A doctor who worked on three pandemics in early 1900’s looks very similar to today’s Dr. Fauci. His name is Dr. Thomas Dyer Tuttle and here’s his story.
He first worked on the Russian Flu that killed tens of thousands of people in Europe before arriving in New York, where it took more than 2500 deaths. He was in med school at that time. In 1909, his name was on the headlines for going against quarantines on Smallpox. Instead, at that time, he prescribed mandatory smallpox vaccinations. Tuttle and the state’s Board of Health promoted smallpox vaccinations with him taking it to the next level with his own penned pamphlet that enumerated the benefits of having the vaccination.
In the article by Forbes, Tuttle had a few words for anti-vaxxers that still applies to this day. In the pamphlet, he said, “It is the firm belief of the author that the most effectual way to rid this country of Smallpox would be to give a few months warning, in order that all might have time to be successfully vaccinated. And then let any cases of Smallpox that might appear go at large, without disinfection, so that those who would not be vaccinated might have the disease and be done with it. Such a move would result in a radical ‘change of heart’ on the part of many, if not all, ‘anti-vaccinationists.”
His success in 1915 earned him a new position as a health commissioner for Washington. Then, in July of 1918, Spanish Flu reached his place. Historian Gwen Whiting said that the disease hit Camp Lewis, where it affected the soldiers with over 300 cases reported. Summer came, and the cases died down. However, it came back with a vengeance in September.
After their board meeting, Tuttle told a newspaper to warn people of the impending return of the Spanish Flu. At that time, the state’s Board of Health had limited authority. He was only allowed to give a few orders, including encouraging local officials to give preventative measures to contain the disease. That was the case until November, according to the historian.
Tuttle lived in Seattle, and that is where he worked with the local’s health commissioner, Dr. J.S. McBride. Together, they managed the trajectory of flu cases. After the alarming cases reached hundreds in a nearby Naval training station, Tuttle declared that the Spanish Flu was here. McBride and Seattle’s then-mayor Ole Hanson took Tuttle’s advice and worked with him from then on.
By October 5, 1918, Hanson showed his measures to flatten the curb of cases in Seattle. Whiting explained that Hanson ordered the closure of churches and public places. Tuttle disagreed with this and instead, sent letters to press statewide how the flu can be prevented from being an epidemic. He gave what was at that time an unfamiliar set of precautions: Don’t sneeze or cough in your hands, keep away from crowds, and stay at home if you exhibit any symptoms.
The U.S. Surgeon General and Tuttle were both against a statewide lockdown. The Surgeon General lifted a statewide order to wear masks in public after the Armistice Day, knowing people won’t adhere to it. In World War I, he eased some health restrictions in Seattle. These resulted in the flu coming back early December. They changed tactics and instead ordered people exposed to influenza to quarantine themselves at home.
The lack of enforcement of public health laws frustrated Tuttle greatly. In December, he attended a national conference of the American Public Health Association in Chicago to discuss the disease. This has caused him to become more aggressive instead. This made him gain a lot of enemies and lose his position as a health commissioner.
When he accepted a position as Epidemiologist for the State Board of Health, he took no chances and encouraged the public to follow the Board’s public health guidelines. In a Topeka paper issued on September 11, 1919, Tuttle wrote, “Those who buried their dear ones last winter should certainly lend every effort to prevent others facing a similar loss.” Despite being able to save lives not only in Washington but also in Kansas, where at that time, suffered from a high level of Influenza cases, Tuttle was still pessimistic towards the country’s ability in combatting pandemics. In one report, he wrote, “As a matter of fact, we know about as little with regard to the etiology and epidemiology of influenza today as we knew two years ago. And owing to the inclination of our government (city, county, state, and national) to provide funds for operating only when sickness is present. And to absolutely cut off any support whatsoever for the study of the epidemiology of the disease after an epidemic has passed, renders it very probable that we will meet our next epidemic (probably 20 or 30 years hence) with as little knowledge of the true nature of the disease. As we had when we confronted the epidemic in the fall of 1918.”
Eighty years after Tuttle’s death, a group of researchers wrote a paper that compared the current CDC guidelines as of the guideline developed during the Spanish flu. The paper heavily concentrated on Tuttle’s recommendations, the measures he made and promoted. All of which are still relevant to this day.
One of the co-authors of this study is none other than Dr. Anthony Fauci.