Bullock County COVID-19 cases draw comparisons to the Spanish Flu

Bullock County's COVID-19 cases draw comparisons to the Spanish Flu

BULLOCK COUNTY, Ala. (WSFA) - The late baseball great Yogi Berra was known for his “Yogi-isms,” such as “It’s deja vu all over again.” Berra would probably say the same about a quirk in history in Union Springs, something the local newspaper owner came across regarding the COVID pandemic.

Union Springs Herald newspaper owner Johnny Adams made a startling discovery a few nights ago.

“Union Springs has been quarantined,” Adams read from a 1918 newspaper clipping.

While researching the Spanish Flu, he quickly learned the Bullock County sheriff at the time and the county probate judge contracted the flu. The judge died, but the high sheriff survived.

“And it’s almost identical to what happened in 1918,” said Adams.

There are eerie similarities. Bullock County Sheriff Raymond Rodgers tested positive for the COVID virus this week. While Probate Judge James Tatum is clear, one of his employees in the office tested positive as well. Talk about a strange coincidence.

“It really gave me a sense of what possibly would happen again,” said Adams.

“I wasn’t aware of that. I was shocked to find out that happened with the sheriff department and the probate judge. And now it’s happening again,” said Rodgers.

And there is another historical turn in the story. Local newspaper reporter Faye Gaston’s dad’s first wife died while pregnant from the Spanish Flu. Gaston’s father remarried and that’s when Gaston came along.

“And then when I came along and was pregnant, I had the flu and all I could remember was ‘Oh no, my dad’s first wife died from the Spanish Flu,‘” said Gaston, who said her dad never talked about losing his first wife to the flu.

Twists and turns in medical health history in Union Springs.

For Adams, a major part of that local history came alive more than 100 years later.

Rodgers says he is suffering a little “chest cold” but is confident he will be fine.

No word on how the probate office employee is doing.

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