My mom and the pandemic at Woodstock

Yes, I remember Woodstock when I was in high school.  Worse than that, I have the 3-disc L.P. somewhere in a box.  I listened to it one time and wished I had sought a refund.

Woodstock was awful in more ways than one.  It was dirty, and people behaved very strangely.

My mother, who turns 91 today on Mother's Day, looked at the TV news back then and said in Spanish that all of those people were going to get sick so close to each other. 

Then she added that it was a natural place for some pandemic to break out.

Well, it turns out that there was a pandemic in 1969.  This is a fascinating report from Jeffrey Tucker:

In my lifetime, there was another deadly flu epidemic in the United States.  The flu spread from Hong Kong to the United States, arriving December 1968 and peaking a year later.  It ultimately killed 100,000 people in the U.S., mostly over the age of 65, and one million worldwide.

Lifespan in the US in those days was 70 whereas it is 78 today.  Population was 200 million as compared with 328 million today.  It was also a healthier population with low obesity.  If it would be possible to extrapolate the death data based on population and demographics, we might be looking at a quarter million deaths today from this virus.  So in terms of lethality, it was as deadly and scary as COVID-19 if not more so, though we shall have to wait to see. 

"In 1968/69," says Nathaniel L. Moir in National Interest, "the H3N2 pandemic killed more individuals in the U.S. than the combined total number of American fatalities during both the Vietnam and Korean Wars."

And this happened in the lifetime of every American over 52 years of age.

Wow — my mom's instincts must have been right.  She saw a bunch of people sitting on mud and smoking pot and concluded that a pandemic must have broken out in the land.

Moms know best.  Happy Mother's Day, and listen to your mom the next time that a bunch of hippies invite you to an outdoor concert without bathrooms.

PS: You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

If you experience technical problems, please write to