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Tuesday, March 26, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

100 years ago in Spokane: Flu deaths down, influenza pandemic appears finally to be on the wane

UPDATED: Thu., Dec. 13, 2018, 9:57 p.m.

Flu deaths were down dramatically, though the situation in Spokane remained serious. (Spokesman-Review archives)
Flu deaths were down dramatically, though the situation in Spokane remained serious. (Spokesman-Review archives)

For the first time in nearly three months, trends in the data seemed to show that the Spanish flu epidemic was truly waning.

Only two people died of the flu in Spokane over the last 24 hours – down from a high of 14 deaths on the same day a week earlier. In addition, the number of new cases continued to trend downward, to 117 over the past 24 hours. This was well below half of what it had been a week before.

The numbers had been improving for several days, yet the situation remained dangerous. The total number of cases in Spokane from the beginning of the epidemic had finally passed the 10,000 mark. The number of deaths was over 300, but the newspapers had stopped keeping a running count, probably in an attempt to keep panic at bay.

Meanwhile, the situation was worse than ever in some surrounding towns. Colfax reported four deaths in the past week. Priest River, Idaho, reported that 60 percent of its population had been afflicted with flu. In Pasco, the city hall had been converted into a flu hospital.

From the casualty beat: The European war had taken a devastating toll on former students of Washington State College in Pullman.

The registrar reported that 24 men from that college “made the supreme sacrifice for their country.” In all, 700 students or former students had served in the war.

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