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When Fresno Police Enforced Masks - Historian Ethan Kytle On Fresno's Last Pandemic

Clippings from the Fresno Morning Republican chronicle the Spanish Flu as it swept through the city a hundred years ago. Historian Ethan Kytle is reviewing those stories to explain what we can learn from that pandemic.

Fresno State history professor Ethan Kytle has been reviewing news reports about a pandemic, but not this one. He’s been reading the Fresno Morning Republican. That’s the newspaper that covered the Spanish Flu in 1918. As we experience the COVID-19 pandemic in real time, Kytle has been writing “Dispatches from Fresno,” as a side-by-side comparison of how the city responded to the Spanish Flu. 

Credit Courtesy of Ethan Kytle
Ethan Kytle is a professor and chair of the History Department at Fresno State.

Listen to the interview above to hear Kytle explain what we can learn from the city’s efforts back then to “flatten the curve.” In addition to his weekly dispatches, Kytle also published an op-ed in the Fresno Bee summarizing conclusions from his research so far. 

Laura Tsutsui was a reporter and producer for Valley Public Radio. She joined the station in 2017 as a news intern, and later worked as a production assistant and weekend host. Laura covered local issues ranging from politics to housing, and produced the weekly news program Valley Edition. She left the station in November 2020.
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