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Fact Check: Did Kathleen O’Mara Actually Write A Pandemic Poem In 1919?

Was the pandemic poem starting with "and the people stayed home" written by Kathleen O’Mara in 1919 during the Spanish Flu pandemic? Here is a fact check.

Kathleen O’Mara

Claim: A pandemic poem that was written by Kathleen O’Mara back in 1919 starting with the phrase "and the people stayed home" is currently going viral. 

What is the rumour about?

The rumour is about a poem which goes like "And people stayed at home", the poem is said to be written by Kathleen O'Mara in 1919 during the Spanish Flu. The poem is being shared currently since the world is facing another pandemic currently. 

kathleen O'Mara, kathleen O'Mara poem, 1969 by kathleen O'Mara, and the people stayed home poem, Kitty O'Meara

Image courtesy: Adolf Gomez/ Reddit

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Who started the rumour?

  • Social media forwards
  • Many posts were found on the web recreating the original poem and many poems were credited to Kathleen O'Mara. However, some stated that the poem was written in 1919 while the others stated that it was written in 1869. 

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Google Trends 

After an analysis of the Google Trends with respect to Kathleen O'Mara's poem, one can see that the people have been hugely interested to know whether she wrote a pandemic poem back in 1919. The maximum number of searches have been done on April 7, 2020. 

kathleen O'Mara, kathleen O'Mara poem, 1969 by kathleen O'Mara, and the people stayed home poem, Kitty O'Meara

Image courtesy: Google Trends 

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Rating: False due to misattribution

Republic World did a fact check on Kathleen O'Mara's poem rumour

  • Republic World did a fact check on Kathleen O'Mara's poem and found the claims to be misattributed. 
  • Kathleen O'Meara was actually an Irish-French writer and biographer who wrote novels with Catholic themes, on social reform issues, even some fictional work. She was born in 1839 and died in 1888. 
  • Since the past two months, the poem which begins with “And the people stayed home,” was actually published on March 16, 2020, by writer Catherine O’Meara aka Kitty O'Meara. She posted her poem on a website called "The daily round."
  • So, the claims that the poem was written by someone in 1919, while some stating that it was written in 1869 while being reprinted during Spanish Flu is wrong. First of all, the Spanish Flu pandemic occurred in 1918 and not in 1919.
  • An article that was published on March 19, 2020, in a publication stated that "Kitty O’Meara is the poet laureate of the pandemic". The poem has since then become the means to transmit and indicate the unity in solidarity throughout the world, with a sense of silver lining during the pandemic as well. 
  • Here is the video form of the poem that was mentioned in the publication. 

Here is one of the font formats one may have come across through the web, citing Kitty O'Meara as the author of the poem. 

kathleen O'Mara, kathleen O'Mara poem, 1969 by kathleen O'Mara, and the people stayed home poem, Kitty O'Meara

Image courtesy: Instagram

Is there any rumour you want Republic World to do a fact check on? Do you have facts about a rumour? Share your pictures or videos with Republic World on contact@republicworld.com or comment on this story itself. 

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