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New Jersey Commissioner of Health Judith M. Persichilli

Persichilli says her grandmother was victim of 1918 flu

Health Commissioner says social distancing would have saved her life

By David Wildstein, April 04 2020 3:37 pm

Commissioner of Health Judy Persichilli revealed that her grandmother, a New Brunswick resident, died in the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic that infected 500 million people across the world.

She told the story to demonstrate the importance of social distancing as the best way to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

“The same thing that would have saved her life is what we’re asking everyone to do today,” Persichilli said. “That’s what stopped that pandemic from claiming more lives than it actually did.”

Persichilli’s grandmother, Amelia Mella, died in July, 1918 at age 36.

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