Spanish Flu Deja Vu

Waiting to be treated for the Spanish flu in 1918 in Las Vegas, NM.

In 1918 people all over the world were dying of a new and lethal form of influenza. Of all the interesting facts pertaining to that worldwide health crisis was the origin of its name. That flu outbreak didn’t start in Spain but during World War I it was the only country with a free press that was able to report on the global devastation. The first case of the 1918 influenza in the United States was traced to a military base in Kansas.

No One Was Spared

 Las Vegas, New Mexico and the surrounding areas were impacted greatly from the wrath of the epidemic. The deadly disease gripped the nation and world. The epidemic killed approximately 20 million people worldwide and 548,000 in the U.S . The first inkling that something was terribly wrong was when parents began to take their children out of school. They feared contagion and felt it best if the entire family stayed at home. Does that scenario sound familiar now?

Carrying for the Dead

Burying the dead in the dead of winter.

There were no funerals for fear of catching the disease. Besides, there were too many people dying and not enough people to perform any services. Men with cloths around their faces came to the each house where someone had died. They put the bodies in plain wood coffins and carried them off in horse-drawn wagons. The newspapers printed news of the devastation in all parts of the nation. Finally, the illness ran its course. People said the snow would kill the germs. The epidemic finally ended and things went back to normal. We can only hope that will be the case in 2021.

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