Your excellent editorials pointing out that germs do not...

The Enquirer

Your excellent editorials pointing out that germs do not cause influenza and that masks do not prevent it, have moved the Fresno Republican to characterize such discussions as illustrations of "bigoted ignorance," and to declare that "on matters of public health, newspapers ought not to mislead the people by campaigns of dogmatic misrepresentation of the plainest and most demonstrable facts."

Now if there is any subject on which there is dense ignorance and a paucity of facts,—if we accept the testimony of medical men,—that subject is the influenza. Hence when experiments at Goat Island demonstrated that the disease is not contagious as has been supposed, and experience with masks in California proved that, contrary to the claim made for them, they have no virtue, the time was opportune for bringing these facts before the public and commenting upon them editorially. The Enquirer embraced the opportunity, and various newspapers throughout the state have shown their appreciation of the editorials by republishing them.

The Fresno Republican has itself, at least on one occasion, confessed to the prevalent ignorance of the cause and cure of influenza, and in so doing has quoted no less an authority than Dr. Victor C. Vaughan, long dean of the medical college of Ann Arbor, once president of the American Medical Association, and now a medical colonel in the Army. The Republican says that Doctor Vaughan, while recently speaking of his experience with the epidemic, had this to say: "The saddest part of my life was when I witnessed the hundreds of deaths of the soldiers in the army camps and did not know what to do. At that moment I decided never again to prate about the great achievements of medical science, and to humbly admit our dense ignorance in this case." In this connection it is interesting to note that Dr. F. L. Kelly, of the state bacteriological laboratory at the University of California, declares that "we do not know anything more about the disease to-day than we did one hundred years ago; there is no known cure or preventive." Of course no one blames physicians for not understanding the influenza, but the average person is wondering why he should be delivered into the hands of health officers and be forced to submit to masks and other indignities when it is admitted that such officers do not know how to cure or prevent the disease, and in fact stand helpless in its presence.

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