How the 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic Hit US States | News

On March 11, 1918, nearly a year after America’s involvement in World War I, the country reported its first case of a new disease at Camp Funston in Fort Riley, Kansas. This disease, an H1N1 strain of the influenza virus, became known as the 1918 Spanish flu, a misleading nickname for a disease that did not originate or is thought to have originated in Spain.

The movement of war, with thousands of soldiers crossing oceans and borders, has played a primary role in the global spread of the virus. It is estimated that a third of the world’s population was infected with the 1918 flu, with a global death rate of at least 50 million people, more than the military and civilian casualties of the war itself.

And while the war itself was not fought on American soil, it contributed to the spread of the virus from state to state. Including Camp Funston, 24 of 36 major Army training camps across the United States, housing between 25,000 and 55,000 soldiers, experienced outbreaks of flu, sickening troops and in the most spilling communities where these camps resided.

An estimated 675,000 Americans died during the 1918 flu pandemic, and until September 2021, when Covid-19 deaths exceeded that number, it was the deadliest pandemic in American history in terms of sums of mortality. While it is natural to want to compare the severity of these two diseases, especially in the context of overall deaths, it is important to do so with caution. The 1918 flu killed an estimated 1 in 150 Americans; Covid-19 kills 1,500 Americans, according to the most recent total death data from Johns Hopkins University.

There are, however, undeniable parallels between Covid-19 and the 1918 flu, in both their trajectories and America’s response. Waves of disease, shortages of health care personnel, bans on public gatherings, trade shutdowns and mask mandates (and resistance), are all echoes of the 1918 pandemic that we have heard and experienced a century later.

To understand the impact of the 1918 flu in America, Stacker cited National Vital Statistics System mortality data between 1910 and 1925, digitized by the National Bureau of Economic Research, to examine how states were affected by the pandemic. of the Spanish flu of 1918.

Our chart shows how flu mortality has increased due to the prominence of the Spanish flu. Since mortality data does not differentiate between influenza and Spanish flu deaths, the average number of influenza deaths before 1918 provides a basic comparison of how the Spanish flu affected. hit every state.

When available, averages from 1910-17 are used, but due to inconsistencies in annual data between states, influenza deaths in 1918-20 are compared to a shorter period in some states and are noted as such. Historical flu mortality data was available for 30 states.

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Edward K. Thompson