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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: Public calm wavers as death toll from Spanish flu continues to rise

The death toll from the Spanish influenza continued to rise in Spokane, claiming another three lives. (Spokesman-Review archives)
The death toll from the Spanish influenza continued to rise in Spokane, claiming another three lives. (Spokesman-Review archives)

Three new Spanish flu deaths were reported in Spokane – but officials took pains to emphasize that this was still “a comparatively low death rate.”

This would not hold true for long – and in any case, it must have been of little solace to the families of the victims. The most recent victims were a 20-year-old man who died at the Lewis and Clark Sanitarium, a 53-year-old man who died at home, and a 35-year-old woman who died at Sacred Heart Hospital. All died of “pneumonia brought on by influenza.” This bought the total number of deaths to six in Spokane.

The number of cases jumped again, to 631.

The total ban on public gatherings – now commonly referred to as “the quarantine” – was still in effect. The city health officer said “there is no way of even guessing” how long it would last.

From the war beat: Normal life in Spokane was further disrupted by war-related shortages. The state council of defense ordered that Sundays would now be “gas-less Sundays.”

All gas stations would be closed on Sundays and there would be no sale or delivery of petroleum products of any kind.

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