March 25, 1918 – Hospitalization

One hundred years ago today, Jay was hospitalized at the Columbus Barracks Post Hospital.  He had written in the past that his lungs had always been ‘bad’.  Rinda also suffered from lung issues.  She had been hospitalized twice in St. Anthony Hospital in Bemidji, Minnesota in 1915 with pneumonia.  I believe these are among the reasons they left Black Duck, Minnesota on February 12, 1917 and moved to the southern part of the state.

It’s quite likely Jay had influenza.  In the United States, the influenza pandemic had started in Kansas in early March.  By March 11 it had already reached New York City.  By this date, March 25, it was spreading everywhere.  This was the first three of waves of influenza to hit the US.

In the beginning of March 1918, Chinese contract workers at Camp Funston (in Kansas) presented with influenza. Subsequently, the disease spread across the camp requiring hospitalization of over 1100 soldiers within three weeks besides thousands more receiving treatment at infirmaries around the camp. Between early March and the summer, five consecutive outbreaks occurred in the camp, coinciding with the arrival of large numbers of new recruits. From Camp Funston on, influenza jumped to other U.S. Army training camps and travelled to Europe aboard troop ships before it subsided in the summer of 1918. In all, 11.8% (143 986) of over 1.2 million men in U.S. Army training camps were hospitalized for respiratory illness in March–May 1918, although death rates from respiratory illness showed only a limited increase in that period.
                                                                                                                – Dr. Peter Wever

The second wave of influenza came later in the year, beginning in late August and escalating dramatically.  October became the deadliest month and November almost as bad.   That was the big one, the monster wave that killed tens of millions of people world-wide returned.  But more about that later this year.

The Columbus Barracks Post Hospital:

1918.03.25

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