Wave Two–From 2020 To 1918: October 5

Speed Now And Today, October 5, 2020 The speed is incomprehensible. From nowhere, the virus appears in one, then five, then twenty. In a small space, person to person, contact to contact, the virus spreads in a matter of minutes and shows signs in a matter of hours. One day you see someone you know, the next day you see them behind glass, mask on, isolated and removed. Then they start, the … [Read more...]

Learning From The 1918 Influenza Pandemic: Day 55

Eagle River, Colorado Next time you're by a river, take a minute to stand and watch. Watch closely. The current has currents. Water is on top of water with different depths, bottoms, and barriers. The grade, the banks, the wind, each affects the shape and leaves a mark. There's a lot going on in every river. So, take a minute. Stand. Watch. Closely. There's a lot going on in the River of … [Read more...]

Learning From the 1918 Influenza Pandemic: Day 53

The French Lick Hotel, 1918 Blurred, mixed, and ragged. Most of the time you're dealing with lesser evils and shifting boundaries. Sound familiar? Then you're right at home with influenza on Day 53, October 30, 1918. There are places where things are getting worse. The leading newspaper in Idaho informs readers that "stricter rules may be needed to curb influenza." Nearby, the health … [Read more...]

Learning From The 1918 Influenza Pandemic: Day 48

You get stuck. The things you see around you; the tilt and trend down to now and your memory of the past weeks; the things you're looking to see in the day, days, and week after today; those fixed events already set or expected several weeks or a few months ahead. You're somewhere between all of these states of time, states of being, and states of mind. With so much floating and swirling, you feel … [Read more...]

Learning From The 1918 Influenza Pandemic: Day 46

Camp Custer, October 1918 The future is like the sun. Stare at it and your eyes go bad. Now well into the sixth week, Day 46, and Americans are looking forward, sizing up the shapes and objects ahead. They hope to see an edge sharpen to an end and a line drawn for a beginning. But it's hard to really see much. The only thing visible is a blinding light. And looking longer doesn't help. In … [Read more...]

Learning From The 1918 Influenza Pandemic: Day 42

Dr. White's workplace When can it become just too much? One of the too-much times can be when a bad thing you didn't expect joins the bad thing you're already coping with. And the more sudden, the more jolting the second bad thing is...well, it can be very hard to absorb. That's the start of Day 42 in the home called Place. He is Homer. She is Bertha. They're the Places, Mr and Mrs … [Read more...]

Learning From The 1918 Influenza Pandemic: Day 35

Young influenza patients in an Oklahoma City Hospital, 1918 Is it normal? Hell no. Is it abnormal? Way beyond that. Well, then, what is it? I don't really know other than to say it's massive. Truer words were never spoken, written, thought, or felt. Day 35, October 12, 1918. You can't really know. That's the reality in Philadelphia when 837 people die today. Or when the city of … [Read more...]

Learning From The 1918 Influenza Pandemic: Day 28

Seattle Mayor Ole Hanson, 1918 Change is a constant but not all constants change overnight. Only some surge, or plunge, to that level. Today, on Day 28, overnight is now and lasts for a full twenty-four hours on October 5, 1918. Overnight, a ban on all indoor public gatherings begins in Seattle, Washington. Mayor Ole Hanson declares that the only public gatherings allowed will be those … [Read more...]

Learning From The 1918 Influenza Pandemic: Day 26

Telegraph machine, a better Twitter This guy has the perfect name for Day 26, that's for sure. Dr. Benjamin Franklin Royer sits in his office in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The sign on his desk reads: "Pennsylvania State Health Commissioner." During a fast-flowing 26th Day of influenza, Dr. Royer directs his assistant to type a message. In a few minutes the message will be converted into a … [Read more...]

Learning From the 1918 Influenza Pandemic: Day 23

Hospital at Fort Benjamin Harrison, outside Indianapolis, Indiana, 1918 A young nurse leans over a sick soldier, wipes his forehead, and gives him a drink of water. She smiles and speaks softly. He opens his eyes, the color of his face is pale but not blue. Not yet, thank heaven. She moves away and leans over the next soldier on a cot, and the next, and the next. Twenty-five in all. This is Day … [Read more...]

Learning From The 1918 Influenza Pandemic: Day 21

Take a quick breath to take stock. Three weeks ago. Day 1, influenza begins at Fort Devens, Massachusetts. It's back after an outbreak some three months before, in the spring, a seasonal thing. Now, on Day 21, Saturday, September 28, 1918... ...a helluva day. At 1am this morning Major Ernest Gibson and his military comrades were ordered into line and told to start marching from their … [Read more...]

Learning From The 1918 Influenza Pandemic: Day 20

Looking north, across the Ohio River, from Newport, Kentucky, early 20th century He's "one of the most robust men in Newport, Kentucky," his hometown on the Ohio. That's the general view of Joseph Schulkin. Yesterday, he got influenza. Today, he's dead. The water flowing by when he became ill is now, at his death, a few miles closer to joining the Mississippi at Cairo, Illinois. The river rolls … [Read more...]

Learning From The 1918 Influenza Pandemic: Day 18

A Jackie Band near Winnekta, Illinois, 1918 News large and important. Printed in newspapers, transcribed on telegrams, written in letters. Read by thousands, read by dozens, read by one. Word is spreading about life in a world that is—like it or not, choose it or not, know it or not—abruptly new. Day 18, September 25, 1918. For the thousands... A leading newspaper in Charlotte, North … [Read more...]

Learning From The 1918 Influenza Pandemic: Day 13

Lt. Hugh Coughlin of Escanaba, Michigan It was a day of youth. 21-year old Hugh Coughlin is with his parents at their home in Escanaba, Michigan. His mother touches his forehead. He's hot with fever. His father hears him cough. A deep and rattling thickness. Mom and Dad together exchange a worried look at seeing their son. He suffers in pain. Of course, they're thrilled to have him home; the … [Read more...]

Learning From The 1918 Influenza Pandemic: Day 7

The past has a voice. https://youtu.be/7k20VFZeLKY Having received the list of influenza symptoms from the US Surgeon General, more newspaper editors approve the publishing of articles about the illness. The Philadephia Evening Bulletin reports: "Spanish Influenza Here" while smaller-town publications like the Daily Star in Marion, Ohio describe how illness has appeared in various East … [Read more...]