Document shows Cleveland’s response during the Spanish flu of 1918

The Spanish flu of 1918 killed 4,400 in Cleveland alone.

Document shows Cleveland’s response during the Spanish flu of 1918
This document, from Oct. 15, 1918 is an order closing most of the city of Cleveland during the Spanish Flu pandemic. (Source: Cleveland City Council Archives)

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) -The Ohio Department of Health Director, Dr. Amy Acton has said in numerous news conferences the medical world learned a lot from the deadly Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918.

The Spanish Flu pandemic infected one-third of the entire world and killed approximately 675,000 people according to the CDC.

Acton has said some cities like St. Louis handled is well with isolation orders, while cities like Philadelphia waited too long with devastating effects.

Cleveland City Council archives has an Oct. 15, 1918 order from the city’s acting acting Commissioner of Health, Dr. Harry L. Rockwood, ordering the closing of most public spaces.

The order closed schools, churches, pool rooms, moving picture houses and banned funerals and weddings.

According to influenzaarchive.org, in Cleveland from September to the end of 1918, 23,644 people were infected which represented about 3.5% of the city’s population.

Of those cases 1,600 developed pneumonia.

By the end of February 4,400 Clevelanders died from the flu outbreak representing a 16% death rate.

This document, from Oct. 15, 1918 is an order closing most of the city of Cleveland during the Spanish Flu pandemic.
This document, from Oct. 15, 1918 is an order closing most of the city of Cleveland during the Spanish Flu pandemic. (Source: Cleveland City Council Archives)

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