Transcript of a newspaper article held in the British Library, transcribed from with many parallels to today’s Covid comments: Western Times – Friday 24 November 1939


Thoughtless Parents Blamed at Okehampton 


Thoughtless parents were criticised by the Borough Medical Officer oi Health (Dr. E. D. Price) when reporting Okehampton Town Council on Monday that “through the behaviour of a small minority ” an epidemic of measles and German measles in the town had become almost uncontrollable. He revealed that the epidemic started a few weeks ago, and immediate steps were taken to limit its spread. “I even went so far,” he said, “as to circularise all the parents with advice what to do if they suspected their children of having measles.” But entirely contrary to that advice a number of parents sent their children to school in the early stages of the disease, and, in four instances, mothers brought children back after they had  been excluded from school with the rash on them. 


“In consequence the epidemic is out of hand, and I am afraid it will spread far and wide. This is due to the behaviour of a small minority who won’t think about other people.” 

Replying to the Mayor (Ald. W. B. Chamings), Dr. Price said he considered carefully whether the schools should be closed, and came to the conclusion that now the epidemic had gained a hold the children would be better at school in the warm than running about the streets  in the rain and cold.