaps that 76 children were down with the disease.

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