The Iron Lady and the Coronavirus Age

Like Thatcher, we’ll need to achieve much out of the ordinary. Love of country is the place to start.

I’ve been trying to get a sense of the economic effects of the 1918 flu pandemic, which killed an estimated 675,000 Americans. Government record-keeping in those days wasn’t what it is now; there’s not much data. You see references in academic papers to factories closed, businesses shuttered. You see newspaper pictures of people in masks and clippings about people dying in hallways. Yet what followed was the Roaring ’20s—expansive, even ecstatic economic growth.

Conditions were different. The shutdowns then weren’t national...