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Hitler's constant bombardment of Britain has so far been unsuccessful in weakening the stamina of the English people, who show little hysteria despite their sleepless nights, are surprisingly free from war-time epidemic diseases, and display a growing confidence that they will win the war.
This is the opinion of Dr. John E. Gordon, professor of Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology at the Medical School, who has just returned by clipper from England where he was laying the ground work for the establishment of a hospital and public service health unit by Harvard University and the American Red Cross for the study and treatment of communicable diseases under wartime conditions.
Financed partly with a grant from the Harvard Corporation and partly with donations collected by University officials, the new hospital group is a result of an offer made by President Conant to the British a few weeks after the collapse of France.
Hope to Check Epidemics
As suggested by the British Ministry of Health, the hospital, which will be ready for service early this winter, will have little to do with the war-wounded, but will study and attempt to check epidemics. The unit will be staffed with eight doctors from the Medical School and 50 nurses and will be equipped with a 100-bed hut-type of hospital, which will be prefabricated in this country.
Though he declined to make any guesses about the military situation, Dr. Gordon in an interview yesterday was enthusiastic about the British morale, "Whatever questions inevitably arise in the mind as to the limits of endurance of the human nervous system, there is a feeling in the air in England that these are a people who cannot be beaten and will go on forever.
"It was not fear of bombing but the confounded lack of sleep which was so terrible about the German nightly raids," he remarked. The people are unable to go to bed until after the "Jerries" leave, which is frequently at six o'clock in the morning, Dr. Gordon said.
"I think the R.A.F. is doing a grand job. It is my impression that Hitler won't successfully invade England," he said, insisting, however, that he had no inside information upon which to base his opinion.
"I can report a remarkable organization to maintain the essential sanitary services, no apparent restrictions in the food situation, outside of the rationing of bacon and butter, and an excellent health situation."
Owing to the crowding of people into damp bomb shelters, public health services have observed an increase in the number of respiratory diseases and fear a repetition of the influenza epidemic which took such a large toll throughout the world during the last war, Dr. Gordon remarked.
"Many of us fear that the time is ripe for another pandemic siege of influenza" he said, adding that he has great admiration for the U.S. Public Health Service which is responsible for protecting this country from such an epidemic, and he hopes that any increase in influenza can be checked with the help of a serum which is now being developed.
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