Written by Maya Sharma

We don’t know where it started – but it most likely started in Europe or Asia. However – it spread all around the world – taking 50,000,000 people’s lives.

People started thinking that taking thirty grams of aspirin would alleviate symptoms. Today, you shouldn’t be having more than four grams. Many people died of aspirin poison – which was supposedly the main reason for most of the October deaths. Since there were no vaccines, people had to practice social distancing and hope that the medication they used worked. In 2008, (90 years later!) they discovered why the influenza virus was so deadly.

The Western/German Samoa was the most affected by the influenza virus. The second wave of the influenza virus came by boat on November 4th, 1918. The port officer was unaware that there was an epidemic at the ship’s departure point, Auckland – and he let six ill influenza cases on board. ⅕ of the population, or about 8,500 people died. New Zealand was at fault, here. The New Zealand Administrator didn’t take help from the Samoan people – which could’ve drastically reduced the death toll. In 2002, the prime minister of New Zealand, Helen Clark, apologized.

Since nations undergoing a media blackout could only read in depth accounts from Spanish news sources, they naturally assumed that the country was the pandemic’s ground zero. Also, Spain was hit hard by the Influenza virus.

The places in the US that were affected by the flu were Boston, New York,  Philadelphia, St. Louis, and San Francisco. Let’s look into the most affected areas.


They were acting very terribly in this situation. Even though the Spanish Flu was spreading through their naval camps and armies – they decided to host a parade. If you didn’t know – one reason why the flu was spreading so quickly was because of the soldiers that were returning from war in Europe. This parade killed 2,600 people in just 3 days – and that number might not be accurate. With all of the people dying – Philadelphia just said that people were dying because of the common flu.


St. Louis was quick to react. Even before the flu really got serious in the U.S., they shut down all stores, schools, movie theaters, etc.

San Francisco:

San Francisco made a law that you had to wear a mask, otherwise you would be fined $5. The mortality rates in San Francisco declined, however businesses started to retaliate, as they thought that they should be able to make their shops and businesses open to the public. Eventually, the laws got less strict.

What lessons can be employed to tackle Coronavirus?


We have to act quickly. Just because the stores are still open – DON’T GO. The American citizens and people around the world need to act responsibly. We don’t need to host a parade, people. A study showed that just telling people to not go out wasn’t enough. They needed a restriction that clearly marked where they could go. Another article published in PNAS said that mortality rates were 50% lower than if the government didn’t do anything.


Once people see how serious things are – they start to pay more attention. In 1918, when the only news you could read was from Spain – it was very hard to get information of what was happening in the world. However- still, people wanted to be informed. Now, when the news is so readily available, no one wants to read it! Tell your friends and family to read this article, and STAY INSIDE!