Flu cast a pall over armistice in 1918
world war ended 100 years ago today, but the flu remained on the march.
The news in Columbus on Nov. 11, 1918, was dominated by the armistice ending World War I, but on that same day, the inside pages of The Dispatch featured these items:
• A possibly delirious flu patient leapt to his death from a Columbus hospital window.
• New statistics led officials to conclude that the epidemic in Columbus was almost over. (It wasn’t, by a long shot).
• An editorial praised the soldiers at Camp Sherman near Chillicothe, where military trainees went about their duties even as hundreds of their compatriots died of flu. “Greater courage was never displayed,” the editorial said.
The “Spanish flu” (socalled because neutral Spain allowed uncensored press coverage of the outbreak) killed about 50 million people worldwide, according to some estimates. It struck down even healthy young adults with frightening speed.