1918 Spanish Flu • In the United States alone, 675,000 people died in the year 1918 alone from the so-called Spanish Flu. • Researchers today argue that the Spanish Flu was actually bird flu.
As America prepared for war, a soldier at an Army fort in Kansas reported to the base hospital with flu-like symptoms. • There, he was diagnosed as having a strain of flu that was called Spanish Influenza (since it was erroneously believed the strain had originated in Spain).
Pandemic • The 1918 strain of flu created not just an epidemic -- but a global pandemic causing 25,000,000 deaths.
History of Spanish Flu in GA • October 1 Augusta's Camp Hancock experienced an outbreak of the Spanish influenza then sweeping the nation. • On the previous day only two soldiers had been in the infirmary. On this day, 716 showed up with flu-like symptoms--and it would get worse.
History of Spanish Flu in GA • October 2 The Spanish influenza epidemic of 1918-19 hits Georgia. • At Camp Gordon near Atlanta, the second day of the outbreak finds 138 soldiers with the deadly flu, ten of whom had already died of pneumonia.
History of Spanish Flu in GA • October 5 Four days after the initial breakout of two cases of Spanish influenza, Augusta's Camp Hancock reported 3000 cases of flu. • Already, 52 soldiers had died of the disease. Furthermore, the epidemic had now spread off base with 47 cases reported in the Augusta area.
History of Spanish Flu in GA • October 7 Acting upon a recommendation from the U.S. Public Health Service, the Atlanta City Council declared all public gathering places closed for two months as a precautionary measure against the epidemic of Spanish influenza sweeping the nation.
History of Spanish Flu in GA • What would this have meant in 1918? • What would this mean today?
History of Spanish Flu in GA • This ban included schools, libraries, churches, and theaters. • Street cars were directed to keep all windows open -- except in rain. • Today, this would include shopping malls, public transportation, and centers of entertainment.
History of Spanish Flu in GA • In a precautionary move, the University of Georgia announced it was indefinitely suspending classes. • Back in Augusta, where the epidemic was most active, military officials on this day ordered soldiers to sleep under the stars, and by now everyone was wearing gauze masks during the day. • No one was allowed on base except close relatives, and soldiers were restricted from going to Atlanta without a special pass.
History of Spanish Flu in GA October 8 W.H. White, Jr., president of the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, urged landlords not to evict those infected with Spanish influenza, saying they had no authority to do so and added that any such evictions be reported to his office.
History of Spanish Flu in GA • That same day, all Fulton County school children reported to class, got their books and some final instructions, then were sent home for the duration of the public gathering ban announced the previous day.
History of Spanish Flu in GA • October 9 Precautionary measures against the spread of Spanish influenza in Atlanta seemed to be working as few new cases were reported. Meanwhile, the flu epidemic continued to spread through the country.
History of Spanish Flu in GA • October 10 Atlanta remained relatively healthy as only 105 new cases of Spanish influenza were reported, with only eight deaths in the past week. These numbers were far fewer than those in other East Coast cities of similar size.
History of Spanish Flu in GA • October 11 Spanish influenza cases remained relatively low in Atlanta, while the University of Georgia announced classes would resume October 21. • Classes had been suspended October 7 as a precaution against the Spanish flu epidemic.
History of Spanish Flu in GA • October 15 The Spanish influenza epidemic sweeping the nation hit Macon, with 250 new cases reported in the previous 48 hours.
History of Spanish Flu in GA • A new preventative measure also appeared on the streets of Macon -- "flu masks", which basically were cloth masks with small eye, nose, and mouth holes.
History of Spanish Flu in GA • October 17 Medical authorities reported 209 new cases of Spanish influenza in Atlanta, still far less than most comparable cities. By now the flu had appeared in every state but was deadliest along the eastern seaboard. • Hardest hit was Cartersville, with almost 1000 new cases on this day.
History of Spanish Flu in GA • November 5 Fulton County public schools were re-opened after having been closed to help prevent the spread of Spanish influenza.
History of Spanish Flu in GA • With "only" 750 deaths, Atlanta would get off lightly from a worldwide epidemic that would kill 675,000Americans--more deaths than resulted from World Wars I and II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War combined. • Globally, 40 million people died in just 18 months.
What if this happened today? • What if you arrived at school today and were told to go straight home for an indefinite amount of time? • How would you feel? Would your family be prepared? • How would you pass the time? For a week? Three weeks? Three months?