The following excerpt was taken from a journal of one of Lanny Holbrooks’s ancestors. It is an entry about the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic.
“Today we hardly hear of Smallpox. … Smallpox symptoms was [sic] a severe fever, aching and pain, rash and pustules on the skin. Later on, scabbing would occur leading to permanent scaring. The disease thru it[s] different stages lasted up to 4 week[s]. The mortality rate was 3 out of 10 died from this disease. …
After purchasing the 30-acre farm from Alvin Waite in 1966, he [Alvin Waite] related some of the history behind the little brick home on 1700 S 2177 W. The Horton Fisher family moved to Syracuse from Bountiful and built a home about 1910 having 3 children.
Martha Stoker Fisher, the mother, came down with Smallpox. The family fearing for their lives boarded up the bedroom door preventing any contact with them. My grandfather, Joseph Holbrook, a young man at the time, had had Smallpox in prior years and had survived. He was asked to provide care thru the east window of the bedroom. All supplies and access was [sic] thru the window. At the young age of 30, she passed away, and her body was taken thru the window on March 2, 1913 leaving her family. Her mother, Kate Stoker, took over the task of raising the young children. …
A voice from the past says, “You don’t know how good you got it!”
Lonny Holbrook stated in his letter, which was sent in response to the mayor’s request for family histories, “This doesn’t address the COVID-19 situation, but the epidemic has put our lives on hold and estranges us from our friends and family.”1
Mr. Holbrook is correct; our lives have been placed on hold through the COVID-19 Pandemic. It has now been well over a year since the city council has met in council chambers. A year ago at this time, our City Manager, Brody Bovero, partially activated the City’s Emergency Operations Committee [EOC]. At first, that body met three times a week. Today, understanding more about the transmission of the virus, it meets twice a month. The first mission of the EOC was to protect staff so that the level of service to all residents could remain. That mission was successful. Next, the city, through the use of CARES Act monies, has helped local businesses with PPE and grants to assist them in providing goods and services to the community. To date, the city has distributed just short of two million dollars to county and city businesses.
With the help of staff, Brody has maintained a living management document which has addressed issues that have presented themselves to the city as this year has progressed. This document has helped the EOC flatten the COVID-19 transmission curve in Syracuse. As of the date of this writing, 3,275 of the Syracuse community members have had COVID-19; 69 of you are suffering from it now. Those statistics would be much worse without the efforts of Brody and the EOC. Hats off to you all!
For the rest of us, the race is nearly won.
Mayor Mike Gailey
1 Excerpt from a letter sent by Lanny Holbrook to the Mayor in response to the Mayor’s request for family histories of the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic