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.