Spokane and the Nation: The Influenza Epidemic of 1918-1919

Headline: “Crest of Flu Epidemic Has Been Reached Here”

Source: Spokane Daily Chronicle, November 1, 1918, page 5

Subject: The declining epidemic

Synopsis: Dr. J.B. Anderson, Spokane’s health officer, said that the influenza epidemic has reached its peak in the city. Even though this is his belief, he still cautions people against complacency. He also says that he does not know when the quarantine will be lifted.

Notable Quotation:

• “While he makes no prediction as to when the ban is to be lifted Dr. Anderson promises that it will be removed as soon as is consistent with safety.”

• “‘It is my candid opinion,’ stated Dr. Anderson this morning, ‘that we are right on the crest of this epidemic and ready to drop over on the other side.’”

“Crest of Flu Epidemic Has Been Reached Here”

This Is Belief of Health Officer Anderson – Only 37 New Cases Reported.

            The crest of the influenza epidemic in Spokane has been reached, according to the belief of Dr. J.B. Anderson, city health officer, who, in saying so today, warned the people against relaxing their vigilance against the disease.

            While he makes no prediction as to when the ban is to be lifted Dr. Anderson promises that it will be removed as soon as is consistent with safety. Some classes of business may be permitted to resume before others, depending on the general situation, he stated.

            Up to 11 o’clock today there had been but 37 new cases of influenza reported compared with 63 up to this time yesterday. One case of pneumonia was reported. Up to 4 o’clock yesterday there had been 235 cases reported for the day. Today’s new cases make a total of 3214 since the start. The total number of deaths officially reported up to date are 77.

Right on Crest.

            “It is my candid opinion,” stated Dr. Anderson this morning, “that we are right on the crest of this epidemic and ready to drop over on the other side. I do not mean by this that people should not observe the strictest quarantine or that any part of the quarantine will be lifted, but if the general public will just cooperate with the health department from now on as they have up to the present time, this epidemic will be on the wane in a very few days.”

 As to Quarantine.

            “I haven’t the slightest idea just when the quarantine will be lifted,” said Dr. Anderson. “The thing we want to do is when we get things coming our way to keep them coming. Other cities have lifted the ban too soon and have suffered a setback. Spokane doesn’t want to do anything like that. I am satisfied it will be some time before all the places closed down will be running normal again. The ban, when lifted, may affect a certain class of institutions at one time and another class at another time. This all depends on general conditions when that time comes.”