San Francisco And Influenza Essay

913 words - 4 pages

San Francisco and the Spanish Flu

SAN FRANCISCO--No one can deny the amount of patriotism San Franciscans have for their country especially during the Great War. Rallying, Parading, and marching down the streets of San Francisco are where these civilians choose to be, whether they like wearing gauze masks or not. Such undertakings, however, are exactly the kinds of activities a community seeking to protect itself from Spanish Influenza should definitely avoid. With the commotion of World War I many San Franciscans fail to notice the rapid rate at which people are falling victim to the epidemic influenza. Origins at this time are not specifically known although it was dubbed the name, ...view middle of the document...

Military reservations and forts are being quarantined to halt the spread of the influenza epidemic. Agreements cannot be made between local authorities and civilians nor can they accept the safety precautions local authorities are trying to apply.

While newspapers such as The San Francisco Chronicle have explosive front page headlines of the war, the deadly influenza epidemic seems miniscule in comparison. There are far too many articles on insignificant stories of divorces, crimes, and debutantes of San Francisco. Of what was actually mentioned in between the pages of war talk were the repeals over the laws requiring civilians to wear gauze masks. In addition, small columns respected the deaths of prominent lawyers, athletes, librarians, and politicians that became infected or died from the influenza.

There are but only a few explanations given to civilians of northern California as to when, where and why the epidemic started. With this lack of information it is no doubt why the people are so clueless to the severity of this epidemic. What they do know, however, is that they account the reason of this epidemic outbreak on the "little influenza bacillus." Many editorials make light of the ways people could excrete the disease from their bodies. Just about every daily newspaper column publishes anecdotes and remedies for preventing and curing the disease.

Numerous columns in the newspaper cannot even be taken seriously. One article quotes about the influenza that "...it gets you in the head or back--suddenly--and oh, how you suffer!" An advertisement for a Vit-O-Net treatment is published in newspapers encouraging people to receive a free treatment through the "wonderful Electro-Health Device" where their nurses "...have never lost a case of influenza when taken in a reasonable time."...

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