An old cliché maintained that influenza was a wonderful disease as it killed no one but provided doctors with lots of patients. By educating people on how influenza could spread, public health officials hoped to help people avoid it.
Throughout history, influenza viruses have mutated and caused pandemics or global epidemics.
Although people dutifully wore masks, these provided only a very limited protection against the influenza virus. Local health departments warned those who were ill to stay away from theaters and other public places. Those who survived that pandemic and lived to experience the 1918 pandemic tended to be less susceptible to the disease.From Kansas to Europe and Back Again:Where did the 1918 influenza come from? And why was it so lethal?In 1918, the Public Health Service had just begun to require state and local health departments to provide them with reports about diseases in their communities. Doom Falcon (Comic) Fantastic Four (Comic-Buch) Ghost Rider (Comics) Guardians of the Galaxy Hawkeye (Comics) View All Categories Poster Comics Comics nach Verlag Marvel Comics Marvel Comics Retro: The Amazing Spider-Man Comic Book Cover No.70, Wanted!
Suffering from fevers as high as 105 degrees, these workers had severe muscle and joint pains.

Death often followed.Public health experts had little time to register their shock at the severity of this outbreak. The first wave had occurred when mild influenza erupted in the late spring and summer of 1918. The second wave occurred with an outbreak of severe influenza in the fall of 1918 and the final wave occurred in the spring of 1919.In its wake, the pandemic would leave about twenty million dead across the world. However, influenza had become so widespread by that time that most states were unable to keep accurate records. Many simply failed to report to the Public Health Service during the pandemic, leaving epidemiologists to guess at the impact the disease may have had in different areas.World War I had left many communities with a shortage of trained medical personnel.
As influenza spread, local officials urgently requested the Public Health Service to send nurses and doctors.
With less than 700 officers on duty, the Public Health Service was unable to meet most of these requests.On the rare occasions when the PHS was able to send physicians and nurses,they often became ill en route. Those who did reach their destination safely often found themselves both unprepared and unable to provide real assistance.In October, Congress appropriated a million dollars for the Public Health Service. The existing shortage of doctors and nurses, caused by the war, made it difficult for the PHS to locate and hire qualified practitioners.

The virulence of the disease also meant that many nurses and doctors contracted influenza within days of being hired.Confronted with a shortage of hospital beds, many local officials ordered that community centers and local schools be transformed into emergency hospitals.
In Philadelphia, a city especially hard hit, so many children were orphaned that the Bureau of Child Hygiene found itself overwhelmed and unable to care for them.As the disease spread, schools and businesses emptied. The mail piled up as postal carriers failed to come to work.State and local departments of health also suffered from high absentee rates. As the bodies mounted, even funerals were held out doors to protect mourners against the spread of the disease.Public officials, who were unaware that influenza was a virus and that masks provided no real protection against viruses, often demanded that people wear gauze masks.
Enforcing these laws proved to be very difficult as many people resisted wearing masks.Advertisements recommending drugs which could cure influenza filled newspapers. Some doctors suggested that drinking alcohol might prevent infection, causing a run on alcohol supplies.

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