Historic flashback to the 1918 flu in Pittsburgh, via posting and history book
My source was via Facebook, and John J. Chapman.
A friend posted the following from the book The Point of Pittsburgh: Production and Struggle at the Forks of the Ohio by Charles McCollester. This excerpt chronicles the 1918 flu pandemic in Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh received an order from the State Health Commissioner on October 4, 1918 closing all places of amusement in the state, including saloons, college football games, movie houses, and public funerals. The order provoked near universal protests by politicians, newspapers and the general public. From October 4 to 7, there were 284 reported cases in the city; on the fifth day, October 8, 453; and on the sixth day, 784. Hospitals were overwhelmed, and any patient capable of being sent home was cleared out. The mayor cancelled all church activities and closed the playgrounds. Churches, clubs, and settlement houses became sick wards. A tent hospital of 300 beds was set up in Washington Park. The deaths began piling up: on October 15, 39 died; October 16, 61; October 17, 75; October 22, 121; October 23, 133. The city was soon struck with a shortage of gravediggers and coffins as well as hospital beds.
Many surrounding towns were worse off than Pittsburgh. Elizabeth had 900 cases. Coal patch and mill towns with their close and cramped quarters were hit especially hard. In Rossiter, Indiana County, one out of five residents had the flu. Carnegie Steel had 2,600 workers off sick. Bishop Canevin of the Catholic Diocese ordered relief stations to be set up in all 27 city wards; sisters served as nurses, and church buildings became infirmaries. On October 29, the death toll crested at 176, and within days, movie houses, saloons and some politicians began pushing hard for an end to the restrictions on gatherings. On November 6, the death toll dropped below 100; two days later, new cases declined to 189 from 585 a week earlier. There was a spike in infections following the November 11 Armistice signing that ended the war and triggered mass celebrations. When it was over, Pittsburgh counted 4,500 dead with 700 children orphaned. Altogether, in Pennsylvania, 40,000 died.