Johnny Smith, asssociate professor in the School of History and Sociology, was quoted in the article "Lessons from 1918: Old Pandemic is a Murky Guide for Sports" on May 21, 2020 from the Associated Press.
Smith, whose book War Fever: Boston, Baseball, and America in the Shadow of the Great War, written with Randy Roberts of Purdue University, has become especially relevant in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, spoke to how sports fans could approach the idea of large crowds at games and whether there were parallels to the 1918 influenza pandemic.
“I think a lot of people will hesitate to attend sporting events as spectators until there is a proven vaccine,” Georgia Tech professor of sports history Johnny Smith said.
“I think there are parallels in what we can learn from 1918 in terms of how we respond to a pandemic,” Smith added. “The cities that were hesitant and didn’t impose closure orders as quickly had far more fatalities. I think the lesson we can draw in general from 1918 about how to respond to a pandemic is that closure orders and social distancing is effective.”