Gunnison, Colorado: the town that dodged the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic ~ The Guardian

A century on, what can we learn from how US community dealt with viral outbreak

Spanish influenza victims crowd into an emergency hospital at Camp Funston, Kansas, US in 1918.
Spanish influenza victims crowd into an emergency hospital at Camp Funston, Kansas, US in 1918. Photograph: Associated Press

 

In late 1918 the world’s greatest killer – Spanish flu – roared towards Gunnison, a town in Colorado.

The pandemic was infecting hundreds of millions of people in Europe, Africa, Asia and across the United States, overwhelming hospitals and morgues in Boston and Philadelphia before sweeping west, devastating cities, villages and hamlets from Alaska to Texas.

Gunnison, a farming and mining town of about 1,300 people, had special reason to fear. Two railroads connected it to Denver and other population centers, many badly hit. “The flu is after us” the Gunnison News-Champion warned on 10 October. “It is circulating in almost every village and community around us.”

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