With support from the University of Richmond

History News Network

History News Network puts current events into historical perspective. Subscribe to our newsletter for new perspectives on the ways history continues to resonate in the present. Explore our archive of thousands of original op-eds and curated stories from around the web. Join us to learn more about the past, now.

Las Vegas, US Coronavirus Closures Mirror 1918 Pandemic

More and more people became sick, schools and other gathering spots were ordered closed, and locals were told to avoid groups and wear masks.

Doctors were overworked, hospitals filled up, and it was difficult getting enough caskets to hold the dead. Even the undertaker was bedridden.

The threat? The Spanish flu.

Raging around the globe in 1918 and 1919, the influenza outbreak infected an estimated one-third of the world’s population, including many people in Las Vegas, a desert outpost of just 2,000 or so back then.

The pandemic sparked shutdowns, warnings and pushback around the U.S. that are eerily similar to the fallout from the coronavirus outbreak in Las Vegas and other cities more than 100 years later.

“Suddenly it’s so relevant,” Christopher Nichols, director of Oregon State University’s Center for the Humanities, said of the World War I-era outbreak.

Read entire article at US News