The Epidemic that killed 8% of NYC’s Population

Yellow Fever hit New York City in the late eighteenth century. The Big Apple population at the time was 60,000 and over the course of five years, eight percent of those New Yorkers succumbed to the disease (or related malfeasance).

Adjust that ratio for 2022 and the death count would approach 675,000.

Yellow fever is described by the always trustworthy World Health Organization as “an acute viral hemorrhagic disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes.” It can incubate in your body for up to 6 days but is often asymptomatic. If symptoms do arise, mild to moderate cases last for 3 or 4 days and present with:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle pain (usually a backache)
  • Decreased appetite

For some patients, there is a secondary toxic phase that occurs very shortly after they recover from the above symptoms. This phase typically commences with a return of the high fever but things quickly escalate from there, e.g.

  • Kidney damage
  • Liver problems
  • Jaundice (the yellowing of skin and eyes is where this disease gets its name)
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dark urine
  • Steady and extreme vomiting
  • Internal bleeding
  • Bleeding from the mouth, nose, or eyes

Roughly 50 percent of those who enter the toxic phase are dead within a week.

Sad reality: Pandemics and epidemics are often handled in an inexplicable, inefficient, greedy, and lethal manner. Here’s how the Museum of the City of New York described the scene more than two centuries ago:

By 1795, yellow fever was making its way through New York City. The true cause of yellow fever was unknown at the time. Many thought the disease was spread by consuming or inhaling the fumes of rotting food or coffee. Others believed the illness was imported from the West Indies. The press was reluctant to publish the extent of yellow fever due to fears of people leaving the city and the economy suffering. New Yorkers falsely believed the disease was not contagious, and by 1798, the dispersion of yellow fever had reached epidemic proportions claiming the lives of thousands. Various efforts were made to clean up certain neighborhoods most widely affected by the disease, but other than quarantining infected ships, the newly formed health department did little to prevent the sickness from spreading.

As you well know, this type of scenario is nothing new within our culture — regardless of which technology delivers the narrative.

Keep your guard up…

Mickey Z. is the creator of a podcast called Post-Woke. You can subscribe here. He is also the founder of Helping Homeless Women - NYC, offering direct relief to women on New York City streets. Spread the word. Read other articles by Mickey.