The Spanish flu

The October 17 1918 edition of the Toronto Daily Star was published during the peak of the Spanish flu epidemic, which killed 50 to 100 million people worldwide.

Naturally, the Daily Star had several articles and ads related to the flu. In Toronto, fifteen people passed away that morning, and 530 patients were in hospital with the disease:


An additional 28 people had passed away from influenza or flu-related pneumonia the previous day:


Over 50,000 cases had been reported in New York City, with a total of 5000 dead:


The Ontario government had put out a call for volunteer day or night nurses to help tend to influenza victims, which would have been quite hazardous duty indeed:


An insurance company offered influenza coverage as part of its Special Sickness policy:


Massey Hall was closed for the epidemic, but the Alexandra theatre contended the play The Kiss Burglar provided enough joy to kill the flu:


The Kiss Burglar had opened on Broadway on May 9, 1918 and closed on August 3 after exactly 100 performances.

Last but not least, the makers of C.C.M. bicycles seized the opportunity to point out that a bicycle was a good way to avoid crowded and potentially contagious streetcars:


The First World War, and especially 1918, was one of the most difficult times in modern history. I wonder whether a future blogger, writing in 2118 or 2218, will look back on the era coming up as being equally difficult, given the impending climate change crisis.

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