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The Flu of 1918 (continued)    
 
  Philadelphia, October 4: 636 new cases, 139 deaths.
   
Dr. A.A. Cairns, acting president of the Philadelphia Board of Health, is frantic: more new cases every day, and the city's death toll is mounting. How can the disease be stopped when no one even knows why it is spreading? The state has already closed all the vaudeville and picture houses, theaters, and saloons in Pennsylvania. Cairns decides to close all schools and churches in the city...
   Philadelphia businessmen are up in arms about the epidemic. More cases mean more employee absences and fewer customers. It is no longer business as usual, but business if possible. In desperation, the Bell Telephone Company runs the following full-page notice in the newspapers:
   Telephone Service Faces A Crisis
   The situation is one which the public must meet squarely -- 800 operators -- 27% of our force -- are now absent due to the influenza. It is every person's duty to the community to cut out every call that is not absolutely necessary that the essential needs of the government, doctors and nurses may be cared for.
 
   
Worried Philadelphians, wearing gauze influenza masks over their noses and mouths, quickly cross to the other side of the street if a passerby chances to cough or sneeze.
   Weeping women in West Manayunk block the car of Dr. Joseph Schlotterer, who is making a house call, and permit him to leave only after he treats 57 neighborhood children.
   Frantic shoppers strip pharmacy shelves bare. The press of customers is so great that the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Temple University suspend classes so that pharmacy students can help fill prescriptions. Most are for whiskey, which, now that saloons are closed, is available only in drugstores. Rather than wait to become a statistic, people turn to home remedies: goose-grease poultices, sulfur fumes, onion syrup, chloride of lime.
   Snake-oil artists hawk their useless potions in newspaper ads:
   Use Oil of Hyomei. Bathe your breathing organs with antiseptic balsam.
   Munyon's Paw Paw Pills for influenza insurance.
   Sick with influenza? Use Ely's Cream Balm. No more snuffling. No struggling for breath.
   
   
To prevent further spread of the epidemic among Penn students, most of whom are in the SATC, the Board of Health cancels a football rally and a campus Liberty Loan rally featuring screen actor William S. Hart.
    Major Griffith, in charge of the SATC at Penn, warns that campus residents who fail to keep their windows open will be severely punished. The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania is quarantined, and no visitors are permitted.
   The SATC commandeers two of the University's largest fraternity houses -- Delta Psi and Phi Kappa Psi -- and fits them out as emergency hospitals. Due to the shortage of physicians, third- and fourth-year Penn medical students volunteer to take care of the patients.
   Panic is beginning the grip the city.
   
Philadelphia, October 6: 788 new cases, 171 deaths.
   The Philadelphia Inquirer derides the closing of public places:
   What are the authorities trying to do? Scare everyone to death? What is to be gained by shutting up well-ventilated churches and theaters and letting people press into trolley cars?
   
   What then should a man do to prevent panic and fear? Live a clean life. Do not even discuss influenza... Worry is useless. Talk of cheerful things instead of disease.
   
   The Inquirer heeds its own admonitions and relegates all further news of the epidemic to its back pages. In the other city newspapers, the flu is still page-one news.
   The war continues in Europe. General Pershing's forces advance three miles but, across the Atlantic, the epidemic is stalling the homefront war effort. To boost the case for the Fourth Liberty Bond Loan, the Evening Bulletin prints an anonymous article that claims the Spanish influenza began in the German trenches. Whether an artful propaganda piece or mere speculation, the report stirs bitter feelings against the "beastly Huns." The sale of Liberty Bonds skyrockets.
   At Penn, the Board of Health puts the Houston Hall poolroom under indefinite quarantine and fumigates all dormitories. The Christian Association calls for student volunteers to help in the current emergency.
   
Philadelphia, October 8: 1,481 new cases, 250 deaths.
   
The shortage of doctors and nurses, 75 percent of whom had been called to military duty, is acute. The director of the Philadelphia Hospital pleads for volunteers to relieve nurses who have collapsed from overwork.
   In many families, both parents are ill and unable to care for their children. Their cries for help often go unheeded, as many neighbors fear entering a house where there is influenza. Others, without thought of their own safety, tend the ill, care for the children, and comfort the dying. Roman Catholic Archbishop Dennis Dougherty gives permission to 1,000 Sisters of Saint Joseph to work in private residences caring for the sick.
           

Continued...
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