Influenza in Grand Rapids, 1918

Angelica Engel, history correspondent

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, I took a brief dip into the newspapers of yore to see what was happening in Wood County back in 1918, the year of the Spanish influenza pandemic. Here are a few relevant clippings from the October 17, 1918 edition of the Wood County Reporter.

As we “shelter in place” here in March of 2020, this description of the situation over 100 years ago feels very familiar.

At the time of the 1918 pandemic, World War I raged on. The war contributed greatly to the spread of the flu, because more people moved from country to country than ordinarily would at the time. In our modern day, we are accustomed to jetting here and there, and illness comes with us where we go.

The following is a somewhat graphic description of how to care for a sick person, spoken in the more poetic language of the time.

The paper also included a thorough update on the situation in Rudolph, where the flu had not completely consumed the consciousness, though several families felt the effects.

Stay well and warm wishes.

Clippings from Wood County Reporter, 17 Oct 1918, acquired via archive.

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