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Dear Editor,

American Samoa has a historical legacy on pandemic crises, to reminisce our territory’s memorable experience in its successful effort in preventing the  H1N1 Influenza Virus pandemic of 1918 a.k.a. the Spanish Flu. Not a single case was found among the residents of the territory during the time period of the Spanish Flu pandemic.

The territory’s concerted successful effort in combating the 1918 pandemic must be repeated. And it shall be the responsibility and duty of all the residents of American Samoa to take heed and assist our government leaders in calling for an effective organized community effort in resisting the Coronavirus pandemic virus from touching our shores.

The population of the territory at the time were the only inhabitants of a known Island group in the world not adversely affected by any means with the pandemic virus of 1918. Not one person was infected with the virus due to the collective concerted effort of the Traditional leaders and local people to cooperate and support the U.S. Naval Administration leadership at the time. In the 1918 pandemic, it is believed 50 million to 100 million people around the world died.

As a challenge for the people of the territory, let us take heed and assist our government leaders to repeat a historical achievement in preventing a pandemic virus from affecting us.

The most painful and regrettable human endeavor would be a failure to repeat a successful one. With our hopes and prayers for divine providence that God is our Rock and refuge.

May God Bless our government leaders, may God bless our medical and healthcare workers, and may God Bless the people of American Samoa,

Tuiasina Dr. Salamo Laumoli

Former DOH director