It's Basic History 101
In the 1800s and 1900s, many people in the United States lived in poverty and filth. In small, overcrowded, dark houses with rats, roaches, mosquitoes, and other vermin. Streets were filled with sewage and garbage and dead animals---often as much as two to three feet deep in places like New York City. Food and drinking water were diseased.
People were malnourished. They didn't have clean running water and flush toilets. When they became sick, they ended up in hospitals that were also dirty and unsanitary, lacking in basic hygiene such as hand washing and instrument sterilization and isolating the sick.
Many worked long hours in dirty, unsafe conditions, without fresh air, exercise, and rest. Even children labored to the point of illness and sometimes death. Epidemics were rampant, with millions dying from diseases like typhoid fever, cholera, dysentery, diphtheria, pertussis, scarlet fever, measles, yellow fever, tuberculosis, puerperal fever, and smallpox. Mortality was high, and life expectancy was low.
This is the forgotten history. This is what was responsible for the spread of disease. This is the truth.
Then came the Sanitation Revolution. Everything changed. Sewage and waste was properly disposed of. Clean drinking water was mandated. Food was inspected and handled properly so it was no longer contaminated. Milk was pasteurized. Labor laws were passed to protect workers. Basic hygiene was implemented. In many countries, life became cleaner, safer, and better.
Another piece of the forgotten history is the lost remedies. Vitamins, cinnamon, garlic, echinacea, jicama, fresh juice, apple cider vinegar, cod liver oil, silver, and other natural supplements were used to treat infectious diseases. And guess what? They worked very well.
The result? By 1940, deaths from measles, scarlet fever, pertussis, and diphtheria were practically a thing of the past. Deaths from scarlet fever---a bigger killer---were almost unheard of by the early 1900s, even before antibiotics were used to treat it. Tuberculosis, pneumonia, flu ... same thing. When they surfaced, they were much milder. Mortality was rare. That's a fact.
And this is important. This happened during a time when there was an almost zero vaccination rate.
More recently New York City has had an outbreak in measles this last year in which an author from The Daily Beast blames the kids who are unvaccinated for causing this outbreak. NYC has a 90%+ vaccination rate - so a few unvaccinated are to blame for EVERY outbreak that comes along? If the DailyBeast.com writer, Russel Sanders, would bother to do his research rather than parrot the party line, he would have discovered there is a **small** uptick in measles incidence every 4-5 years, REGARDLESS of vaccination rate. This mainstream fear mongering is, once again, nonsense. And as you can see from the above chart most of these diseases were on the decline despite vaccines taking the credit over sanitation, nutrition, and antibiotics.