When the Plague Hit Spokane,  By Kenneth Knoll

September 5. The first case of the flu reported in Boston.

October 1, the Spokane City Health Department declared that some cases might be in Spokane but saw no need for alarm. The Department recommended covering the mouth and nose while sneezing and using antiseptic sprays and gargles to prevent infection.

October 1, 72,327 cases were reported in Army camps, 20,000 of them occurring in the previous 48 hours. 

October 1, Boston reported 171 deaths from influenza. Philadelphia had 446 new cases and Helena, Montana, 100.

October 3, there were more than 100,000 cases with over 2,000 deaths in members of the Armed Forces. By the next day, the total number of cases stood at 137,975.

October 3, cases had been reported in 42 states.

October 4, The University of Washington in Seattle reported 820 cases among its students with one death. 

October 5, Chicago had 916 new cases and 78 deaths. Philadelphia had 788 cases and 171 deaths. 

Officials in Washington, D.C., closed all places of public assembly such as churches, theaters, and dance halls. Seattle did the same and police declared that spitting in the streets would be cause for arrest. 

October 7, Washington state was added to the list of states having influenza in epidemic proportions.

1918 FLU PANDEMIC, http://www.history.com/topics/1918-flu-pandemic

"The influenza or flu pandemic of 1918 to 1919, the deadliest in modern history, infected an estimated 500 million people worldwide–about one-third of the planet’s population at the time–and killed an estimated 20 million to 50 million victims. More than 25 percent of the U.S. population became sick, and some 675,000 Americans died during the pandemic. The 1918 flu was first observed in Europe, the U.S. and parts of Asia before swiftly spreading around the world. Surprisingly, many flu victims were young, otherwise healthy adults. At the time, there were no effective drugs or vaccines to treat this killer flu strain or prevent its spread. In the U.S., citizens were ordered to wear masks, and schools, theaters and other public places were shuttered. Researchers later discovered what made the 1918 pandemic so deadly: In many victims, the influenza virus had invaded their lungs and caused pneumonia."

The 1918-19 flue hit our families very hard in Tekoa, WA, a small farming community in Eastern Washington State. The Denoo and Whitehead sides of my family lost family members  to the pandemic leaving five orphaned children each. My grandparents took in those children and raised them to adulthood.

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Comment by Plinius on October 20, 2014 at 2:35am

Thanks for the video, Sentient, a very special story! And I didn't know there was a pandemic in 68, but I do remember a very severe flu then.

Comment by Joan Denoo on October 19, 2014 at 9:07pm

Daniel, this is a remarkable video. The stories I heard from my family told of their struggle, however, I didn't realize the amount of suffering that went on worldwide. 

I also didn't realize how much time and effort it took to sequence it. There are some real heros in this story. 

Comment by Randall Smith on October 16, 2014 at 6:55am

Seems like ancient history, but come to think of it, my parents were both born in 1918, and my father is still alive. As far as I know, no one in my family ever died from the infuenza.

Comment by Michael Penn on October 15, 2014 at 7:43pm

Thanks, Joan. What I think is happening  here is that scientists have long had ideas about computers and computer concepts. Computers have helped them form many models of things and those things mostly seem to fit. The advent of smart genes and computerized medicine borders on the computer itself being a model for something. These new concepts will work in similar ways as to how a computer works. This just all seems to fit as computer parts get smaller and smaller and more intricate.

In the beginning computer programs showed scientists how to operate on the heart. Today the computer program is designing the heart or even becoming the heart. This is what is happening with viruses, cancers, and other health care treatments. Star Trek medicine is almost here.

Comment by Regina Goodwin on October 15, 2014 at 7:30pm

Interesting and very informative.

Comment by Joan Denoo on October 15, 2014 at 7:27pm

Mike, interesting concept. 

Comment by Michael Penn on October 15, 2014 at 7:17pm

Worldwide influenza has killed more people than those killed in all of our known wars combined. It can still be a big killer today. Will Ebola be as bad? It might depend on getting a way of fast detection set up.

I have noticed lately that disease in general is treated today in similar fashion as in treating a computer virus. This may be a wise decision. Some cancers are injected with a "smart gene" that starts working on the cancer right away. The smart gene works with the immune system. Modification and even cure may result. It is similar in a computer where the program tries to modify or "cure" the virus. Keep in mind that a computer virus is just bad code or programming, illness in the human body might be the same thing. Just bad code

Comment by Joan Denoo on October 15, 2014 at 4:50pm

Yes, Pat, nature does have a way of self-adjusting. I loathe the thought of the suffering that will take place in the process of population control of this sort. 

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