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How Americans celebrated their holidays during the last pandemic



More than a century ago, when Americans celebrated Christmas during the last pandemic, this moment shares the same concerns as modern people, including considering whether to party with relatives and risk a fatal infection.

But in 1918, just after World War I, many soldiers were taken home for vacation and to visit their families. Since the influence of the federal government is not as good as it is today, and decades after the advent of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 1946, various states and local municipalities have implemented various restrictive measures across the country.

In November last year, the second wave of the so-called Spanish flu surged in the United States, but the pandemic has not yet ended, and the second wave will reach American cities in the second year. Nonetheless, Smithsonian Magazine stated that the armistice anniversary on November 1

1 is worth celebrating-some people complained that the church was closed and the auditorium remained open.

In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the immigrant populations of Germany and Norway were in a tacit understanding. Residents complained that the church was closed during Advent, and special exceptions during the Christmas period allowed the church to be held.

In the Ohio State Daily on December 21, 1918, the state’s commissioner for health affairs warned people to “beware of mistletoe” and recommended “free vacations” for flu fighters. He also warned against attending parties or gatherings, as this might bring the infection home.

The 39th Regiment crossed the streets of Seattle, Washington on its way to France. Everyone wore a mask made by the Seattle branch of the American Red Cross in 1918.
The 39th Regiment crossed the streets of Seattle, Washington on its way to France. Everyone wore a mask made by the Seattle branch of the American Red Cross in 1918.
Getty Images

The commissioner said: “This year, you will stick to your own home, instead of doing Christmas visits every year, holding family gatherings and gatherings to express the best love for your father and mother, brothers, sisters and the rest of the time.” Time. “Breaching the celebration is everything we love to do… We still have to not do it. This makes me sad.”

The Influenza Encyclopedia was edited by the historian Howard Markel and produced by the University of Michigan Medical History Center. It edited a century-old newspaper clipping and provided people with insights into American life at the time.

According to the “Omaha Daily Bee” report issued on December 24, 1918, on Christmas Eve, the Nebraska State Health Commission classified Spanish influenza as a “quarantine disease.” In Omaha, at least 500 houses are quarantined, and anyone living in a house where there is even a case of flu is not allowed to go out “until four days after the fever drops.”

The newspaper wrote: “Big blue cards are now being printed to be pasted on houses to replace the current’voluntary’ cards that only indicate danger.” “If the quarantine order is violated, a fine of 15 to 100 US dollars will be imposed.

The population of the country is much smaller than it is now. In 1918, the population of the United States was only 103.2 million, while today’s population is approximately 328.2 million. The Spanish flu was estimated to kill 675,000 people in the United States before the pandemic finally subsided in 1919. It killed approximately 50 million people worldwide, when nearly one-third of the world’s population was infected.

“Since there is no vaccine to prevent influenza infection and no antibiotics to treat secondary bacterial infections that may be related to influenza infection, global control efforts are limited to non-pharmacological interventions, such as isolation, isolation, personal hygiene, and disinfection. The agent and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that the limitations of public gatherings are uneven.

During this time, many American families may lose a child due to diphtheria or watch a loved one suffer from polio. Therefore, more people are generally willing to follow the instructions of the public health department. Officials of these departments sometimes wear badges and Have the power of the police. According to a report in Smithsonian Magazine, under certain circumstances, officials have the right to forcibly isolate you or place you in an isolation station on the island.

During World War I, more than 116,000 Americans lost their lives, many of whom died of influenza. But as people returned from European battlefields and other military bases, the country generally felt ecstatic after fighting for the victory of democratic despotism.

During the Spanish flu pandemic in 1918, the flu ward of Walter Reid Hospital in Washington, DC. The photo was taken by Harris and Ewing in 1918. The image was taken in 1918.
During the Spanish flu pandemic in 1918, the flu ward of Walter Reid Hospital in Washington, DC. The photo was taken by Harris and Ewing in 1918. The image was taken in 1918.
Alami Stock Photos

In the “Boston Globe” published on December 12, 1918, the Boston Department of Health warned people not to meet on holidays because of the surge in cases after Victory Day and Thanksgiving.

Even people in San Francisco, known for its worst outbreak and strictest restrictions, flocked to the streets to celebrate the November 11 armistice agreement, as the city-wide full-scale mask mission to curb the spread is coming to an end. When cases began to surge again during the Christmas season, city officials wanted to perform their tasks, but people refused.

Despite the huge economic losses, companies are eager to anticipate the Christmas shopping boom, although the atmosphere and restrictions of activities vary from place to place.

For example, the Spokesperson’s Review published in Spokane, Washington on December 20, 1918 warned that the City Health Department would send an inspector to take the oath of office in the city, but the store would pay to ensure that shoppers would not crowd the aisles. . In contrast, the Salt Lake Tribune was published on December 21, 1918. The book encouraged shoppers to patronize stores after practicing “thrift and economy” practices in the past year.

“In this season of the year, all of us are capable of providing some connections. God made us a nation and made us prosperous. During the holiday season, we don’t need to pinch, scratch and lock our wallets and hearts. But let us Don’t forget that the Red Cross needs funds to carry out its outstanding work.”

Although diary entries show that people still mourn the loss of traditional celebrations, they are more likely not to miss close relatives, because this is more common than living close to or in the same family – compared to today. More and more Americans live far away from their hometowns.


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