I've been asked questions about the 1918 Spanish Influenza pandemic, so I'll interrupt Olga Plog's trip for a day. We'll return to Olga's road trip tomorrow with five new posts from her next stop.
In the fall of 1918, against the backdrop of the final bloody months of the Great War, the second wave of the influenza pandemic hit Hood River hard. Schools were closed from October 22 to November 18, public gatherings like dances and movies were halted, and the newspapers carried instructions for how to make your own masks (which were being required by health authorities in cities like San Francisco). Sunday church services were being held under "open air" in the orchards to get around the ban on assemblies.
By late November, when local officials reported cases were on the decrease, there had been 275 cases with 14 deaths in Hood River County, which had a population of about 8000. I don't believe those statistics included soldiers from Hood River who died outside the county. For example, Albert Krieg Jr. died of influenza at Fort McDowell, California in October. His funeral had to be private because of the ban on public gatherings.
Cottage Hospital on Oak Street was operating with volunteers filling in for nurses who had become ill themselves.
A US Public Health Service bulletin said they thought the disease might be caused by a bacillus, and gave the advice, "Cover up each cough and sneeze, if you don't you'll spread disease." While the scientific understanding of the threat was limited, the public health response had many similarities to modern epidemic response: they instituted measures to break the chain of disease transmission though improved hygiene as well as restrictions on social interactions.
Category: [Downtown Hood River]
Today, we know that viruses can spread quickly around the world through air travel. It leaves me wondering how the 1918 flu pandemic got spread around and how quickly it spread. Maybe by train travel? Seems like it would have been a much slower transmission rate and you would have a better chance to prepare if you understood the basics of transmission.
kmb on 23rd March 2020 @ 6:55pm
Reading through the minutes of the local pioneer association.....there was no January 1919 meeting because of influenza ban.
L.E. on 23rd March 2020 @ 9:33pm
Soldiers brought this pandemic across the oceans. It traveled by ship and train. It took days instead of hours to cross the ocean, but that's still a pretty effective way to spread a virus worldwide.
ArthurB on 23rd March 2020 @ 11:17pm