October 1918

The influenza deaths are reported in every corner of the United States, even as the war continues and the 1918 election campaign is underway. In the District of Columbia there are 32 deaths on October 7, in Philadelphia 572 deaths are reported on a single day (October 13), and there is a report of 7000 cases from Tipton County, TN out of a population of 30,000. The conditions in the camps are a regular focus (October 2, 7, 9, 17, 19, 25). The commandant of the marine training camp is has died of pneumonia (October 7), Ty Cobb has reported to Camp Humphreys to a chemical warfare unit (October 2), and Camp Oglethorpe is struggling to maintain a health workforce (October 19).

The Ohio Dry Federation is complaining that “wet fraud” is being perpetrated: alcohol is being used to treat the influenza at Camp Sherman (October 25). In Belmont County (WV) the Dry Federation reports that the Kaiser is chuckling because wheat is being diverted to produce alcohol and not for feeding the troops (October 30). In Philadelphia saloons are ordered closed at 7pm (October 4), and in New York the saloons and hotel bars are required to all only heatless crackers, pickles and olives (October 20). Additional food restrictions are encouraged by Presbyterian leaders, who also inform the congregation to protect themselves from the influenza in order to help others (October 16). The Red Cross discourages shipping liquor in Christmas packages (October 23).

Tents (October 2) and temporary hospitals in Philadelphia (October 3) are supplemented with many public health measures to stop the epidemic spread. Early saloon closings in Philadelphia (October 4), public facilities in El Paso and Phoenix (October 6), serum vaccination for shipworkers in Seattle (October 8), sheriff enforced dispersal of public gatherings in Columbia, SC (October 9), churches, movie palaces and soda fountains in Morgan City, LA (October 10). The Baptist General Association delays its national convention for a month (October 12).

The Red Cross is set to distribute 1 million packs of cigarettes, 2 million tons of coffee and 8 million meals a week in Europe (October 11). The men of St Jospeh, MO have demonstrated their virility by supporting the Red Cross and the Liberty Bond drive (October 26), now the Democrats party says they need to do the same by voting for the party ticket. The 4th Liberty Bond drive in Wilmington, DE is set at $56 per capita, this is the equivalent of 2 weeks of the average wage (October 23).