18 March 2021

Dear Parents and Students,

Lessons from history can stop us from making the same old mistakes again.

The Spanish flu pandemic occurred from 1918 to 1920, causing about a quarter of the world's population at the time to be infected and about 20-50 million deaths. When the world's first pandemic began, two cities in the United States took completely different measures for one event. Philadelphia continued to go ahead with the event as planned, while St. Louis decided to cancel it. As a result, more than 10,000 people died from the disease in Philadelphia a month later, while the death toll in St. Louis was less than 700. This is empirical proof that social distancing is an effective method for dealing with infectious diseases. Moreover, it was discovered that treating patients one by one was not enough to treat a large number of patients. The government must mobilize all resources to fight the epidemic like a war, and take all necessary measures to isolate symptomatic patients and distinguish mild symptoms from severe ones. After treatment and restricting the movement of people, the epidemic slowly subsided. An analysis by economists at Princeton University found the cities with strict measures to fight the epidemic recovered faster after the pandemic in those days. At that time, there was no consistent analysis of how the flu disappeared. It might be the adaptation of the human body and the existence of antibodies. The recovered people produced antibodies, which blocked transmission at that time, and with the help of medical treatment, in 1928 the world’s first antibiotic was introduced. After this discovery, the first flu vaccine was put into public use in the 1940s, slowing down infectious diseases.

Since the outbreak of the new coronavirus disease in 2019, the cumulative number of confirmed cases is approximately 120 million, and the cumulative number of deaths is at least 2.6 million. The mortality rate is far less than that of the Spanish flu, but the scope and extent of its impact is no less than that of a century ago. Nowadays, technology is far more advanced than in the past. In addition to strict measures to cope with the epidemic, measures such as maintaining social distancing, wearing masks, hand hygiene, cooperating with community or mandatory testing, and more importantly, letting the masses produce antibodies are the best ways to combat the virus. Many vaccination programs have also begun in many counties. Now 4.1% of people in the world have been vaccinated. I will take the vaccination this week as well. This is my responsibility of being a citizen and an educator to protect the city. Everyone must actively research information and understand the advantages and weaknesses of each vaccine in order to choose a most suitable vaccination for themselves. When a large number of people develop antibodies through vaccinations, we may have an opportunity to resume normal life in the foreseeable future.

Finally, I would like to congratulate Angel Nam of S3 and Meko Tang of S5 for winning the "Outstanding Junior Secondary School Student Award" and "Outstanding Senior Secondary School Student Award" in the "Kowloon City District Outstanding Student Campaign 2020-2021". I am grateful to the students for their dedication to be affirmed. I am also convinced that we have many more students with a variety of potential who can continue to shine on the platform of Pooi To. We are proud of you.

Best regards,
Constance Cheung

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33)