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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago: Reports of Spanish flu on East Coast reach Spokane

A wire story in The Spokesman-Review on Sept. 18, 1918 reported that a malady called Spanish influenza was sweeping three U.S. army camps in Massachusetts, Virginia and New York. (Spokesman-Review archives)
A wire story in The Spokesman-Review on Sept. 18, 1918 reported that a malady called Spanish influenza was sweeping three U.S. army camps in Massachusetts, Virginia and New York. (Spokesman-Review archives)

A wire story reported that a malady called Spanish influenza was sweeping three U.S. army camps in Massachusetts, Virginia and New York.

Nearly 3,000 cases had been reported, although one overly optimistic official said that it had appeared “only in a mild form.”

That was belied by the fact that two deaths already had been reported in one of the camps.

There were clear indications that the disease was exceptionally deadly and that it had spread outside the camps. In New England, 35 deaths had already been reported. New York ordered physicians to report all cases within 24 hours, as a precaution to prevent its spread.

In Spokane, the Spanish flu was not yet considered a local problem. Soon, it would be.

From the war beat: Frank T. Post, who would serve as the president of Washington Water Power in the 1930s, delivered a speech at the weekly luncheon of the Spokane Chamber of Commerce. He declared that the war had actually saved the nation from disaster.

“We have been going with lightning speed on the rocks of socialism and only this war has saved us,” said Post. “Our boys will come back home from France and they will run this county when they return. They will favor a strong government, and not socialism.”

His remarks were greeted with a standing ovation.

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