The spread and impact of the Spanish flu during World War I.
Between 3 and 6 percent of the world's population died in 18 months when the flu first tried to take over the world. In today's episode we explore the flu outbreak's origins from military camps across the United States and Canada.
The flu arrived in France. It found a pleasant home in the crowded wartime trenches, much to the dismay of the Allies who tried to keep the flu a secret. When it made its way to Madrid, not subject to wartime censorship, it picked up the nickname "Spanish flu."
Dr. Welch, Dr. Avery, Dr. Park, and Dr. Williams are on the hunt now to correctly identify this new pathogen and make a vaccine. But public officials are in denial.
Philadelphia gets hit the hardest. New York fares somewhat better, but everyone is trying to keep hush-hush about a pandemic that still found its way into a children's rhyme: influenza.
This is a global pandemic. The flu jumps ship, literally, onto the docks of American Samoa, of South Africa, of Alaska, of India. The 1918 flu infects every human continent.
Why did everyone forget about the flu pandemic so fast? Partly because its effects were intermingled with the death and depression of World War I, and partly because we chose to forget.