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Galgot devastated lives in the 20th century. It was similar to Covid-19

O P Malik
Filed on April 6, 2020

I am in my 70s. While growing up, my father used to tell me about an epidemic that had hit India around year 1918 - 1919 in the month of kartik (October as per the Indian calendar), winter time in India. It had a devastating impact on people, claiming around five million lives. The disease was called 'galgot' (chocking of the neck or the lungs).
Coincidentally, it was the time when soldiers were returning home after World War 1. The news of people dying of galgot was frequent. There was no medicine available, and people relied mostly on home remedies. People in the villages were asked to have sugarcane and bask in the sun. There were some herbal medicines to take, too. Maximum cleanliness was stressed upon and practised. Some rural households that had mud houses used cow dung to cover their ground.
People suffered for months. It was only towards the end of March when spring arrived and eventually it started getting warm that the disease started abating. We never heard of the disease again, but it left such an indelible mark on the minds of people of that generation that we often heard the stories. Even though a lot of research was done later, it didn't lead to any concrete findings. Everyone just knows the disease as a type of influenza. Penicillin injection was invented in year 1928.
Covid-19 seems to have similarity to that epidemic. Just like galgot, which faded away after March, we might similarly see a gradual decrease in infection rates for this coronavirus soon. If winter comes, can spring be far behind? - O P Malik, Sharjah

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